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the wages still higher in several townships. Teachers will get from $35.00 to $40.00 per month this winter. In most of the townships teachers holding first grade certificates receive five dollars more per month than those holding second grade.
last report twelve new school-houses have been erected in this county; some of them to take the place of old ones, and others in subdistricts lately organized. In erecting these houses school officers seem to have considered the prospective, as well as the immediate wants of the districts, for the houses are all of good size.
A large and commodious school building, costing about $12,000.00, has just been completed at Fontanelle. The style of architecture is new and the building planned with a view to comfort, convenience, , and good ventilation. It is indeed a credit to the enterprising people of that town, and betrays a commendable interest in education.
Our normal institutes have been well attended, and have done much to improve our teachers, especially those who yearly recruit the teachers' ranks.
Teachers associations are held at four points in the county.
HOWARD H. RUSSELL.
• In the school affairs of this county very rapid strides of progress : are being made, and the future promises well.
The normal institute just closed has given evidence that we have a among us a much better average grade of teachers than heretofore. The superintendent of this county has succeeded in obtaining the interest of the teachers in attendance upon the institute in educational literature. A list of about seventy subscribers having been obtained for some of the best publications in the country, notably good weekly papers.
We have abandoned our monthly institute meetings at the countyseat, and endeavors are being made to organize and carry on town
ship meetings instead. Thus far only a few townships have responded, but there is good prospect for future success in this direction.
The superintendent of this county can testify that very much better work is done by the teachers when they have an understanding that the superintendent is liable to drop in for a friendly call almost any day. The school is kept wide awake looking for his visit, and preparing to give him a warm reception. He can further testify to the great good coming to the educational interests of the State from the convention of superintendents, that have been called together in districts, by the State superintendent. These cannot afford to be dropped or neglected. The superintendent of this county has been very much helped in making his work successful by the good influence and instruction gained thereat.
The superintendent of this county has decided to raise the grade of qualification required of candidates for certificates from three to five per cent next year. This will reduce the number of teachers somewhat, but those who do work will receive better pay, and good laborers will be invited into this vineyard.
With very great hopes for the future of Iowa schools, this report is respectfully submitted.
BUENA VISTA COUNTY.
J. C. HARLAN.
In Buena Vista county we have to record commendable action upon the part of our school officers in building comfortable school-houses wherever needed, but we lack yet the necessary libraries and apparatus which should be at the command of teachers to enable them to bring out true and speedy development of mind.
Our law providing for the planting of shade trees around schoolhouses was received so late that but few have availed themselves of its advantages this year, but the interest taken by two or three townships that have already planted trees indicate a desire for the much needed improvement and will prove a stimulus to others.
The great variety of text-books which, partly by the inharmonious action of the different boards of directors, have crept into the schools of the several districts, proves a source of great confusion to both teachers and pupils, and causes, no doubt, much waste of valuable time. We shall try to have teachers obviate that difficulty by teaching by topics, following in the main the State course of study.
Our teachers are willing, energetic and earnest, but so many are without experience that the work moves more slowly than we could wish. A few of our districts were without summer schools until very late, for good reasons. The wages offered were not sufficient to secure qualified teachers, and I deemed it unwise to lower
established grade, and issue more third grade certificates. School boards are now changing their policy somewhat, and we hope by again gradually raising the standard of requirement to fully satisfy their expectations, and give them good teachers and good schools.
Our normal institute, held in March, and conducted by two experienced educators, ex-Supt. C. W. von Coelln and Mrs. G. S. Robinson, was well attended, and recognized as being one of the most profitable ever held in our county.
J. D. ANDERSOX.
The schools of Butler county are in a prosperous condition. Exceptions to this rule are found, of course, but generally in such schools as are in the hands of young and inexperienced teachers.
The average attendance, however, is not what it should be. Teachers do all in their power to make the attendance all that it can possibly be made, still, unless parents feel the same interest, pupils of the different districts will many of them grow up without taking advantage of the opportunity furnished them of acquiring an education.
Our graded schools are presided over by teachers of special merit,
who have had professional training, and these schools are in excellent condition.
In this county we have none of the higher institutions of learning, and depend largely upon our graded and normal institutes for instruction in methods. A course of study is found in every school-room, and teachers are required to follow the same as closely as possible.
The ninth annual institute of Butler county began August 7th, and continued in session three weeks. The enrollment was fully up to the average, and results satisfactory. At the close a county teachers' association was organized, which is to meet four times a year.
Butler county is ready and anxious to co-operate with the other counties of Iowa, in any and every legitimate method of awakening an increased interest in educational matters, and of improving and perfecting the schools of our State.
MRS. C. E. O'DonoghưE.
We have over ninety schools in Calhoun county, have not had resident teachers to supply the demand during the past year.
The principal trouble with our schools is non-attendance. not begin to receive the value of the money expended for school purposes until something is done to secure a greater regularity of attendance.
Too great a variety of text-books is another evil to be deplored. Especially is it difficult to teach reading and orthography with books which are unlike, or not graded properly. With other branches topical recitation can be used to advantage, if teachers are familiar with such methods.
Our teachers are generally enthusiastic and conscientious, and keep their school-rooms neat and well ordered. Many teachers have, adopted the State course of study, and use it successfully in their schools.
In my visits I try to encourage both teachers and pupils to seek for practical knowledge, which will be a help to them in every-day life.
The schools are nearly all small, consequently are easily managed.
Our normal institute was a success in every respect. The teachers were thorough, enthusiastic and willing, and as our instruction was largely as to methods I believe we shall have better schools the coming year than ever before.
MISS ELLA M. SLATER.
In Cherokee county we have many efficient teachers, but some lack in education, some in methods, and some in general live interest in school work.
Many of the parents have not sufficient educational enthusiasm to insist upon prompt and regular attendance at school on the part of their children, while at the same time they are possessed of the strongest prejudices against new methods; and it is not uncommon for a weak and timid, but well-meaning teacher to be forced by public opinion to lay aside an improved plan of work and proceed according to the models of a former generation.
A lack of uniformity of text-books also retards the progress of our schools.
These facts, together with the good openings in other employments, have led several of our best teachers to try other work than teaching. There is a bright side, however, and to one who looks for encouraging features, the reward is sure, if not all-sufficient. There is a growing interest on the part of sub-directors when they once secure a good teacher to retain him. A large number of school officers and teachers seem heartily to indorse the plan proposed and discussed at the County Superintendents' Convention, to make the grade of certificate indicate not only the standing attained in the examination,