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PORTABLE BUILDINGS FOR SCHOOLS

By Clarence S. Pixley

A new use has been found for the portable builings which may be taken apart in sections, moved in a compact wagon load, and set up again, and which adapt themselves so readily to so many different purposes. The Toledo (Ohio) City Board of Education finds them just the thing for the overflow of a crowded city school. A school finds it can not accommodate its pupils a portable house is hauled alongside, school goes

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PORTABLE TWO-ROOM BUILDING USED FOR SCHOOL HOUSE, TOLEDO, OHIO.

on with full attendance, the old school house is added to, and when ready for occupancy, the little portable is hauled away to fulfill its mission in some other congested district. Toledo has found these buildings so well adapted to school purposes, well-lighted, ventilated, etc., that the city is now using no less than fifteen of them.

Why not use this kind of building for the little rural school? It is inexpensive, neat, up-to-date, and would solve many a serious problem confronting school trustees, when the center of population of a district gradually moves away from the vicinity of the school. A new and struggling district might get the building from another district, just lapsed, fifteen miles

away, more or less, and bring it home in a wagon. Then, when it had reached such proportions that it wanted a nice, permanent school house, the little portable could again be transferred to some other new and struggling district, to which it would be a godsend. Yes, there is surely something in the portable for trustees to look into and know about.

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THE REORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOLS OF BERKELEY-A PLAN

A Report to the Board of Education

By Frank F. Bunker
Superintendent of Schools

Directors-I herewith present to you a report on the reorganization of the School Department of Berkeley: A Statement of the Situation

This plan for a proposed re-organization of the School Department of Berkeley grows directly out of an urgent need which must be met at an early day by the Board of Education, namely, the need for providing classrooms in sufficient number to meet the prospective growth of the High School.

Despite the fact that during the past three years the people of Berkeley have bonded the city for $270,000 for high school purposes alone, the money having been expended in extending the high school site and in the erection of buildings thereon, it remains that this expenditure has sufficed to satisfy our present needs only, and today, three months after the new buildings have been occupied, we find ourselves at the limit of our capacity, with no room to meet the normal increase in enrollment which we are confident will be a steady and continuous one. Indeed, we are extremely anxious at the beginning of the Spring term to organize some additional classes, but find that we are unable to do so because of a lack of classrooms.

The most obvious plan for meeting this difficulty would be to inaugurate at once a movement directed toward securing another bond issue for the purchase of either an extension of the present high school site, or a separate site in some other part of the city and the erection thereon of additional buildings. However, inasmuch as within four years the city has bonded itself for school purposes to an aggregate of $720,000, it seems to me that at this time the Board of Education should

exhaust every possible alternative for meeting this need before adding further burdens to an already heavily taxed community. It is to obviate the necessity of rebonding the city that I present to you another plan which I believe has the merit of providing at little or no additional outlay on the part of the community, sufficient room for several years to come. In addition to obviating the need for further bonding of the city at this time, I believe the plan can be fully justified on educational grounds, and that not only will the taxpayers be relieved of this extra burden, but in addition thereto the efficiency of the school department as a whole will be very greatly increased.

The Alternative Plan

The plan which I have recommended involves a re-organization and a re-grouping of the several grades of our schools. Stated briefly, it is this: To have three groups of schools, one group (the High Schools proper) comprising the tenth, eleventh and twelfth years only; the second group, which may be called the Introductory High School group, comprising the seventh, eighth and ninth years only; and a third group of schools (the Elementary Schools proper) comprising all children of the first six years. To make it more concrete, the plan proposes, when in full operation, that all the seventh, eighth and ninth grade children of the entire department be assembled at certain schools which shall be organized for work of this character; that the work of the ninth year be no longer done at the High School proper, but at these centers; and that the other schools of the department comprise grades no higher than the sixth grade, the same to be feeders to the centers.

