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MINNESOTA STATE NORMAL SCHOOL,
The Legislature of Minnesota, in 1858, passed an act directing the Governor to appoint a Normal Board of Instruction, consisting of a Director in each of the six Judicial Districts of the State, to whom was intrusted, under certain restrictions, the establishment of three State Normal Schools. The statute provides that, “There shall be established within five years after the passage of this act, an institution to educate and prepare teachers for teaching in the Common Schools of the State, to be called a State Normal School, and also within ten years, a second Normal School, and within fifteen years, a third, provided that there shall be no obligation to establish either of the three schools, until the sum of tive thousand dollars is donated to the State in money and lands, or in money alone, for the erection of necessary buildings and for the support of the professors or teachers in such institutions; but when such sum is donated for such purpose, a like sum of five thousand dollars is appropriated by the State, for the use and benefit of such institutions."
The Normal Board at its first meeting in the capital, August 16th, 1859, formed the six Judicial Districts of the State into three Normal Districts.
The citizens of Winona, having offered a subscription of seven thousand dollars on condition that one of the schools should be located there, the offer was accepted by the Board and the first State Normal School of Minnesota was established at Winona.
This school was organized in September 1860, and continued in operation until the Spring of 1862, when it was suspended owing to the embarrassments growing out of the war and no appropriations for its support were made for the two years ending with 1863.
At the session of the Legislature for 1864, a permanent annual appropriation was made for its support as follows: $3000 for the year 1864, $4000 for 1865, and $5000 annually thereafter. The school was reorganized and reopened 'n liz the direction of the present Principal on the first of November 1864, since which time it has steadily increased in prosperity and influence. It is now exerting a powerful influence upon the cause of public education throughout the State. In the year 1866, an appropriation of $10,000 was made toward the erection of a suitable building. In the winter of 1867, a second appropriation of $50,000 was made for the building. In addition to this sum, the city of Winona has already appropriated and pledged $25,000 for the same object. One of the finest Normal School edifices in this country is now (1867,) in progress
for the use of the school. Its extreme dimensions are about 85 by 166 feet, and it is four stories high including a high basement. The building includes all the apartments and accommodations necessary for a first class training school for teachers, and it is expected to be completed in the year 1869.
John Ogden was the first principal. He remained in charge of the school until its suspension in 1862. On its reorganization in 1864, Prof. W. F. Phelps, for many years at the head of the Normal School of New Jersey, was appointed principal.
CONDITIONS OF ADMISSION.
1. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age, and must present to the principal satisfactory evidence of good moral character, of sound bodily health and of special adaptation to the office of teacher.
2. They are expected to sustain a fair examination in Reading, Spelling, Writing, Geography, Arithmetic and the elements of English Grammar.
3. They must be willing, if admitted, to declare in writing, their intention to teach in the Common Schools of this State, for at least two years, and sign an agreement to report themselves to the principal semi-annually, by letter, for the aforesaid period of two years, after having left the Institution.
4. At least three pupils will be received from each senatorial district, as now existing under the laws of the State. The number will be limited only by the capacity of the school to accommodate students. In case there should be vacancies in any of the districts, they may be filled by applicants from other districts, provided such applicants present themselves within ten days from and after the opening of a term.
5. Candidates are required to be present promptly at the opening of the term. They will not be receired for less than one term, and once admitted, they will be entitled to the privileges of the school, until honorably discharged, or until their rights shall have been forfeited by unauthorized absence or other misconduct.
The examinations for admission are conducted by the principal and his assistants.
COURSE OF STUDY.
The studies indicated are arranged as far as possible according to their natural affinities, and not according to the order in which they will be prosecuted by the student.
English Language —Elementary sounds of the language; pronunciation; spelling; analysis and definition of words; reading and elocution; grammar, including the analysis, synthesis and classification of sentences; composition; rhetoric and criticism; English literature; the best method of teaching the above.
Mathematics.-Number, its properties and laws; intellectual and written arithmetic ; form, the facts of geometry; theoretical and practical geometry; elements of algebra; book keeping; surveying and civil engineering; best methods of teaching the above.
Physical and Natural Sciences.—Natural philosophy; physical and political geography; chemistry; botany; natural history; human philosophy; geology; elements of agriculture; astronomy; methods of teaching the above
Graphics. —Principles and practice of penmanship; isometric and perspective drawing; object drawing; industrial drawing; topographical drawing; drawing applied to illustrative teaching ; best methods of teaching drawing.
