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INSPECTORAL DISTRICT No 4.-D. P. Wetmore, Inspector, Clifton, Kings County, N. B.
THIS DISTRICT EMBRACES THE COUNTIES OF QUEENS AND SUNBURY, AND THE COUNTY OF KINGS EXCEPT THE PARISHES OF HAVELOCK, CARDWELL, WESTFIELD AND GREENWICH.
SIR, I have the honor herewith to forward my report for the year ended December 31st, 1886.
The schools generally may be said to be holding their own pretty well, although I cannot say that there is much material advancement. Arithmetic seemed to be better handled this year, and there was a noticeable improvement in print script and writing for the junior classes. Of course there is a general advancement in schools and school accommodation in many places, but to balance this there is falling off in others. This, in most instances, arises from the depression in business, some districts finding it so hard to collect taxes, that at the annual meeting no supplies were voted and attempts were made to close the schools for a term or two. As a consequence of this I have had more petitions from ratepayers lately than usual, asking that trustees be compelled to put schools in operation. In some of these cases the lack of school privileges arose from the indifference of the ratepayers, who have neglected to attend the annual meeting and vote the necessary supplies. Salaries were lower this year than ever, yet this does not seem to discourage teachers as they are still very plentiful.
Very few new school-houses have been built in my district during the year just passed. Some repairs and improvements have been made on old school-houses but not nearly the amount that should have been made. It is but fair to state that the majority of the houses are quite good and that many more with a little repair might be made so. The question of winter ventilation remains just as it was, no proper provision being made for it, almost without exception. It is a pity that some inexpensive way cannot be devised that could be adopted by the country schools. Pupils and teachers both suffer now on cold days from breathing a vitiated atmosphere, and as a result many constitutions are weakened. Summer ventilation is in some cases fairly provided for, but in others the arrangements are liable to give colds from strong drafts.
I am glad to be able to report that the wealthy district of Upper Jemseg is at last building a new school-house. This was very much needed there as the one at present
in use is altogether inadequate to the wants of the pupils who attend. This should be one of the Superior Schools of the county, but under the cramped accommodations for pupils it has been far from it.
SCHOOL GROUNDS, ETC.
I wish I could report that school grounds have generally been improved but I cannot. These remain about the same with a few notable exceptions. The rule is, unimproved, unfenced and rough grounds and in some cases nothing but the highway. The question of expense interferes with this as with all other improvements in these times of financial depression, but there does not seem to be a good ground for it in this, as many very material improvements could be made with but little expense, such as levelling grounds, planting shade and ornamental trees, etc.
Should the Board of Education see fit to appoint a day as an Arbor Day, say some
where between the 10th and 20th of May, for such schools as see fit to take advantage of it to improve their grounds and to plant shade and ornamental trees thereon in desirable places, I am satisfied it would be generally acceptable. It should be so arranged that the day would only be given to those districts who improved their grounds where improvement was necessary, either on that day or another, and who, of course, made use of the holiday for planting trees. Teachers who were alive to the subject would have a suitable programme of exercises arranged to take, say an hour or so on that day, with perhaps suitable recitations from the pupils of the school, and an address from some one on the desirability of improving and ornamenting school grounds or some kindred subject.
I am sorry to have to report that some school grounds are yet unprovided with outhouses and that in many other cases the trustees and teachers have allowed these very necessary buildings to get out of repair and in a very disgraceful condition. This is a matter that receives too little attention. Teachers, when their attention is called to their duty in the matter, generally tell me that the outbuildings were out of repair when they took charge. The establishment of an Arbor Day would certainly have the effect of putting these buildings in a state of repair at least once a year, for both trustees and teachers would be ashamed to have the neighbourhood see the wretched and foul shanties in use in some places.
I am glad that the Board of Education has decided to withdraw the county draft where trustees will not comply with the recommendations of inspectors for necessary school accommodation, &c. The mere fact of there being such a regulation will have great weight with trustees, so that I hope there will be little occasion for inspectors to act on it.
There were eight Superior Schools in operation in my district distributed as follows: At Apohaqi, Hampton Station, Springfield Corner and Clifton, in Kings County, at Chipman No. 5, Johnston No. 4, Lower Jemseg, in Queens County, and at Central Maugerville, in Sunbury County.
