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Mr. Hulburd, the able and enlightened Chairman of the Committee on Colleges, Academies and Common Schools, of the Assembly, visited the Normal Schools of Massachusetts, and after a thorough examination of their merits and practical operations, submitted an elaborate and eloquent report to the House, in favor of the immediate adoption of this principle in our system of public instruction. The bill introduced by him, and sustained in all its stages by his powerful influence and indefatigable exertions, and the coöperation of the most zealous friends of education throughout the state, became a law, and appropriated the sum of $10,000 annually for five successive years, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a State Normal School in this city. The general control of the Institution was committed to the Regents of the University. by whom an Executive Committee, consisting of five persons, one of whom was to be the Superintendent of Common Schools, was to be appointed, upon whom the direct management, discipline and course of instruction should devolve.
In pursuance of this provision, the Board of Regents, in June, 1844, appointed a Committee comprising the Hon. SAMUEL YOUNG, then Superintendent of Common Schools, the Rev. Alonzo POTTER, Rev. WM. H. CAMPBELL, Hon. Gideon HAWLEY, and Francis Dwight, Esq. This committee forth with entered upon the execution of their responsible duties; procured on very liberal and favorable terms from the city of Albany the lease for five years of the spacious building in State street, recently occupied by the Institution; prescribed the necessary rules and regulations for the instruction, government and discipline of the school, the course of study to be pursued, the appointment and selection of the pupils, &c., and procured the services of the late lamented and distinguised Principal, then of Newburyport, Massachusetts, together with his colleague, Prof. Perkins, of Utica, the present Principal, as teachers. On the 18th day of December, 1844, the school was opened in the presence of a large concourse of citizens and strangers, by an eloquent address from Col. Young, and by other appropriate and suitable exercises. Twenty-nine pupils, thirteen males and sixteen females, representing fourteen counties only, of both sexes were in attendance, who, after listening to a brief but clear and explicit declaration from Mr. Page, of his objects, views and wishes in the management and direction of the high duties devolved upon him, entered at once upon the course of studies prescribed for the school. Before the close of the first term on the 11th of March, 1845, the number of pupils had increased to ninety-eight, comprising about an equal number of each sex, and representing forty of the fifty-nine counties of the state. During this term the musical department of the school was placed under charge of Prof. Ilsley, of this city, and instruction in drawing was imparted by Prof. J. B. "Howard, of Rensselaer.
On the commencement of the second term, on the 9th of April, 1845, 170 pupils were in attendance, comprising a nearly equal proportion of males and females, and representing every county in the state, with a single exception. Of these pupils about nine-tenths had been previously engaged in teaching during a longer or shorter period. The term closed on the 28th of August, with a public examination and other suitable exercises, and thirty-four of the students received the certificate of the Executive Committee and Board of Instruction, as in their judgment well qualified in all essential respects, to teach any of the Common Schools of the state.
On the 15th of October succeeding, the school re-opened with 180 pupils, which was increased during the progress of the term to 198 from every county in the state but one. The death of Mr. Dwight, which took place on the 15th of December, and the transfer of the Rev. Dr. Potter to the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, created vacancies in the Executive Committee, which were supplied by the appointment of the Hon. HARMAN : BLEECKER, and the Hon. Samuel Young, the latter gentleman having been succeeded in the office of Superintendent of Common Schools by the Hon. N. S. Benton, of Herkimer. The sudden death of Mr. Dwight, who had taken a deep interest in the prosperity and success of the Institution, and had given to its minutest details the benefits of his supervision and constant attention, cast a deep gloom upon the inmates; and the peculiar circumstances under which it took place were strikingly indicative of the vain and illusory nature of all human expectations. For several weeks previous to his death, Mr. Dwight had manifested much interest in devising appropriate means for the celebration of the opening of the school, on the 18th of December. Alas ! how little could he imagine that the long line of Normal pupils, with the children of the various public schools of the city, to whom also he had been a signal benefactor, and hundreds of his fellow-citizens should, on that day, follow his lifeless remains to their long home!
At the close of the third term, March 18, 1846, a public examination was held, which continued during four successive days, and convinced all who felt an interest in the Institution, that the work of preparation for the teacher's life was, in all respects, thorough and complete. The diploma of the Institution was conferred on forty-seven graduates. During this and the preceding term a valuable addition had been made to the Board of Instruction, by promoting to the charge of several of the principal departments, those graduates of the Institution who now so ably and successfully preside over these departments. The Experimental School, organized at the commencement of the second term, was placed under the general supervision of its present teacher, and has proved an exceedingly valuable auxiliary in the practical preparation of the pupils of the principal school for the discharge of their duty as teachers. Two hundred and five pupils were in attendance at the commencement of the fourth term, on the first Monday of May, 1846, of whom sixty-three received a diploma at its close in September following. During the fifth term, commencing on the second of November, one hundred and seventyeight pupils only appeared, forty-six of whom graduated in March, 1847. At the commencement, however, of the sixth term in May subsequently, two hundred and twenty-one pupils were in attendance, of whom sixtyfour received the diploma of the Institution in September; and at the reopening of the school in November, two hundred and five pupils appeared. Up to this period the number of names entered on the Register of the school as pupils, including those in attendance at the commencement of the seventh term, was seven hundred and thirty-seven. Of these two hundred and fifty-four bad received their diploma as graduates, of which number two hundred and twenty-two were actually engaged in teaching in the Common Schools of the state; and the residue, with few exceptions, in the different academies or in private schools. Of those who had left the school without graduating, nearly all were engaged during a longer or shorter period in teaching in the several Common Schools.
