1891 Bethel School Supervisor Report

April 18, 2006

 

The Bethel Journals

Compiled by Donald G Bennett

 

 

 

 


School Reports - 1891

 

At the annual town meeting on March 2, 1891 the town had in hand via the printed town report a seven page critical assessment of the Bethel school system that had been prepared during 1890 by the school committee of Dr. John G. Gehring and Mr. Horatio Upton. After the articles contained in the printed town meeting warrant had been voted on, a motion was made from the floor by Dr. John Twaddle that the position of supervisor of schools be created. This motion passed. A second motion immediately followed nominating Nathaniel F. Brown to fill the new position. This motion passed as well. These latter two motions are on record in the town meeting minutes for 1891.

In the 1890 town meeting an article proposed repealing the 1887 vote to operate Bethel schools under a town system of management and revert to the district system that existed in March 1887. This proposal failed. Therefore, conversion to a more efficient, academically effective town system of management was allowed to continue pushed forward by the evaluations of respected, professionally qualified citizens. By the end of the 1891 school year, Bethel’s new schools supervisor submitted his first report. Before getting into the full report, please read the summary of school consolidations that took place during that year.

·         The Mayville School has been united with the (Bethel Hill) village schools for the year.

·         Two schools on Grover Hill have been united for the year.

·         Schools at Middle Intervale, Bird Hill, Grover Hill and the (West Bethel) Flat had long Spring and Fall terms but no Winter term.

·         Water has been put into the (Bethel Hill) village school buildings with the water furnished free of cost.

 

(The grammar school grades were only taught in the District 15 school house located in Bethel Hill village. In 2005, the District 15 school house is “The Pines” of The Bethel Inn and Country Club.)

 

Tabular Statement

1891 Bethel Public Schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name of School

Resident

Average

Weeks in

 

Teachers

 

 

 

Scholars

Attendance

Term

Spring

Fall

Winter

 

Grammar School

37

30

8

Edit Philbrook

Edit Philbrook

Edit Philbrook

 

Upper Primary

47

33

8

Grace Chapman

Grace Chapman

Grace Chapman

 

Lower Primary

40

34

8

Martha Gibson

Edmund Clark

Ida Hazelton

 

West Bethel

29

24

8

Bertha Grover

Bertha Grover

Mary Dodge

 

East Bethel

21

18

8

Mary Hutchins

JS Hutchins

JS Hutchins

 

Swan's Corner

5

5

8

Han Jewett

Han Jewett

Fred Atherton

 

W.W. Mason's

18

17

8

Jane Gibson

Jane Gibson

Mollie Chapman

 

Middle Intervale

14

14

11

Cora Hastings

Winona Cobb

not open

 

Steam Mill

23

20

8

Arthur Wiley

Martha Gibson

Florence Abbott

 

Walker's Mills

9

8

8

Florence Abbott

Mollie Chapman

Emma Brown

 

Flat (Road W. Bethel)

8

8

11

Grace Grover

Grace Grover

not open

 

Chandler Hill

10

9

8

Mollie Chapman

Maud Merrow

Albert Eames

 

Swan's Hill

7

7

8

Ellen Abbott

Ellen Abbott

Ellen Abbott

 

Grover Hill

8

8

11

Maud Merrow

Lizzie Grover

not open

 

Bird Hill

8

6

11

Alforetta Farwell

Hellen Carter

not open

 

Milton

17

11

5

Vertie Cushman

Florence Abbott

Chester Wheeler

 

Hapgood's

13

11

8

Ida Hazelton

Ida Hazelton

Flora Wheeler

 

Upper North Side

17

13

8

Clyde Bartlett

Clyde Bartlett

Clyde Bartlett

 

Foster's

8

7

8

Emma Brown

Mary Hutchins

Mary Hutchins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were two schools in Bethel village, previously identified as Districts 15 and 30.

In 1890, twenty one school houses were open.

 

Town of Bethel public school expenses and funding for 1891.