That at Apohaqui, taught by Mr. Pearson, I have not yet visited, it having been but lately added to my district, and so am unable to report concerning it; but the others have all been doing good work, the chief difficulty with them seeming to be that, on the average, they were hardly patronized sufficiently by other districts to give the benefits they were intended to confer.
Mr. T. E. Whelpley, I believe, still continues in charge at Hampton Station, but Mr. T. S. Chapman has resigned his position at Springfield Corner, and Mr. Raymond has been appointed in his place. Mr. Wm. Thurrott, I understand, still continues at Central Maugerville, but Mr. Gavin Hamilton, who taught at No. 5, Chipman, resigned his position some time before the close of the term, and now Mr. Fleming has charge. The districts at Clifton, Lower Jemseg and No. 4, Johnston have abandoned the claim to the Superior School grant and have employed, or expect to employ, secondclass teachers, on the ground that the expenses of keeping up a Superior School was too great for the means of the districts and occasioned too high a tax. In the case of Clifton and No. 4, Johnston, there seemed to be some ground for the opinion, as the taxes were between one and two per cent. on the valuation of the district; but I cannot say the same for Lower Jemseg.
I am sorry that these schools have been given up, as advanced schools are certainly much needed in the different vicinities, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace them.
There are three Grammar Schools in the district, one at Sussex, one at Gagetown, and one at Sheffield, but they have only been in my charge for the last term and have not been visited yet.
The supply of apparatus is hardly as good throughout the district, on an average, as last year; very little new has been added and, of course, what is in use is deteriorating from wear and tear. Many blackboard surfaces, especially, need renovating, particularly those that are on plaster.
The evil of irregular attendance still continues and, no doubt, will continue, to some extent as long as schools are taught. It seems as if it were even greater this year than ever, but this may be only in appearance, for since the terms have been changed winter and summer pupils register in both terms while many only attend in one. This makes the percentage of attendance on the enrolment appear less than it used to be, but, as stated before, it may be only in appearance. However, the evil of irregular attendance still continues preventing efficient work in the schools.
INSPECTORAL DISTRICT, No. 5.-W. S. Carter, A. M., St. John, N. B.
THIS DISTRICT EMBRACES THE COUNTIES OF ST. JOHN AND CHARLOTTE AND THE PARISHES OF WESTFIELD AND GREENWICH IN KINGS COUNTY.
WILLIAM CROCKET, ESQ. A. M.,
Chief Superintendent of Education, }
SIR, The past year having been my first as an Inspector, I cannot compare the educational progress of my district during that time with that of other years but will content myself by reporting its present condition.
Having been favored with excellent health and fine weather for the most part, I have been enabled to compass the whole of my territory requiring visitation, each term. Though a stranger to nearly every district in Charlotte and St. John Counties at the time of my appointment, I have invariably been received with kindness and courtesy. While the trustees do not always take that degree of interest in school matters which is desirable, they in the greater number of cases listened attentively to any recommendations I have had occasion to make and cheerfully complied with them. There were a very few Boards of Trustees whom I regret to report did not heed the recommendations which I made. I forwarded a list of these to you in my last monthly report with a recommendation that the drafts for their county fund should not be sent them until the improvements had been made.
Much indifference is manifested on the part of the ratepayers in regard to attending the annual school meeting and I have had to send notices to a large number of districts which have failed to hold meetings altogether. I regret to notice a tendency on the part of some School Boards in hiring their teachers, to take advantage of the summer holidays falling at the beginning of the term and pay them for only five months. One or two cases have also come to my notice of trustees dismissing a teacher giving entire satisfaction, to avoid paying for the month's holidays, but such meanness is very rare I am glad to say.
The majority of teachers employed in this district, I believe, are laboring with the best results. Some are laboring with indifferent success, and a few may be classed as poor. I have to deplore the constant desire for change evinced by many; I will not say of our best teachers. In one parish in Charlotte County containing seven schools no teacher who had been in charge during the first term remained at my second visit. This is greatly to the detriment of the school service. Teachers are not always to blame for this state of affairs. Some districts change their teachers, it would almost seem, just for
the sake of a change.
Male teachers are very scarce in this district and seem to be decreasing in number This is to be regretted for many reasons. While I would not for one moment desire to underrate the excellent class of work being done by our female teachers as a body, yet there are departments of it which would be more acceptably performed by male teachers. They are, moreover, more permanent members of the profession, could the inducements be made sufficient for them to adopt it as such.
