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house he can, under the law, accomplish much toward securing good, com-
Little had been done toward beautifying the school house grounds until after the passage of the law, making it the duty of the boards of directors to plant trees. Since then many of the school grounds have been decorated with trees which are beginning to have a beautifying influence.
Several of the district schools celebrated Arbor Day last spring, the chile dren bringing the trees and planting them with their own hands.
In the majority of the rural districts a summer term of three months and a winter term of four months are held, making seven months of school in the year, though many have two months summer term, two months fall term, and four months winter term. The tendency is toward beginning the summer term earlier in the season, so as to have the schools closed during the hot months.
Of the brauches taught we have paid special attention to reading, language and number work, not so much because these subjects are of more importance than others, but rather because the work done in those branches is inferior to what we might reasonably expect. Drawing has also been a special feature in our normal institute, and the fact that over one half of schools I visited this summer were having regular exercises in drawing, or have used drawing in their other school work gives proof that the county institute can be made a power in educational work.
The teachers have taken hold of hygienic phisiology in compliance with the new law, with a great deal of earnestness, proving that their sympathies are with the law, so that no doubt much good will be accomplished by their efforts.
While boards of directors have paid little attention to the law, yet they have sustained the teachers in their work.
On the whole, we think it but just to say that the teachers are earnest, faithful workers, and deserve the thanks of the community for their efforts in advancing the educational interests of the county.
BY MRS. J. B. KINGSBURY.
Educationally considered, Grundy county is not behind the times, but compares favorably with other counties of the State, when taking into consideration the number of years in which she has been building up her educational interests. Much has been done during the past ten years in this work and although much remains undone, such progress has been made in
the past in this direction as to leave no doubt for the future of this cause.
The valuation of school property in the county is $69,610.00.
Grundy Center has a fine, commodious building containing eight rooms, two of which are yet unfinished. The citizens were wise enough at the time of its erection to look to the future needs of the town. The schools here at present have six departments all supplied with good and efficient teachers. The principal, J. W. Kelsey, has had some twenty-five years' experience in the work and has done much good here.
The Reinbeck school contains four departments, and under the supervision of a principal they have retained for six years showing how worthily he fulfilled his trust by graduating a class of nine last year.
Grundy Center, in 1886, enrolled 346 pupils. Reinbeck enrolled 233.
Conrad, Morrison, Holland and Beaman have each a good school of two departments, and these are in the hands of good teachers who faithfully fulfil their trust.
The grade of school work is advancing, many of the schools having done excellent work the past year. Much attention has been paid to orthography, writing and language lessons, with results that are most satisfactory. One of the greatest drawbacks here, is the failure of teachers to properly classify the work and this failure is caused by the innumerable number of text-books which the teachers are obliged to use, because of the inability of those who would control this evil to convince the patrons and board of directors that it makes any difference whether a teacher hears fifteen or thirty-five recitations a day. (This latter number is not uncommon. We are, of course, speaking of ungraded work.)
Fortunate is the district which secures one of the few teachers who can instruct without a book, but to the teacher who does not possess this happy faculty, has not experience and that aptness which will enable him to adapt himself to the work in all its phases, this multiplicity of text-books is an almost unsurmountable barrier to progression; but the day is advancing when our people will see the necessity of having proper tools to work with, as much in the school room as in the field or work shop.
Formerly school-houses seem to have been built with an eye to economy rather than comfort, many of the buildings being mere sheds, very cold at the floor, poorly ventilated and having but few conveniences
But if any one thinks Grundy non-progressive in this matter let him take a day's ride over the county, examine the new buildings put up in the past two years, together with a number of old ones that have been repaired and repainted, presenting quite the appearance of being new, and they will find the contrary true.
If a man wishes to purchase a home in the country, be should visit the schools there, and locate where he finds a commodiou3, comfortable building, with all its surroundings pleasant to look upon, having clean walls, clean floors, and black-boards upon at least three sides of the room, together with maps, charts, etc.
The normal institute in this county is a success. In 1880 the enrollment of teachers was 93. In 1886 there was an enrollment of 176, making an increase of 83 in six years. Two hundred and four teachers received certificates for the school year ending October 5, 1886. Of this number 72 held first-class.
There are 120 ungraded schools in the county and 18 departments in the grade work. But as many teachers took two examinations, we think probably that there were not certificates issued to more than 150 different parties. What this county is seeking to accomplish for her schools through her institute work is to imbue her teachers with a spirit of earnestness in their school work. To impress upon their minds the necessity of a special preparation for the duties devolving upon them; to make clear that the only true education is the full development of all of the faculties, and also by making didactics a special feature, endeavor to systemize the work throughout the county.
The county also reported last year 550 trees in thrifty condition for school grounds, and school apparatus to the value of $1,420.
