Michigan. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Annual report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the ..., Volume 35 online

. (page 6 of 24)
Online LibraryMichigan. Dept. of Public InstructionAnnual report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the ..., Volume 35 → online text (page 6 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

out even deeming it necessary to go through an examination.
It became also necessary to annul one first grade certificate,
the holder being totally incompetent to take charge of any
school. You may perhaps be surprised at this statement
when compared with the number of third grade certificates.
With few exceptions the applicants were inexperienced teach-
ers, and the certificates granted have been in strict compliance
with the resolutions adopted at the Michigan State Associa-
tion of County Superintendents. They bear upon their face
the per cent of questions correctly answered in each branch
of study, arid also the average marks secured. This mode of
examination requires more time, but my experience demon-
strates clearly to my mind its efficacy in stimulating to more
thorough scholarship and improved systems of conducting

At the regularly appointed meetings few candidates pre-
sented themselves for examination, as the teachers in the
county had previously been well supplied with certificates, —
hence the reason so few were granted since the commencement
of my term of office. In addition to the above official labor,
I procured and forwarded to every School Director in the
county, three copies of the act " To compel children to attend
school,'' and in the interior districts not convenient to post
offices I delivered them in person. I shall use my utmost
endeavors to have the requirements of that act complied
with, that negligent parents and guardians may be brought to
a sense of their duty. The passage of that act is only another

Digitized by VjOOQIC


indication which goes to prove that we are a "progressive

I have also prepared blanks for " Term Eeports," and for-
warded two to each teacher, requesting him to fill them and
leave one copy with the Director, and forward the other to my
ofiice immediately after the close of the term. In these reports
I shall have the name, age, number of days present and absent
of each scholar m the county. I then propose forwarding
appropriate certificates, or "cards of honor,** to those who
have* been most punctual and conducted themselves the best
during the term.

This county embraces an area of 870 square miles, with
a population of nearly 10,()00. There are twenty-two town-
ships, and forty-eight school districts organized. The number
of children between the ages of five and twenty years, as near
as could be ascertained, is 2,878 ; and between the ages of eight
and fourteen years, 1,400. The number that attended school
during the year is 1,758. The number of teachers employed
during the school year was 64, — 14 males and VO females.
The number of months taught by male teachers, 47^ ; and
by female teachers, 178. The number of school-houses built
during the year, four; and school districts organized, six^
The number of Directors who have made no report to School
Inspectors, five.

In respect to libraries, the old saying that "the less said
about them the better," would still be appropriate. Caseville,
Rubicon, and Sebewaing are the only townships having libra-
ries worthy the name. In some townships the money belong-
ing to that fund that had accumulated in their treasuries was
used for the purpose of purchasing outline maps, dictionaries,
etc. The money could be put to no better use, and I hope
that the other towns will "go and do likewise.'*

The graded school in Port Austin, under superintendence of
Prof. J. P. Teeple, assisted by Misses M. Green and Jennie
Winsor, is steadily growing in favor and numbers. The Board

Digitized by VjOOQIC


of Trustees are doing all in their power to make this a model
schooly and unlike most District Boards they make no charge
for their services. At the commencement of the present
school year a new department was organized in the school, and
a third teacher employed. A resolution to admit non-resident
pupils, on the payment of a moderate tuition fee, was adopted
by the Board, and a number have already thus entered. Gra-
ded schools have also been recently organized in the villages
of Port Hope and Port Crescent, the former under the super-
intendence of Miss Barbara Atkins, assisted by Miss Maggie
McKale, both experienced and eflScient teachers, and the lat-
ter under Prof. E. D. Peebles, assisted by Mrs. Peebles. TVe
must look to these schools in a great measure for a supply of
teachers for the smaller schools throughout the county. The
school in Port Austin has already furnished several, who are
doing eflScient service in that direction.

