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GRAND RAPIDS
UNION SCHOOL

Reports of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction
of the State of Michigan
For the years 1855, 1856, and 1857

Ira Mayhew
Superintendent of Public Instruction
1858 - Homer & Kerr, Printers to the State

MR. MAYHEW:
DEAR SIR - Enclosed you have brief answers to your inquiries.

1. Our Union School was established in the year 1848, going into operation in October of that year, under the superintendence of Mr. E. JOHNSON. He was succeeded by Mr. James BALLARD, in May, 1849.In May, 1853, the last named gentleman was succeeded by E.W. CHESEBRO, who still continues in charge.

2. The site occupied by our Union School is 300 feet square. One of our Ward Schools occupies a piece of ground 65 by 100 feet. The other two occupy rented land, of about the same proportions.

3.
Our Union School site cost originally, ..... $600.
Building of stone, three stories..... $2,700.
Re-seating Higher department..... $400.
Finishing Primary Department..... $300.
Ward School site, No. 1..... $495.
Building of wood..... $500.
Ward School site, No. 3..... $500.
Building of wood..... $500.
Building, Ward No. 2..... $500.


The Union School is 46 by 64 feet, of stone, three stories in height. The three Ward Schools are each 24 by 38 feet, one story, of wood.

4. Our apparatus consists of the following articles, with values annexed:

 
One Terrestrial Globe..... $12.
"  Celestial..... $12.
"  Tellurion..... $8.
"  Telescope..... $20.
"  Microscope..... $4.50
"  Horse-Shoe Magnet..... $4.00
"  set of Mechanical Powers..... $12.
"  "  Cubical Blocks..... $1.50
Four  "  Outline Maps, at $8...... $32.
One Air Pump..... $16.
Total.......... $122.00


We have, at present, in the "City Library," which is divided among the two Union School Districts of the city, about 638 volumes.

5. Our school, at present, consists of the following: One Higher Department, one Intermediate department, one Primary Department, one ward School, No. 1, one ward School, No. 2, one ward school, No. 3.

6. The number of teachers and their salaries are as follows:

 
Position Salary
HIGHER DEPARTMENT  
One Principal $1000.
One male assistant $600.
One female assistant $264.
One female assistant $264.
One female assistant $242.
INTERMEDIATE DEPARTMENT  
One female assistant $308
One female assistant $242
One female assistant $242
PRIMARY DEPARTMENT  
One female assistant $264
One female assistant $220
One female assistant $220
WARD SCHOOL NO. 1  
One female assistant $308
One female assistant $220
One female assistant $220
WARD SCHOOL NO. 2  
One female assistant $264
One female assistant $220
One female assistant $220
WARD SCHOOL NO. 3  
One female assistant $220
One female assistant $220
TOTAL $5,758


7. The average number of scholars in attendance is as follows:

 
In Higher Department 200 pupils
" Intermediate 160 pupils
" Primary 150 pupils
" Ward School No. 1 180 pupils
" Ward School No. 2 135 pupils
" Ward School No. 3 40 pupils
TOTAL 865 pupils


8. The course of study pursued in our school is as follows: We commence not with the Alphabet, but with the teaching of a certain number of words, which the child having mastered, easily incorporates into sentences, and school thus loses its dry, monotonous character, and the child becomes a thinking being. The Alphabet soon becomes fixed in the child's mind without any particular instruction on the part of the teacher. Along with this we couple elementary mathematical instruction, and geography. This we follow in our Primary and Ward Schools.

In our Intermediate Department, we teach Spelling, Reading, Penmanship, Geography, Grammar, Mental Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic,  History, Composition, Declamation.

In our Higher Department we pursue the following: Spelling, Reading, Penmanship, Geography, Grammar, Mental Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic, History, Algebra, Geometry, Book Keeping, Science of Government, Rhetoric, Physiology, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, French, Latin, Composition, Declamation.

9. Students have been fitted in our school for the University, and Colleges in neighboring States. Some four or five have gone to our own State University, and about fifteen to higher institutions of learning in other States, principally in New York, Ohio, and Illinois. Our pupils enter the scientific course usually.

10. As far as our experience extends, the most decided and marked advantage results from the co-education of the sexes. The male sex are humanized, refined by the presence of woman, while the latter lose much of that mawkish, false sensibility so extremely objectionable under any circumstances.

11. Our School, for the most part, is free to citizens of the district, yet, for part of the year, we are obliged to levy a small rate-bill.

12. Expenses under our Union School arrangement are much less than under our old single district system.

The influence of the Union School, although great, is constantly increasing. It  is, at present, the "all in all" of our scholastic institutions in this part of the State.

Very respectfully, your ob't serv't,
E.W. CHESEBRO.

 

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Created: 21 May 2003
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