SCHOOLS

 

From the Bethel Town Report

 

 

 

Amount of money undrawn, February 15, 1891

$53.51

Amount of money raised by town, 1891,

2,000.00

Amount of State, school and mill tax,

1,245.96

Received of Milton for tuition,

114.37

Town school fund

30.00

 

 

Amount of funds available,

$3,443.64

 

 

 

SCHOOL REPORT.

Good work has been done in most of the schools of Bethel, the past year. Harmony has generally prevailed, and a good degree of interest has been maintained. The school at Mayville has been united with the village schools for the  year. The two schools on Grover Hill have been united for the year, also the two upper schools on the north side, at a saving of expense and a benefit to the schools. The schools at Middle Intervale, Bird Hill, Grover Hill and the Flat,—the scholars being small and a part of them having some distance to go, and the roads being sometimes bad in Winter,—had a long term in the Spring and Fall, with no Win­ter term. The parents have been encouraged to discuss school affairs, and urged to visit the schools. Visiting the schools by parents encourages the teachers and creates an interest among the pupils. The dull scholars and those who do not care to learn have been looked after, and the teachers have been instructed to see that every boy and girl had their lessons. The school rooms have all been cleaned and a janitor provided and the teachers instructed to see that he kept them in good condition. Water has been put into the village school buildings, the Water Company generously furnishing the water free of cost. Two rows of seats have been put into the school-house at East Bethel. West Bethel school-house was repaired and painted inside by Milton Holt at his own expense, and the town repaired and painted the outside. Black­boards have been repaired and new ones furnished in five of the schools.

SCHOOL BUILDINGS.

Most of the school-houses that need be used for school purposes are in good repair. Those that are not needed should be disposed of and two or three should be moved.

I would endorse the recommendations of the Committee of last year that our schools be put under fewer roofs; you will have bet­ter schools had the scholars can be instructed at much less expense than it costs to support the small schools. This matter of what to do with the small schools has engaged the attention of the peo­ple of New England for a number of years. In Massachusetts, in many of the towns, scholars are carried three and four miles, and the plan works well. In the small schools with a good teacher the work is unsatisfactory, and with a poor one the money is wasted. Teachers that are known to be good ones do not care to take the small schools at any price and you have to employ .those that are doubtful or those who have never taught, so it is :i continual experiment. In the larger schools you are reasonably sure of a good teacher and you have the advantages that come from competition. When we changed from the district to the town system, that we could have fewer and better schools was one of the arguments used, but if we go on year after year without doing anything about this we are losing the benefit of it.

 

I find that the people who are progressive and interested in their children are willing to put up with a little inconvenience to get their children to school. While the opposition to this plan comes from those that have had few advantages themselves and have but little interest in their children. With those who object to this plan, even if you come to their door and get their children and carry them to a larger and better school free of expense to them, argument is of little use.

 

I think, if we had a school building near the lower part of the village so that they could be accommodated, the neighboring-scholars would be glad to avail themselves of the advantages of a graded school. That the schools be graded better has been rec­ommended by the last two committees. With the school-houses that we now have in the village, the schools cannot be properly graded for lack of room. The lots are small with no play-grounds but the street, which makes it unpleasant and dangerous for the scholars and those that are arc-ins; by when school is out. I would recommend that something be done about a school building in the village and the lot should be two hundred feet square, at least.

 

The school-houses at East Bethel and Milton are good ones; well located, and provided with modern seats. The people at East Bethel, before the town system was adopted, realizing that some­thing should be done to have better schools, united three or four districts and built a new school-house: the result is one of the best and largest schools in town. They take great interest in their school and are ready to help in any thing that will benefit the scholars. They presented the school with a flag, showing that they are alive and interested in educational matters. This school by having an additional room and taking in the Foster school, could be graded. The school-house at West Bethel is in good repair and is all that will be needed for some time, unless they should take in the Flat and make two grades, when an addi­tional room would be needed. The school-houses at Walker's Mills, W. W. Mason's, Grover Hill, and Middle Intervale, are all right for a number of years. The one at the Steam Mill needs considerable repairing and I would suggest before the town ex­pends much in repairing it that it consider the question of accommodating this neighborhood in the village graded schools. The one on Bird Hill and the one on Chandler Hill need a little repair­ing, the others should be moved or disposed of.

