Report of School Visitations: Camanche, Elvira and Others

SOURCE: The Clinton Weekly Herald, Feb. 5, 1870

Office of County Supt. of Com. Schools, Clinton, Jan. 27, 1870

Jan. 18th and 25th -- Visited independent school district of Camanche, Isaac Smith, principal; enrollment of pupils 175; distributed as follows: Primary department 50, Martha L. Butterfield, teacher; first intermediat 44, Cyntha E. Leech, teacher; second intermediate 49, Alice Abbey, teacher; high school 32, taught by principal.  Average attendance about 120; deportment would be improved by systematic organization.  This school should be thoroughly and systematically organized, and a more illustrative and practical method of teaching adopted.  Mr. Smith has just taken charge of this school, and has commenced with a fair prospect of success.  The teachers are all well qualified, and, with the introduction of a correct method of teaching, would place this among the first schools in the county.  House large, rooms conveniently seated, but furnished with limited blackboard accomodations, and almost destitute of maps, charts, and ordinary school apparatus, which necessaries should be immediately supplied by the school board, whose attention is respectfully called to this matter, as well as to that of organization and method of teaching.

Jan. 20 -- Sub-district No. 8, at Elvira, Center township; R. D. Seaman, teacher; enrollment 35; average attendance about 20; deportment indifferent; method of teaching ordinary, with the exception of writing which is better adapted to a commercial than a common school.  Pupils do not appear sufficiently interested and studious for rapid improvement.  The teacher would derive great benefit from a visitation to some well organized and well conducted school.  House should be replaced with a new one.  This school is not quite what it should be.

Jan. 24, A. M. -- Sub-district No. 7, Camanche township; Miss A. N. Muzzy teacher; enrollment 23; average attendance 16; deportment good; method of teaching ordinary; pupils studious and progressing; house of medium size; seats old and rickety, should be replaced with those of modern construction.  A diminutive blackboard; maps, charts and globe have been furnished.  The playground is finely located near a small stream of pure water, and, with a few shad and ornamental trees, would present an attractive appearance.

P. M. -- Sub-district No. 2, Camanche township; Jennie Vickery, teacher; enrollment 36; average attendance 28; deportment good; method of teaching illustrative and practical; has a well arranged programme of daily and general exercises, and conducts her school in a methodical and business-like manner, to the rapid improvement of her pupils, and the gratification of her patrons, who appreciate a thorough method of instruction.  House pleasantly situated, and surrounded by a natural grove, affording protection from sun and storm, and, thanks to the generosity and enterprise of W. D. Follett, director, has been furnished by him with patent extension desks and single seats, of the most approved style and finish, with ink wells and fixtures complete, and with some repairs would be the most convenient school-room in the township.  Maps, charts, globe and blackboard are used to the best advantage in this school, which is more than be said of many others.

Jan. 26, A. M. -- Sub-district No. 3, Camanche township; Mary Crawshaw, teacher; enrollment 8, average attendance 6; deportment good; method of teaching ordinary, but administered with an energy commendible in so small a school; house temporary and not fit for a school-room.  The teacher appears to understand her business, and the pupils are kept busy by the frequent recitations and explanations of the teacher, who devotes her whole attention to the school. (Query.) Does this sub-district furnish a sufficient number of children of schoo age for a profitable investment of the school fund? Board of directors of the district township of Camanche should solve this query.

A. M. -- Sub-district No. 1, Clinton township; Miss R. J. Oxley, teacher; enrollment 36; average attendance 28; deportment good; method of teaching embraces many improvements, on the normal plan.  The teacher means business; and, inspiring her pupils with her novel and ingenious method of teaching, has made this small and ill-seated school-room interesting and attractive tot he juveniles hereabouts, who flock in and fill it to its utmost capacity.  With a large room and complete apparatus Miss Oxley would accomplish much more than she does now.  This school is well kept.

P. M. -- Sub-district No. 2, Clinton township; S. M. White, teacher; enrollment 40; average attendance 33; deportment good; method of teaching topical, and well adapted to this school, many of whom are young ladies and gentlemen preparing for the more active duties of life, who improve this opportunity to acquire a better education than is ordinarily obtained at a common school.  Mr. W. is a gentlemen capable of filling almost any position, as teacher, with credit to himself, and superior advantages to his pupils. House new, situated most too close to the public road; school room comfortably seated and furnished with ordinary school apparatus.

Jan. 27, A. M. -- Sub-district No. --, Camanche township; Miss L. A. Lewis, teacher; enrollment 29; average attendance about 16; deportment tolerable; method of teaching ordinary, teacher is just recovering from quite a severe cold, and hardly able to do justice to her abilities or administer the affairs of the school as creditably as she would otherwise have done.  The pupils were evidently taking advantage of the circumstances, and were not quite as decorous as they should have been.  House tolerably well seated and furnished with a variety of maps, charts, etc.  The play-ground should be enlarged and set with shade trees.

P. M. -- Sub-district No. 3, North Division Eden township; Miss M. A. Hauke, teacher; enrollment 29; average about 22; deportment good; method of teaching explanatory. The whys and wherefores are deem of sufficient importance, and careful and studious attention is demanded of each pupil, and they are required to give the reason of the rules and principles and the practical application of the same.  A few months of normal training would add much to Miss Hauke's usefulness as a teacher.  The house was completed last November, and for style, workmanship, seating and finish is creditable to the good taste of Thomas Bower, who superintended its erection.  The play-ground is inclosed with a tight board fence, and, when set with shade trees, will add a pleasing feature to this prairie landscape.

R. B. Millard, Superintendent.