And now came that dark and gloomy period when the hitherto brilliant prospects of the Institution were overcast with deep clouds of melancholy and despondency-when that noble form and towering intellect which, from the commencement of the great experiment in progress, had assiduously presided over and watched its development, was suddenly struck down by the relentless hand of the great destroyer-when the bereaved and stricken Pock, deprived of their revered and beloved guide, teacher, friend, mournfully assembled in their accustomed halls on that dreary and desolate January day at the commencement of the year 1848, to pay the last sad obsequies to the remains of their departed Principal. In the prime and vigor of his high faculties-in the meridian brightness of his ofty and noble career-in the maturity of his well-earned fame as "first among the foremost” of the teachers of America, he passed away from among us, and sought his eternal reward in that beiter land where the ills and the obstructions of mortality are forever unknown; where the emancipated spirit, freed from the clogs which here fetter its high action and retard its noblest development, expands its illimitable energies in the congenial atmosphere of infinite knowledge and infinite love. It is not for me, on the present occasion, to pronounce his eulogy, although I knew and loved him well. That has already been done by an abler hand, and it only remains to say that the impress which his masterly and welltrained mind left upon the Institution, the child of his most sanguine hopes and earnest efforts, and upon the interests of education generally throughout the state, of which he was the indefatigable promoter, has been of the most marked character, and will long consecrate his name and memory.
Since this period the progress of the Institution, under the auspices of its present enlightened Principal, and his devoted corps of assistants, has been uniformly onward and upward. At the close of the seventh term fifty pupils were graduated, and the eighth term opened with two hundred and eight, of whom forty-six received their diploma at its close. The ninth term opened on the first day of November last with one hundred and seventy-five pupils, and at its close forty-three were graduated; and the tenth term, which has now just closed, opened with upward of two hundred pupils, of whom thirty-six are now about to graduate.
The following account of the State Normal School is copied from the Annual Circular of the Executive Committee, for 1850:
“Each county in the state is entitled to send to the school a number of pupils, (either male or female,) equal to twice the number of members of the Assembly in such county. The pupils are appointed by the county and town superintendents at a meeting called by the county superintendent for that purpose. This meeting should be held and the appointment made at least two weeks before the commencement of each term. or as soon as information is received as to the number of vacancies. A list of the vacancies for each term will be published in the District School Journal, as early as the number of such vacancies can be ascertained, usually before the close of the former term.
Pupils once admitted to the school will have the right to remain until they graduate; unless they forfeit that right by voluntarily vacating their place, or by improper conduct.
Persons failing to receive appointments from their respective counties, should, after obtaining testimonials of a good moral character, present themselves the first day of the term, for examination by the Faculty. If such examination is satisfactory, they will receive an appointment from the Executive Committee, without regard to the particular county, provided any vacancies exist. In such case the pupil will receive mileage.
By an act of the Legislature, passed April 11, 1849, "every teacher shall be deemed a qualified teacher, who shall have in possession a Diploma from the State Normal School.”
QUALIFICATION OF APPLICANTS. Females sent to the school must be sixteen years of age, and males eighteen.
The superintendents, in making their appointments, are urged to pay no regard to the political opinions of applicants. The selections should be made with reference to the moral worth and abilities of the candidates. Decided preference ought to be given to those, who, in the judgment of the superintendents, give the highest promise of becoming the most efficient teachers of common schools. li is also desirable that those only should be appointed who have already a good knowledge of the commora branches of study, and who intend to remain in the school until they groituate.
ENTRANCE. All the pupils, on entering the school, are required to sign the following declaration:
We the subscribers hereby DECLARE, that it is our intention to derote ourselves to the business of teaching district schools, and that our sole object in resorting to this Normal School is the better to prepare ourselves for that important duty.'
As this should be signed in good faith on the part of the pupils, they should be made acquainted with its import before they are appointed. It is expected of the superintendents, that they shall select such as will sacredly fulfill their engagements in this particular.
Pupils on entering the school are subjected to a thorough examination, and are classified according to their previous attainments. The time required to accomplish the course will depend upon the attainments and talents of the pupil, varying from one to four terms. Very few, however, can expect to graduate in one term.
PriviLEGES OF THE Pupils. All pupils receive their tuition free. They are also furnished with the use of text-books without charge; though if they already own the books of the course, they would do well to bring them, together with such other books for reference as they may possess. Moreover, they draw a small sum from the fund for the support of the school, to defray in part their expenses.