If this plan were to be placed in immediate operation, it would mean that four hundred pupils would be taken from the high school and distributed among the centers, thus leaving a capacity margin in the High School proper sufficient to care for the natural growth of the school for a number of years, and with the completion of the grammar school buildings now in process of erection we will have adequate capacity to care for many more than the four hundred which will be thrown back upon the schools. By means of this plan the many school rooms now being added to the department will be occupied which otherwise will remain standing idle for several years to come, and the entire plant will thereby be kept working to more nearly its full capacity. In short, the plan proposes a redistribution of children among our several

schools, in order to lessen the congestion in the High Schoo! proper.

The Educational Significance of the Plan

An examination of this plan will convince one, I think, that the division of the grades into three groups is a much more natural one than the arrangement under which we are now working with a division of the grades into two groups only, one group comprising the eight elementary years and the other group, the four upper years.

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Statistics show that the masses are held in school longer than through the fifth grade, and that at the close of the fifth grade they drop out in very large numbers which means, educationally, that whatever is to be taught to the masses must be given in the first five or six years. By making the break come at the close of the sixth year the tendency will be to hold the children in school at least one year longer.

In the schools comprising this group of the first six years, I would have the course of study uniform for all children and somewhat narrow in its scope. I would see to it that there is emphasized in the work of the first six years those things which the masses must have if they get on at all. I would see to it that whether or not anything else were gotten, that at least the children learn how to read, how to write, how to use their own language, both orally and in written form, how to perform with facility and accuracy the simple operations of arithmetic and of accounting, and I would also see to it that in these first six years that they get somewhat of a sympathetic knowledge of their city, state and national government, and that they also learn the elementary things about sanitation and health conditions which everybody needs to know, not only to protect themselves as individuals, but to protect society as well. I would select from the corps for work in these first six years, teachers who are particularly adapted to handling children of this early age and to inculcating the content which I have just outlined.

In the "Introductory High Schools" there would be congregated the seventh, eighth and ninth years. These years comprise another natural group, inasmuch as children would enter it at the beginning of the period of adolescence, when by nature they naturally crave an opportunity to dip into a wide range of subjects and activities, which is Nature's way of insuring a freedom of choice in determining occupation and somewhat of intelligence in the same. I would have certain prescribed subjects for this group, but in addition thereto

would permit as many electives as possible, thus making it unnecessary, as at present, for every child in the seventh and eighth grades to take exactly the same work as every other child. In contrast to the work of the first six years, I should wish to see the work of this group made exceedingly rich in content and variety, and particularly in human interest. I should hope to see the work of this group relate very closely to life and be as far away as possible from that which is purely academic in education. I should wish much emphasis placed on learning how to study, how to use the library, how to get material from the same with expedition and with judgment. If a child forsees that he wants to take German or Latin in the High School proper, I would wish him to begin these languages when he enters this group and thus have six years of work in the same before he enters college, instead of four as according to our present arrangement. I should wish to see the work of this group shaped up to make a more easy transition from the work of the elementary grades to the departmental work of the high school. In line with this I should wish teachers assigned to work in these grades who have a broad culture and wide experience in teaching in the grades.

By an arrangement of this kind it would seem that the work of the High School proper could be made more intensive than it is at the present time, with higher standards of scholarship and more rigid requirements than at present obtain, an i without working any hardship upon the young people who enter the same, for it would seem that if this work which I have outlined be carefully and efficiently done, that the incoming student will have developed a much more serious attitude toward his work than obtains at the present time; will have oriented himself better, so far as his subjects are concerned, and that the break will not be so great or so discouraging as with the plan under which we are now working.

Moreover, the students entering the High School proper will have developed thereby a greater cohesion than now obtains. With our present plan students dribble into the high school in small numbers and from many schools. They are wholly lacking in anything approaching a community feeling or a feeling of group responsibility. They have had no experience in organized action and are not conscious of their individual responsibility in contributing to the establishment of a student body sentiment which shall be high and lofty in its purposes and in its influence. In consequence, it is difficult for the student body of the school to assimilate such, properly and completely, and if the existing school morale be low, these

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