TEACHERS.

I think we have a good, faithful staff of teachers who are work­ers, and read educational papers and study the best methods of teaching.

About twenty-five per cent, of our teachers have come from other towns. I think having a few teachers from other towns creates an interest and we get an insight into different methods of teaching, but the preference should be given to teachers from our own town. These are mostly educated at Gould's Academy. Mr. Hall, the principal, takes great interest in town schools, and has a class for those intending to teach, and endeavors to have them well fitted for their work, and I notice that the teachers from our Academy compare favorably with those from other In­stitutions in the State.

BOOKS.

In accordance with a vote of the town, at the last annual meet­ing, to change Wheeler's Arithmetic for some other, after examin­ing a number of different books, I decided to exchange for the Greenleaf which is used more extensively than any other through­out New England, and one with which our teachers are familiar. There are more of the Colbarn's Arithmetics than are needed and a part of them might be disposed of. I have insisted upon the book being used in every school in the way it should be used, which is in class work without previous study. The appropria­tion for school books was expended last year without furnishing Geographies; Harper's was used, the scholars finding their own books. After examining books by different authors, I decided this was a good book; and, as many of the scholars had them, it would only make additional expense to change; so I put what Harper's Geographies were needed into the schools. We are using Hyde's Language Lessons. They are unsatisfactory to the teachers and, I think, unprofitable in the schools: I recommend that they either be changed for some other books or a few good   grammars be put in the schools for the advanced classes. -  

                                                                    

We need a few more histories and a few readers. I have allowed the scholars to take some of their books home between terms, I don't think there is need of their taking home all the books they study, only one or two.

 

In the matter of text books I would suggest that it will be well to use, as far as we can the books that are used at our Academy, as teachers do better work with books with which they are thor­oughly familiar.

METHODS.

Arithmetic has been taught both by oral and written work; con­siderable attention being paid to addition and multiplication. If the pupils thoroughly understand addition, subtraction, multi­plication and division, they will have but little trouble with arith­metic. If these are only partly learned it makes their work slow, and pupils are continually making mistakes. I have observed that this is the principal trouble with a great part of the work in arithmetic; they will know how to do the example, but make mis­takes and fail to get the correct answer.

 

Considerable written work has been required, practical examples in every-day business have been given, and it has been recom­mended to the teachers to give examples from other books. The "how" instead of the "why" has been taught the first time over the books, but the second time over the books and in the advance classes it has been required that they understand every principle thoroughly. In Geography, in addition to learning the lessons, it has been required of scholars to learn something outside the book. If the scholar or teacher has visited or read about the place spoken of in the lesson, they are to tell what they have seen or read. This helps to create an interest in this important study. In addition to this the teachers have been advised to give, in their own words, to the class, a general knowledge of the earth and its motions, the winds and currents, continents and oceans, mountain chains and principal rivers; and to talk to the school upon other subjects connected with geography. This furnishes fine discipline for the teacher and brings to the scholar in a striking and original man­ner important information which they would not otherwise receive. In Grammar a parsing lesson has been insisted upon in connec­tion with the language lesson and language has also been taught from all the recitations in school. In teaching History I have advised that dates be learned carefully but that most of the lessons be given in the pupil's own words. I think this practice one of the very best ways to learn language.

 

I shall close this report without speaking of the different schools as has usually been the custom. Under the old district system, there was some excuse for this, as it gave, or was supposed to give, the Agents information about teachers, but under the town system there is no reason for this and it has been generally aban­doned by the larger towns. It is unpleasant for the Committee, and does no good to either teacher or scholar, and for these rea­sons I decline to make any personal allusion to teachers.

 

                                    N. F. Brown,

Supervisor of Schools

 

 

 

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