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struction and repair of school-houses. Ventilation is effected by means of doors and windows. Webster City has a well appointed, three story, twelveroom brick building, steam-heated and supplied with water from the city water works. Patent ventilators are used. The grounds, out-buildings and fences are in good condition.
Much interest is taken in tree planting, and the observance of Arbor Day will soon become general throughout the county.
In the township of Scott, and one independent district only six months school in the year. All other schools, run from seven to nine months in a year. Teacher's salaries in the rural districts range from twenty-five to thirty-eight dollars per month. All branches required by law receive due share of attention in the schools, including drawing and hygienic physiology. The law is very generally complied with.
This year in the institute, special instruction was given in vocal music, so that teachers would be better fitted to meet an urgent demand throughout the county for instruction in that very essential branch of popular education. Too frequent changes of teachers and school officers very materially retard the progress of our schools.
If politics could be eliminated from the selection of the school management, and the people all unite in matters pertaining to school interests, fifty per cent better results would be reached with the same expenditure of time and money.
BY 8. STURGEON.
The schools of our county have had a gradual advancement in number, usefulness and efficiency. Our teachers of to-day, as a class, are more imbued with the spirit of progress than in former years. This is to be attributed largely to the influence of the normal institutes and the various educational journals of the country. An increased interest on the part of parents in the work of the schools is evidenced by their frequent visits to the schools, as well as their co-operation with teachers in their work. One of the most unsatisfactory conditions is found in the poor attendance at the summer schools. The attendance during the winter term is all that could be desired. While the judgment of parents in requiring their children to remain out of school to work upon the farm is certainly open to criticism, the fact remains. The school terms should be held at such seasons of the year as will insure the most]general attendance.
TEACHERS' NORMAL INSTITUTE.
The work of our institute is both academic and didactic. We are following the course of study prepared by the committee that was appointed by the State Teachers' Association. The institute of 1887 will be organized into A and B divisions, the A division taking up the third years' work in the course of study, and the B grade commencing with the first. The limited length of time to which institutes are necessarily limited renders them inadequate to accomplish the work expected of them. It appears to me that it would be well, in this county at least, to establish four or five schools of a higher grade, distributing them through the different centers of population throughout the county. This would relieve the institute of academic work, and allow the time to be devoted entirely to methods. Most of the counties in this part of the State are entirely unprovided with academies or normal schools, wbich renders something of this kind an urgent need, in order to properly equip that large element in our teaching force that is without preparation other than that received in our district schools.
The increase of population in this eounty has necessitated the building of quite a number of new houses the past year. The character of these buildings has been uniformly good. They have an average seating capacity for about thirty pupils; have double floors, coal-houses attached, and are built with special reference to comfort. The only means provided for ventilation is by means of lowering the windows, and even this provision is wanting in some of the older buildings. The buildings are uniformly well lighted, but in some instances they are inadequately provided with blinds.
The school-house grounds, except in the towns, uniformly consists of one acre in square form. The buildings are all provided with out-houses, but these are not always looked after as carefully as they should be. Not only sanitary consideration, but the moral well being of the pupils as well, demand that these should be carefully looked after. In most cases the school grounds are uninclosed by fences. Where fences have been constructed there bas been a uniform compliance with the law prohibiting the use of barbed wire in the construction of such fences. There has not been a uniform compliance with the law requiring the planting of trees on school grounds, by boards of directors. In a majority of instances, however, the law has been faithfully observed. The Britt school board, ably assisted by the teachers and pupils of the Britt public schools, observed Arbor Day by planting a large number of trees of different varieties on the school grounds. The afternoon was devoted to literary exercises appropriate to the occasion. The plan of setting apart a day for this special purpose is a most excellent one, and is meeting with popular favor in this county. It will give popularity, and consequently efficiency, to the law relating to the planting of trees.
As to length of term, teachers' salaries and branches taught, my annual report, which is embraced in your biennial report, will furnish the desired information. The subject of penmanship and drawing is taught in nearly all of our schools. Vocal music is not taught scientifically, although it is quite generally made use of for opening and general exercises. The teaching of hygienic physiology, as provided for in school laws of 1886, is quite general. This branch of the subject was taught in the institute last year. .