The State Teachers' Institute (the first ever held in the
county) was held in Port Austin in September, conducted by
Hon. 0. Hosford, State Superintendent, and Prof. C. F. R
Bellows of the State Normal School. Although not so well
attended as it should have been, it has nevertheless resulted in
much good. The teachers in attendance expressed their deep
interest in and approval of the methods of instruction pre-
sented, and are striving to carry their resolution to adopt them
into effect.

The Board of Supervisors have allowed me for 125 days at
$4 00 per day.

Although I hare endeavored to be brief in writing this
report, yet I fear I have already exceeded the allotted space,
and must come to a hasty conclusion.

• In regard to my own "labors, I have only to say, in conclu-
sion, that though conscious of having committed mistakes in
the discharge of the trust confided to me, yet I have the satis-
faction of knowing that they have resulted in good.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The following report was made by the retiring Superintend-
ent at the close of his term, April 30, 1871 :

Sir — ^At the close of my term of office, I beg leave to report
that, since the date of my last report, I hare granted nine cer-
tificates of the first grade, thirty-five of the second grade, and
thirty-one of the third grade ; of which one of the first and
three of the second grade have not been used in the county,
having been obtained by applicants for positions as teachers,
which they did not secure, consequently have not taught
under my supervision. I have not the idea that my standard
of grade is as high as is that of other counties, nor, perhaps,
as uniform. Finding it impracticable to supply the county at
present with teachers as fully qualified as is desirable, I have
exercised a greater degree of leniency than I should have felt
justified in doing if there was a surplus of resident teachers
from which the District Boards might choose; but the inajor-
icy of our teachers are imported from without the county, and
many districts are obliged to employ such teachers as offer, or
have no school ; and my object has been to offer a judicious
inducement to the better class of teachers to remain among
our people and their schools. From circumstances surround-
ing them, a new country, newly and oftentimes defectively
organized districts, variances and contentions among the
people and in the District Boards, plenty of snow or water and
mud obstructing the transit of teacher and pupils, and more
mosquitoes and sand-flies annoying indoors and out, for sum-
mer terms, many of our schools are just as ridiculous and
inefficient (barely the name of a school) as were very many of
the now best schools of our country in the elements of their
beginning; and looking abroad upon what has been accom-
plished in other days, by other hands, with sinailar appliances,
I have taken a real pride in doing what I could see practical
in the limited time allowed me, to assist these elements to
mature into riper and more efficient means for elevating the
youth of our county in knowledge and virtue.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The Board of Supervisors of this county^ at the session in
October, 1869, allowed me to employ 70 days officially for the
following year, during which time I visited the schools in 35
districts, and all the townships then having schools, for the
examination of teachers.

The session of said Board for 1870, by a resolution, required
me to visit every district in the county for the balance of my
term, which I did previous to the 1st of March. There are
now in the county 57 districts organized or in process of
organization. It remains questionable if several of them
succeed in having their legal term within the school year.

While those spoken of are doing what they can, many
others are doing nobly. The new house at Port Austin was
completed and furnished at a cost of something over $5,000, — *
a good house; and the School Board secured practical, live
teachers, and have had an excellent school since the first of
April, 1870. The house at Oaseville was assumed by the dis-
trict and paid for, — a very commodious and pleasant one for the

At Port Crescent and Port Hope and Forest Bay they
have built and furnished good houses, and are sharing the
advantages thereof.

Other districts have built anew, but smaller and less expen-
sive, and others still have repaired and seated some with school

Chautjtcy Chapman.

INGHAM COUNTY— E. D. North, Sup^t.

There are in this county 132 schools, — Lansing city not
included, — that give employment during the winter term to
146 teachers. Five or six districts, on account of the limited

*A techxiicality of the Director prevented this amonnt properly appearing in hla
report, it passing direct fh>in the township treasury to the contractors Dy the author-
ity of the BQlldmg Committee. He claimed he should not report it I claimed that
the property passed into the possession of the district, and the Director shoald so
report it.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


number of scholars, are unable to support schools for more
than one term during the year.