It is proposed to apportion the sum of $1,700 among the 256 pupils, who may compose the school during the next term. 1. Each pupil shali receive three cents a mile on the distance from his county town to the city of Albany. 2. The remainder of the $1,700 shall then be divided equally among the students in attendance.
The following list will show how much a student of each county will receive, during the ensuing term:
Albany, $2.41; Allegany, $10.09; Broome, $6.76; Cattaraugus, $11.17; Cayuga, $7.09; Chautauque, $12.49; Chemung, $8.35; Chenango, $5.41; Clinton, $7.27; Columbia. $3.28; Cortland, $6.67; Delaware, $4.72; Dutchess, $4.66; Erie, $10.93; Essex, $6.19; Franklin, $8.77; Fulton, $3.76; Genesee, $9.73; Greene, $3.43; Hamilton, $4.87, Herkimer, $4.61; Jefferson, $7.21; Kings, $6.97; Lewis, $6.28; Livingston, $9.19; Madison, $5.44 ; Monroe, $8.98; Montgomery. $3.61; NewYork, $6.85; Niagara, $10.72; Oneida, $5.29; Onondaga, $6.40; Ontario, $8.26; Orange, $5.44; Orleans, $10.12; Oswego, $7.21; Otsego, $4.39; Putnam, $5.39; Queens, $7.63; Rensselaer, $2.59; Richmond, $7.32; Rockland, $6.07; Saratoga, $4.78; Schenectady, $2.86; Schoharie, $3.07; Seneca, $7.54; St. Lawrence, $8.59; Steuben, $8.89; Suffolk, $9.16; Sullivan, $5:80; Tioga, $7.42; Tompkins, $7.31; Ulster, $4.15 Warren, $4.27; Washington, $3.85; Wayne, $7.84; Westchester, $6.46, Wyoming, $9.85; Yates, $7.96.
It is proper to state, that if the number of pupils is less than 256, the sum to be received will be proportionately increased. The above schedule shows, therefore, the minimum sum to be received by each pupil. His apportionment cannot be less than as above stated, and it may be
This money will be paid at the close of the term.
APPARATUS. A well assorted apparatus has been procured, sufficiently extensive to illustrate all the important principles in Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and Human Physiology. Extraordinary facilities for the study of Physiology are afforded by the Museum of the Medical College, which is open at all hours for visiters.
LIBRARY. Besides an abundant supply of text-books upon all the branches of the course of study, a well selected miscellaneous library has been procured, to which all the pupils may have access free of charge. In the selection of this library, particular care has been exercised to procure most of the recent works upon Education, as well as several valuable standard works upon the Natural Sciences, History, Mathematics, &c. The State library is also freely accessible to all.
TERMS AND VACATIONS. The year is divided into two terms, so as to bring the vacations into April and October, the months for holding the Teachers' Institutes. This also enables the pupils to take advantage of the cheapness of traveling by the various means of water communication in the State, in going to and from the school.
The SUMMER TERM commences on the first Monday in May, and continues TWENTY WEEKS, with an intermission of one week from the first of July.
The Winter Term commences on the first Monday in NOVEMBER, and continues TWENTY-TWO WEEKS, with an intermission from Christmas to New Year's day inclusive.
PROMPT ATTENDANCE. As the school will open on Monday, it would be for the advantage of the pupils, if they should reach Alb:iny by the Thursday or Friday preceding the day of opening. The Faculty can then aid them im securing suitable places for boarding.
As the examinations of the pupils preparatory for classification will commence on the first day of the term, it is exceedingly important that all the pupils should report themselves on the first morning. Those who arrive a day after the time, will subject not only the teachers to much trouble, but themselves also to the rigors of a private examination. After the first week, no student, except for the strongest reasons, shall be allowed to enter the school.
Price of Board. The price of board in respectable families, varies from $1.50 to $2.00, exclusive of washing. Young gentlemen by taking a room and boarding themselves, have sustained themselves at a lower rate. This can better be done in the summer term.
The ladies and gentlemen are not allowed to board in the same famIlies. Particular care is taken to be assured of the respectability of the families who propose to take boarders, before they are recommended to the pupils.
EXPERIMENTAL School. Two spacious rooms in the building are appropriated to the accommodation of the two departments of this school. These two departments are under the immediate supervision of the Permanent Teacher, who is a graduate of the Normal School.
The object of this school is to afford each Normal Pupil an opportunity of practising the methods of instruction and discipline inculcated at the Normal School, as well as to ascertain his 'aptness to teach,' and to discharge the various other duties pertaining to the teacher's responsible office. Each member of the graduating class is required to spend at least two weeks in this department
In the experimental School there are ninety-three pupils between the ages of six and sixteen years. Fifty-eight of these are free pupils. The free seats will be hereafter given exclusively to fatherless children, residing in the city of Albany. This is in consideration of an appropriation by the city to defray in part the expense of fitting up one of the rooms of the school. The remaining THIRTY-FIVE pupils are charged $20 per year for tuition and use of books. This charge is made merelv to defray the expense of sustaining the school.”