All things considered, our schools are in a satisfactory condition. While we are laboring under some disadvantages that are peculiar to a new country, these are gradually being overcome, and we confidently expect to take rank with the best of our sister counties in the near future.
BY J. C. HADLEY.
The general condition of our high schools is improving. Four have regularly adopted courses of study and graduating exercises. The academy is in live condition. These facilities keep our supply of teachers quite full.
The country schools are in fair condition. The work is not so thorough however, as it should be. Reading is very imperfectly taught. Order has been overlooked to such an extent as to show some neglect in the schools.
In the normal institute work we are trying to overcome defects in teaching as shown by our teachers in the school room. We give special attention to methods. We shall, this year, give very prominent attention to reading, mental analysis, government, penmanship and phonics. Physiology shall still receive prominent attention.
Our school houses are generally in good order; about one-fourth of them, however, are too small, and of country school houses but one has proper ventilation. Nearly all have double desks; new houses are being supplied, however, with single seats.
I would suggest, in regard to treasurers' reports, that the line directing that they should not report unpaid warrants be changed to “shall report all warrants.” It makes a great deal of confusion with us if they are not reported. It will better show the real financial condition of the district. Furthermore, the treasurer should be held responsible for the warrant, as he can dispose of it under certain considerations. Some will report them any way, so we decidedly prefer to have all reported.
If you had a blank for sub-directors' reports to secretary, it would help
The grounds are generally well located; out-houses in fair condition; fences poor or none. Young trees generally growing, although many have died.
Terms usually four months in summer and three in winter. Salaries, $25 to $35. Penmanship is being worked up now.
There has been a general compliance with the law on hygienic physiology.
We have felt that the State Superintendent should spend more time in our schools and institutes.
BY H. A. KINNEY.
Condition at present not very flattering, but schools improving rapidly. From what I have seen of other counties I believe we are at least in as good a condition as others around us.
Teachers' normal institute was last year instructed exclusively by the principals of our own county, and was admitted by all to be the best ever held in the county. Attendance the largest ever known in the history of the county. The same men will conduct the institute this summer.
We are seeking to bring about a uniform system of working in the county and a general improvement in the methods of instruction. To this end outlines of the common studies have been issued to the teachers.
The institute is arranged in three divisions, each instructor taking the same study in the different divisions. The methods taught are such as are believed to be available to the country teacher, and are prompted by the experience of the instructor. No one author is taken as the standard.
We make a special effort to suggest such plans and teach such principles as are within the comprehension and ability of the teacher to use.
The writer believes the instructors are often chosen by the superintendent for other reasons than their known qualifications. While the normal institute does much good, better results would obtain were better instructors appointed. In my opinion many of the institutes in this county have failed to accomplish what they should.
Usually well constructed. The poor ones are being replaced by better. Heating by large stove in center of room. Usually ample light, but in many cases lack of curtains.
No arrangements for ventilation except open doors and windows.
Usually fairly well furnished with good seats. In many cases not a sufficient amount of black-board. No apparatus. In many cases no dictionary, although probably more than one-half of the schools are supplied.
General condition-In a state of simple nature.
Fences-Ground usually fenced with boards or ribbon wire. In a few cases barb wire is used; in a very few cases no fences.
Probably in 80 per cent of the school yards the number of trees required by law are growing. Many trees were set out last Arbor Day-probably one thousand. The time was so late in the season, however, that many of them died. Many school yards have fine groves.
Six to ten months. Average about seven months. Average salaries in country schools about $35. Male and female the same. Common branches.
Penmanship is taught to the first reader classes and continued through the course.
Drawing is taught in a crude manner in a small per cent of the schools. Vocal music in none. Hygienic physiology in nearly all the schools, usually by oral lessons and as supplementary reading.
BY JOHN F. RIGGS.
School work in Henry county for the past year has been progressive, and in the main satisfactory.
The normal institute for the year 1886 was the largest in the history of the county, the enrollment reaching 249. The institute is well graded, able instructors are employed who give much attention to practical methods of instruction in all departments of work, the attendance is regular, and altogether the institute is a growing power in the educational work of the county.
The school-houses on this county are usually located on pleasant sites, and, with very few exceptions, are surrounded with beautiful groves. The houses are in general well lighted, but poorly ventilated. There is usually a large stove in the center of the school room, while the windows and doors