Among our school-houses are found many relics of antiquity,
but they are gradually giving place to better and more con-
venient buildings. Four or five new houses have been built
during the past year, and arrangements arc being made to
build several next season.


I think there is but one school supplied with good outline
maps, while frames, globes, charts, etc, are almost unknown.


An attempt has been made to secure uniformity of text-
books; but here, as elsewhere, it has been only partially


I have made 120 visits since the first of May. A few schools
closed before I could reach them. In the early part of the
season I found the schools well attended, and many were pro-
gressing finely ; but later, the larger scholars were obliged to
remain at home, parents and children lost all interest in
school, the teachers became discouraged, and the schools con-
tinued with about one-fourth of the pupils in attendance.

I have called the attention of the district oflScers to this
matter, and very many have concluded to discontinue school
during the latter part of July and the month of August, and
to have three terms,— fall, winter, and spring, — instead of
two, as heretofore.


I have held office examinations once a month, and this fall
have held examinations throughout the county. One hun-
dred and fifty-eight certificates have been granted, as follows :
Eirst grade, 5; second grade, 17; third grade, 136. Fifty-two

Digitized by VjOOQIC

superintei^dent's keport. 73

applicants have been rejected^ and many more should have


The state Teachers' Institute, held at Mason during the
week commencing August 21st, and conducted by yourself
and Profs. Estabrook and McLouth, of the State Normal
School, was well attended, and excited an unusual degree of
interest on the part of the teachers.

ISABELLA COUNTY— 0. 0. Curtis, Sup't.

Owing to the illness and death of Superintendent Harbison,
no annual report was sent from our county last year, and I can
give but little information with regard to the schools during
that period. As I was engaged in teaching when I received
the appointment of Superintendent, I could devote but little
time to the work of visiting schools, and of course could only
get a general idea of their condition.

It was determined by the Board of Supervisors that I
receive as compensation four dollars per day, and visit each
school at least twice during each term. This, I think, shows
the position taken by our county on the Superintendency
question. Our people seem to have concluded that, if the
system is a failure here, it must be the fault of the County
Superintendent himself.

At the examinations in the spring, I found that our teachers
were in general very poorly qualified ; but enough were licensed
to fill the schools for the summer term, and always with the
recommendation that they prepare themselves for a more rigid
examination in the fall. This course has proved to be a suc-
cess, as not only are teachers better qualified, but the people
are beginning to talk about the matter, and there is a call for
good teachers even though quite high wages are demanded.

* Digitized by VjOOQIC


Oar teachers have gone bravely to work to master the situa-
tion. So I think we can safely assume that we are progressing.

Fifty-seven teachers have been examined, of whom forty-
seven have received certificates. Two have received first-
grade, thirteen second grade, and thirty-two third grade.

We have as yet no graded or union schools in the county,
although something of the kind seems to be very necessary.
Mt. Pleasant and Salt Eiver have each more pupils than can
be successfully taught by one teacher. Mt. Pleasant meets
the case by building an addition to the school-house, and will
have a primary and a higher department after the 1st of

Our log school-houses are beginning to give place to neat
frame buildings, and everywhere is noticeable the improve-
ment in blackboards and other aids to the teacher.

No Teachers' Institute has been held in the county during
the year. It is proposed, at the close of the State Institute
which you have appointed to be held in December, to organize
a County Teachers' Association, its meetings to be held in dif-
ferent places in the county during the winter. We hope to
interest the people as well as the teachers in this Association ;
as, to insure the greatest success in our schools, it seems to be
necessary to give the people a correct idea of what good schools
really are.

In visiting schools, I have found plenty of work. My plan
has been to spend fully six hours in each school at my first
visit, taking notes and making suggestions, and in some
instances taking entire charge of the school, and teaching it
as an example. My second visits have partaken more of the
character of examinations.