Political Economy.—Science of Government; Constitution of the United States and of Minnesota ; lectures on the resources of the United States and Minnesota ; history of the United States.
Theory and practice of teaching.— Intellectual and moral philosophy; lectures on the principles of education; history of education ; didactic exercises or sub-lectures; observation in model school; preparation of sketches; criticism, lessons in teaching; teaching in practice school; school laws of Minnesota.
The course will require three years. It is at present only partially carried out owing to the urgent demand for qualified teachers for the district school. The average duration of the course as now pursued is two years.
The school is divided into four classes designated A, B, C, and D, and to each class are assigned four exercises per day besides the lesson in vocal music and the “criticism teaching exercise." Each class has one study hour during the daily session, and every student is required systematically to arrange his hours out of school and make weekly reports to the principal.
The most careful and constant attention is given to the development of clear ideas, methodical habits of thought and exact expression, and to the cultivation of those traits of character essential to success in teaching. The special object of the school is ever kept prominently before its pupils.
The plan of the institution comprises both a graded model and a graded practice school of not less than four departments each. This plan cannot be fully carried out until the new buildings are complete. There is at present a model school of three grades, primary, intermediate and grammar, each under a permanent teacher. Each of these departments accommodates 40 pupils who pay a quarterly tuition fee of $7.50, seven dollars and fifty cents. From these tuition fees the model school is supported, being no charge whatever upon the State.
Into these model schools the pupil-teachers of the Normal School are sent carefully to observe and take note of the discipline and methods of instruction, and are afterwards critically examined upon the subject. Classes from the Model Schools are also daily brought before the Normal School to receive criticism lessons at the hands of the pupil-teachers of the latter.
These Model Schools are entirely under the control of the Normal School and are an integral part of it. They are entirely independent of the local school system. The precise amount of observation and practice to be obtained by the pupil-teachers is not yet fully determined, but they are part of the daily work throughout the entire course.
The number of pupils in the Normal School is at present limited by the narrow accommodations afforded the institution. The total number instructed last year was 80. Of these 13 were males and 67 females. In the Model Schools there were during the year 164. Two classes were graduated last year, numbering 16 and 14 persons respectively.
No special arrangements have yet been provided for boarding the pupils. They are now accommodated in private families where they enjoy all the comforts and influences of the family relation, at a cost of from $3.50 to $4.50 per week. Special arrangements however are under consideration by which the expenses of the student will be much reduced.
EXAMINATIONS. Monthly written examinations of the classes are held, to determine the progress and standing of each student. These examinations are a review of the subjects passed over during the month.
The final examinations are held during the week preceding the last week of a semi-annual session, and they determine the status of the student in respect either to graduation or to his classification during the succeeding term.
The public examinations are held during the last week of each semiannual session, and their sole object is to keep alive public interest in respect to the claims of true education. The public are cordially invited to attend these examinations, as well as to visit the school at all times.
PRIVILEGES OF STUDENTS.
Students completing in a satisfactory manner the prescribed course of study and training, receive a diploma entitling them to teach for a period of five years in this State, without examination by the local school officers.
There is no charge for tuition.
All necessary books and stationery are supplied to the student on pay. ment by him of five dollars for each semi-annual session.
Such miscellaneous and reference books as belong to the library of the institution are loaned to the student under proper restrictions.
The Normal School is well supplied with maps and geological charts.
Considerable progress has also been made in the collection of minerals and fossils illustrating the geology and paleontology of Minnesota.
Sufficient chemical apparatus also for the illustration of the course in that department has been secured. To all these important aids, the students have free access.
All candidates for graduation are required to prepare and defend a Thesis upon some subject assigned by the Principal, which has an immediate relation to the studies and exercises of the course.
It must be fully elaborated in accordance with instructions given for the purpose, and, when the subject admits of it, must be accompanied by the necessary illustrative or working models and designs, suitable to its clear and forcible elucidation.
The Theses, with the accompanying drawings, models, etc., are deposited for permanent preservation among the archives of the school.
The results of the final examinations, together with those of the record of daily attendance, are published in the annual reports to the Legislature, for the purpose of exhibiting to the people the standing of each student in respect to deportment, scholarship, and professional capacity.
No student who fails to pass the prescribed examination at the close of a semi-annual session is allowed to advance with his class, but is required to review the studies in which he is deficient, in case he remains in the school.