Nearly all the organized school districts have had schools in operation during some portion of the year. Several schools did not open until some time after the beginning of the summer term. The supply of teachers has been rather greater than the demand during the year. The indications for the coming year are a good demand for teachers with an upward tendency in salaries. The scarcity together with the low price of fish during the early part of the summer caused depression on some of the islands. In consequence of this, pressure was brought to bear on the trustees of North Head, Grand Manan, to close the schools, but the Board sensibly declined to consider the proposition, reasonbly arguing that when employment was scarce there were the more children to attend school. The school at this place consists of four departments under the efficient principalship of Mr. S. W. Irons. The school at Woodward's Cove reduced its depart. ments to one but has since returned to the graded system. Whitehead Island, I understand, closed its schools altogether during the second term. On Campobello all the schools were maintained throughout the year. It is to be regretted that the trustees at Leonardsville, Deer Island, thought it necessary to close their schools during the second term, by which action nearly one hundred children were debarred from school privileges during that time. A Superior School has been established during the year at Le Tete. It is under the management of Mr. J. H. Burgess. I hope before long that the school at Moore's Mills will be in a position to receive the Superior grant.* This school is very efficiently conducted by Mr. G. M. Johnson.
St. John County has not yet its full number of Superior Schools but I hope before long to see one or two more established there.
* A Superior School is now in operation at Moore's Mills.-W. C.
SCHOOL BUILDINGS, ETC.-CHARLOTTE COUNTY.
This county is fairly well equipped as far as school buildings are concerned, especially the western parishes, where the admirable example of St. Stephen has been followed. In the eastern parishes much remains to be done in this respect. It is to be hoped that St. George will soon set the example by erecting a commodious house, which is so much needed there. This village is the most desirable location for a Superior School in the eastern section of the county, but under the existing conditions I was compelled to recommend that the grant be given Le Tete, where very good school accommodations have been provided.
New school-houses have been erected during the year at Roix, St. Patrick and Trout Brook, Pennfield. New houses are very much needed at Back Bay, St. George, and Anderson, St. James. I have hope that during the next year this great want will be supplied in both districts. A considerable amount of repairing has been done to several school-houses, among which may be mentioned Le Tete, Whittier's Ridge, Upper Bayside, Lawrence Station and Mayfield. I cannot pass over without mention the excellent buildings and appointments of Oak Bay and Moore's Mills. Not only are the houses in these districts supplied with everything requisite inside, but great attention has been given outside to fencing and ornamention of grounds. Nowhere in Charlotte County have the people availed themselves of the advantages afforded by the Free School System to a greater extent than on the Islands. The school buildings and their appointments are excellent. Many of their schools are graded, and no pains are spared to secure the best teaching talent and render the schools generally efficient. I am glad to be able to report that Deep Cove District, Grand Manan, has been organized and will soon have a school in operation. The greater number of districts in this county
are supplied with good out-buildings, though in some very little care is taken to keep them in order, and a few districts, I regret to report, are yet unprovided with any at all. I may say in regard to the latter, that I generally find the trustees willing to do all they can to provide these accommodations, and I hope soon to be able to report every district supplied.
SCHOOL BUILDINGS, ETC.-ST. JOHN COUNTY.
With the exceptions of the schools in the immediate vicinity of the cities of St. John and Portland, I may say that the school buildings in this county are very poor. Much, however, has been done in this way during the year, and I believe a great deal will be done during the next year, to remedy this state of affairs. New buildings have been put up at Chance Harbor, Gardiner's Creek, Coldbrook, and Willow Grove, and new houses are being erected at Golden Grove and Dipper Harbor. They will soon be ready for occupation. I hope in my next report to be able to say that something has been done in this way at Hanford Brook, Fairfield, Bayne's Corner, Spruce Lake, Red Head, Garnet and Prince of Wales. Some of these districts have already made arrangements to build. Repairs have been put upon the school-houses at Musquash, Silver Falls, Sutton and Bayne's Corner. At the beginning of the year fully one-half of the school districts in this county were totally unprovided with outhouses, and of those districts provided with them many were unfit for use. Some of these districts have had them erected during the year, but much remains to be done. In the matter of school apparatus, there was, and still is, a great deficiency, but many improvements have been made too in this respect, though I am sorry to say a few districts have not