My thanks are due to the teachers for the readiness with
which they have accepted suggestions, showing their desire to
make the most possible of the Superintendent's visit.

To the people of the county, I am under a debt of gratitude

Digitized by VjOOQIC

supebintbndbnt's report. 75

for the aid and encouragement given me in the discharge of
my duties, and for the generous hospitality with which I have
everywhere been received.

JACKSON COUNTY— W. Irviko Bennetf, Sup't.

The school year ending with September, 1871, has been an
unusually prosperous one in Jackson county.

The attendance at our schools, notwithstanding an unusual
amount of sickness, has averaged several per cent higher than
ever before, while the large proportion of good schools, and
the very small number of failures, have been sources of great
satisfaction to me.

It has been my design to keep within the limits of my
county, all teachers whose services, either present or prospect-
ive, were valuable in our schools, while at the same time
endeavoring to stimulate and assist all in their arduous duties,
— the younger teachers by suggestions and advice, the older
by newer methods and devices, and all with encouragement,
praise, and censure, properly tempered.

My relations with the great body of the teachers of Jackson
have been of the pleasantest nature, — receiving as I have, so
many evidences of their confidence and cordial co-operation.
How much this has contributed to render my labors pleasant
and fruitful, may readily be imagined.

The e;camination of teachers has been conducted strictly in
compliance with all the legal requirements, examinations being
both written and oral, and the standing in each branch care-
fully computed and marked on the certificates.

During the year there have appeared for examination 366
applicants ; of this number, 5 received certificates of the first
grade, 27 of second grade, 270 of third grade.

A complete and permanent record is kept of the standing

Digitized by VjOOQIC


of each applicant, in a book opened for thafc purpose, whicli is
designed to afford to my successor all necessary data relative
to former certificates.

I have acted upon the firm conviction that the examination
of teachers can be made a powerful lever in the cause of
education, providing there be a uniform and inflexible basis,
combined with sufficient thoroughness. Teachers are not, as
a body, likely to qualify themselves beyond the demands made
upon them, therefore it seems desirable to require as much as
they can well bear, and to gradually increase the requirements
and advance the standard. The more competent and enter-
prising teachers readily coincide in th^ advance, and are
prompt to meet the additional requirements, while the shift-
less and unprogressive drop out of the lists, but with positive
advantage to the school system.

Not less pleasant is it to observe in this connection the
reliance which is placed in certificates by all classes, when
they are the product of rigid examinations and a thorough

The visitation of schools, which occupies so large a propor-
tion of the Superintendent's time, has been prosecuted by me
during 166 days of the school year, and 275 visits have been
made. I have generally made a practice of spending a half
day in each school, sometimes even more, occupying my time
during my stay according to the condition and necessities of
€ach school, sometimes finding it advantageous to conduct
reviews and examinations, at other times to teach the idea of
good discipline and order, and yet other times to act the inter-
ested spectator, allowing the teacher to take his or her own
method of showing the condition. of the school. I invariably
take occasion to make remarks to the pupils, generally of an
encouraging nature, and to give such advice to the teacher as
seems appropriate. In most instances, particularly during the
winter season, I make efforts to secure the company of one or
more of the officers or patrons in making visits at the schools

Digitized by VjOOQIC


as the condition and needs of the same can be best brought to
their attention at such times^ and their duties in connection
therewith most thoroughly impressed.

The number of new school-houses erected during the past
year was five, the average cost of which would not vary much
from one thousand dollars. Three of them were the offspring
of poor and weak districts, where the closest of economy
became necessary, and though they are substantial and tasty
buildings, yet, as regards sittings and improvements, hardly
what I should have desired. Several old buildings, also, have
been so thoroughly remodeled and repaired as to be equivalent
to new ones. There are, at present, very few of our school-
bouses bnt that are at least comfortable, though faults in
modeling and constructing, and too economic use of paint,
leave much to be desired in the matter of improvements. An
especial effort has been made during the past season to remedy
the present all but universal lack of apparatus in our district
schools. I regard this deficiency as one of the crippling needs
of our schools, and likewise one of the most difficult to obvi-
ate. It is extremely rare that a majority in any district see
the utility or importance of furnishing anything of this
nature, and it is quite often the case that no amount of effort
will induce them to perceive it.

