Century Chest transcription 21
Board of Education
Colorado Springs, Colo. Aug. 1, 1901
To the Residents of Colorado Springs in the year 2001:-
Those who have the century chest in charge have requested me to write you concerning our public school system. I deem this a great honor as well as a very pleasing privilege.
I will not burden this letter with a detailed statement of the growth of the schools during the year since their organization, for the data on file in the secretary's office will supply all of these facts. Suffice it to say that they have doubled during the last ten years.
There is no institution in our beautiful city in which our citizens manifest greater pride and interest than they do in our system of public schools.
Every citizen whether a patron or not is interested in the welfare and growth of the schools they so cheerfully help to support and maintain. The influence of our public schools reaches every home in the city. They are either directly, or indirectly, related to every business, trade and profession represented in the city. No institution in our midst has done more for the commercial and moral interests of our city than our public schools. This is mainly the reason why the citizens of Colorado Springs, luring all of these years, have given their moral and financial support, so willingly, to assist in erecting our beautiful school houses and in developing a most excellent system of schools.
As I have already intimated the growth of the schools has been marvelous and has kept apace with the phenomenal growth of the city. The Board of Education has found it difficult at times to meet the demand for school-rooms.
The pupils of the district are housed in eleven school buildings.
These buildings are the best, and have been erected with great care, especially, with reference to heating, ventilation and lighting. Much attention is given, too, to the beautifying of the grounds.
The high school building cost about $115 000; the eight room ward buildings about $40 000 each.
These estimates include neither the sites nor the furnishings.
The high school building contains a Superintendent's office, Secretary's office, Principal's office, library, study-room, seating 250, an auditorium, seating 800, biological, physical and chemical laboratories, an art room, and 9 recitation rooms. The basement contains a gymnasium, heating and ventilating plant, janitor's quarters and a store room; also toilet rooms.
The ward buildings contain rooms for heating and ventilating plants, bicycle and lunch rooms, toilet rooms and school rooms as follows: Garfield 14, Columbia 4, Liller 8, Lowell 8, Lincoln 6, Washington 8, Washington Annex 2, Bristol 6, Roswell 8, Ivywild 2, Steele 8. All of the ward buildings are furnished with libraries and principal's offices. The two systems of heating and ventilation are the "Fan" and "gravity." The newer buildings are seated with adjustable seats.
All seats are single. Nearly all of the buildings are up-to-date and are of a most convenient and modern design. Each building is in charge of a janitor who is furnished with a place to live, heat and light. His salary is commensurate with the size of the building. There is in process of construction another building at the corner of Institute and Morano streets. It will contain 8 rooms when completed. The Board is also considering the erection of a building at the coal mines north of the city. It might be well to add here that the district measures 9 miles north and south and 7 miles east and west.
The course of instruction covers a period of twelve years - 4 in the high school and 8 in the grades. A copy of the course now in use will be placed in the chest with this letter; also a copy of the rules and regulations for the government of the schools. The course and rules have been changed somewhat since these pamphlets were printed.
Our high school is one of the best west of the Mississippi river.
It prepares students for all of the leading colleges of the U.S. The Faculty consists of 18 instructors each prepared for his or her line of work. The plan is to keep the number of male and female instructors as nearly equal as possible. The principal receives $2000 per annum - other salaries range from $900 to $1600 per annum - men receive more than women.
The school has a well organized system of athletics and a cadet corps of 100 members. The library which was organized last year contains about 5 000 volumes of books that have been selected for reference purposes principally. The growth of the library promises to be very rapid.
The methods of instruction employed throughout the system of schools are liberal, flexible and are conducive to physical and moral growth as well as mental. Teachers are allowed great latitude in the selection and use of methods of instruction and management. The policy of the school discourages machine work. It believes that heart to heart work of teacher with pupil is absolutely necessary to successful school work.
Drawing and music are under the supervision of special teachers.
Much attention is being given to school-room decoration, using the best pictures and pieces of statuary. The work in drawing includes pencil sketching, brush and ink work and watercolors. Much attention is given to paper cutting and folding, in the primary grades. All of this work is correlated with the work in nature study and literature.
Vertical penmanship is taught in the schools with excellent success.
Much attention is given to rhythmic movements (one phase of physical culture) and rhetorical exercises.
Arithmetic is not emphasized to any great extent below the third grade.
The ratio method is taught below the fifth grade. Reading, literature, language, and nature study are emphasized through out the course. These are correlated as much as possible.
Pupils are promoted at the close of each half of the year and at anytime for special merit, upon the recommendation of the teacher.
Our methods of discipline are wholesome. Pupils are led to love their schools. Corporal punishment is not administered except by permission of the parent or guardian. Whipping is, indeed, very infrequent.
The enrollment for last year was 5 200 - will likely reach 6 000 next year. The present school census gives the districts 6 100 pupils of school age. School age, 6-21.
There were employed in the schools last year one hundred teachers.
The minimum salary of experienced grade teachers is $600 per annum - maximum salary $780. Principals receive from $900 to $1500. The superintendent receives $2900.
The schools are under the management of a Board of Education consisting of five members elected for a term of five years - one going out each year. These persons are elected by the people at large and serve without pay. The officers of the Board are a president, secretary, treasurer and a superintendent. The duties of the Board and its officers are given in the pamphlet entitled Rules and Regulations.
The school year consists of 38 weeks including the legal holidays. The school day is as follows: - First three grades from 9 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. and from 1:30 to 3:15 P.M.; grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 from 9 A.M. to 11:45 A.M., and from 1:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M.; high school and eighth grade from 8:30 A.M. to 12, and from 1 P.M. to 2:30.
Devotional exercises including the reading of a short selection of scripture are encouraged throughout the system. Parents meetings are held quite frequently in the different buildings for the purpose of free and formal discussion of subjects of mutual interest to parents and teachers. These meetings are always interesting and helpful to all who attend them, and tend to strengthen the tie between home and school.
While our schools are quite well equipped with the usual school appliances yet they are in need of many things that would increase their efficiency. Our ward libraries need more books. Courses in manual training and domestic science would strengthen and enrich the course already in use. I am glad to say that Board and citizens are all in sympathy with these lines of growth and progress, and they will be added as soon as the finances of the district will warrant it. It always has been the policy of the Board of Education supported by a class of interested citizens to make any reasonable sacrifice for the welfare of our public schools.
Another century will witness many improvements in school architecture, methods and appliances.
The school will then, as it does now, support the home, the church, the State and the Nation.
P.S. My term of service began October, 1896.
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