The Grundy Center school reports a library of 100 volumes.
If Grundy does not pay her teachers as good wages as some of the adjoining counties, neither does she fall so low as others, but will probably make a fair average between the two.
The average compensation per month is $30.00 and in graded work $56.00, the largest salary in graded work being $100.00 per month and in ungraded work $40.00.
Number of pupils enrolled in 1886, 3,781 ; number of children in county of school age, 4,608. This report shows that 827 children of school age received no benefit from the large amount of money expended during the year for educational purposes. If there is one thing for which fair Grundy needs to blush it is this. Would it not be well to have compulsory education ?
W. L. MILLER.
We are not making as rapid progress in educational work in this county as we would like, yet we have many things for which to be thankful. We are advancing and not standing still. There is a good feeling existing throughout the county toward the cause of education, and harmony prevails among teachers and school officers. There is an increasing demand for better teachers and better schools, which is evidence of healthy growth in public sentiment.
Our town schools of Stuart, Panora, Guthrie Center, Menlo and Casey are thoroughly organized and graduate a class each year.
In our country schools the instruction is becoming more general. Something is taught besides the “ three R's."
Our county high school forms a head to the school system of the county. Its usefulness is seen in the fact that from one huodred and fifty to two hundred of our best young men and women attend it regularly.
TEACHERS' NORMAL INSTITUTE.
We have a good live session every summer. The attendance is good and excellent work is done. An established course of study, which conforms closely to the one recommended by the State Department is followed. The work for each day is outlined and sent to teachers in time for them to make preparation before coming to the institute. The work is so arranged as to review all the common branches. In the recitation-room more attention is given to methods than matter. It is not possible in a two or three weeks' normal, to teach persons what to teach and how to teach; but they can best be taught how to teach in connection with what to teach.
Stuart has three fine brick school buildings, Panora two and Menlo one. Guthrie Center and Casey have comfortable frame buildings. Our rural school-houses are arranged for the comfort and convenience of the pupils, and with a very few exceptions are well taken care of.
The general condition of the grounds is good Substantial fences are being put around school-bouse sites in the country, and trees are being planted every spring. People are beginning to take pride in the appearance of their school property. Out-houses are not kept in good repair.
The length of term in the country is about seven months; in town, nine months. Teachers' salaries in the country range from $25 to $35 per month, with a difference of $3 to $5 per month in favor of first-class teachers. . In town schools the pay of the principal is from $60 per month to $1,000 per year in the Stuart schools and county high school, and lower teachers receive from $35 to $40 per month.
The common branches are taught in the country, and occasionally algebra. Considerable attention is given to penmanship. Drawing and vocal music are taught but little outside of the town schools. Hygienic physiology is taught in nearly every school in the county. Where no books have been provided, the subject is taught orally. Some townships have furnished books, and in those schools the teaching of this branch is more satisfactory.
Our agricultural society will admit the schools and teachers of the county to the fair one day this fall free. The schools are contributing money for the erection of a suitable building on the fair grounds for the display of school work. We have a large amount of work prepared. This work has not been gotten up for a show, but is the every-day work of the schools. Whenever any written work was done, it was saved until the close of the term and then sent to me. The object of this is to secure more uniform and thorough work throughout the county by comparing that done by diffe nt schools. No premiums are given and nothing done for a "show"
If we had fewer changes in school boards—teachers who would stay at least one year in a school-and free text-books, the people would be astonished at the advancement the schools would make in five years.
BY G. F. RICHARDSON.
It is very gratifying to be able to present a favorable report of the condition of the educational interests of the county. All the children in the county enjoy school facilities within the meaning of the law. Every home is within reach of a school that measurably “performs its functions wisely and fully."
A common school course of study was outlined to the end that uniformity of aim throughout might be reached. The plan meets with general favor and many are now intelligently working to complete the course.
Public sentiment has largely kept pace with the progress of our schools, and the people are now demanding better educational facilities, and the school management readily complies to the extent of ability and means.
The first teachers' institute was held in 1873, and the first normal institute was held the following year.
In 1883 an institute course of study, based on the four years' course recommended by the State committee, was adopted, and in 1886, fifteen teachers completed the course, and the year following, 1887, twelve completed the course-all receiving diplomas of graduation.
The institute aims to afford the best attainable advantages for professional culture, and, further, it stimulat's teachers to a higher ideal of scholarship. It tends to elevate public sentiment. It is a powerful agency in bringing our schools up to the highest attainable degree of excellence. We are glad to say that our institute is wisely and fully doing its appointed work. The success of the institute lies in the line of method work.
The school-houses in the villages and rural districts are wooden structures, with windows on the north and south sides, mostly, admitting the light to the right and left sides of pupils. Coal and wood are used for fuel. Much attention is now givn to the matter of health and comfort in the con