Just before the annual meeting, I wrote letters to quite a
number of Directors, urging appropriations, by vote, for such
apparatus as in each instance seemed most necessary. These
appeals, in some instances, resulted successfully, and several
sets of maps, globes, dictionaries, and charts have, in conse-
quence, been purchased. But no such emulation exists in this
matter, between districts, as in reference to school-buildings
and grounds, and the appearances indicate that the want of
apparatus will be a permanent one, unless legislative enact-
ments are brought to bear in the matter.

The condition of the graded schools in Jackson county
is highly satisfactory, and though their number does not

Digitized by VjOOQIC


increase as I had hoped and expected, yet the progress they
exhibit and the liberality with which they are sustained,
betoken continued and increasing prosperity. The popular
sentiment is so nniformly sound and strong in relation to
them that there is little apprehension of any serious check to
their onward progress. But the ungraded district schools,
where three-fifths of our youth are receiving all the mental
training and intellectual culture that they will ever receive,
are very far yet from attaining that degree of eflSciency and
prosperity that would characterize them under better senti-
ments and heartier co-operation.

Yet who, comparing the present condition of these same
schools with that of ten, or even five years ago, can fail to see
that the eflforts put forth in behalf of these schools have been
crowned with fruition, notwithstanding our graded schools
are largely builded up at their expense ? And who, thus see-
ing and believing what has been accomplished in the past, can
doubt as regards the future ?

My school journal, "The^ Monitor,^' was continued during
the past year, and upwards of eight thousand copies were
published. As a vehicle of communication with the teachers
and oflBcers, it has become invaluable to me, while for publish-
ing teachers* term reports, the roll of honor, and various
notices, it is peculiarly useful. Term reports from teachers,
showing the condition of their schools, have been rigidly
required, while the practice of awarding cards of honor for
certain attainments on the part of pupils has been continued
with excellent results.

The eflforts which have been made by the town clerks and
myself have resulted, the present year, in a more correct set of
reports than have ever before gone from Jackson county. I
attribute this in part to having each school supplied with a
register, and requiring term reports of teachers. These fur-
nish, to some extent, data by which Directors can fill out por-
tions of the report that hitherto have been ignored. Tet

Digitized by VjOOQIC

supbbintendent's beport. 79

these reports are creditable only by comparison^ and it will
be necessary that a special effort be made each year in order
that an approximation to accnracy be attained.

The almost uniform kindness and co-operation that I have
met from the people of my county during the whole of my
service in office, has not only given me heart and strength to
prosecute my labors, but will remain as a grateful recollection
of my life.

KALAMAZOO COUNTY— Cakrol L. Eood, Sup^.

In submitting the following, my first report as County
Superintendent of Schools, I can include (properly) but six
months, from May 1st to November 1st, 1871. I shall there-
fore confine myself to a brief statement of facts, as found by
observation, and reference to Inspectors' reports, together with
a short summary of the work performed during the summer •
As there is no record for the past year of the condition of the
schools in the county, I can make no comparison between the
past and present. I can safely say, however, that there has
been a marked improvement daring the summer term.

But here let me say, the amount of work necessary to be
performed, in order to bring the schools of the county up to
that standard of excellence so much to be desired, is incom-
patible with the means by which that labor is to be accom-
plished. I believe that no one man can perform all the work
necessary in a county containing so many schools as Kalama-
zoo. Not only every week day, but every Sunday, and every
night might be fully occupied, and yet much left undone.

Online LibraryMichigan. Dept. of Public InstructionAnnual report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the ..., Volume 35 → online text (page 6 of 24)