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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Mann, John P.
"Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic",   pp. 186-207 PDF (9.3 MB)

Page 189

    Outagarmie County Rural Normal School, Kaukauna
administrators and teachers. More and
more, conditions came to be influenced by
state legislation, state financing and state
supervisicn. Through the years, parents
attended annual school meetings, various
community gatherings in the school build-
ings, programs, picnics and other activ-
ities sponsored by schools.
  The first compulsory attendance law
went into effect in 1879. By 1883, "most
of the back-breaking benches were gone,'
and were replaced by non-adjustable dou-
ble desks. By 1888 nearly all schools had
blackboards, maps, globes and unabridged
dictionaries. Township library laws were
improved. After 1901 all schools had book
collections selected from a list of approved
books issued by the state superintendent;
in 1908 almost 1,500 volumes were added
in one year.
  The last log schoolhouse had dis-
appeared about 1905. In 1905-1906 the
county school board convention was in-
augurated and has met annually since.
The first county commencement was held
in 1909. After some years the custom was
discontinued and graduation exercises were
held in the home schools.
  From the beginning, except for short
periods of depression, rural elementary
schools have been handicapped by teacher
shortages. Years ago some of the teachers
I 'R EA D IN',
were "unqualified.'' Later some had "lim-
ited certificates.'' Even today many have
  special permits'' from the state superin-
  In response to the need for teachers
county rural normals were established in
many counties. Outagamie County estab-
lished its Normal in 1912, with Leo G.
Schussman as first principal, and graduated
its first class in 1913, with one year of
training beyond attainment of a high
school diploma-a considerable improve-
ment over earlier requirements. Eight
girls were given their diplomas, inscribed
with the class motto "Honor Waits at
Labor's Gate." They were Edna L. Bartsch,
M/tartha G. Berens, Martha A. Buelow,
Winifred M. Cripps, Ruth      T. Ryan,
Winifred M. Ryan, Mary R. Caine and
Helen O'Hanlon. Since its establishment,
the Normal has supplied a large number
of county teachers. Requirements have
been increased to two years of professional
training beyond high school. The present
Normal building was erected in 1917-1918.
Since 1919 Walter P. Hagman has been
principal. He succeeded John E. Hale.
  Teacher certificating power has been
given now to the state superintendent.
Present regulations envision a day when
every teacher will have four years of
education and professional training above
high school but the war years have so
intensified the teacher shortage that
schools must wait longer before there are
many such well qualified teachers.
  Although school buildings, equipment
and various specialized services have never
kept pace with the ideals of parents and
administrators, there have been great
changes in Wisconsin's first hundred years.
A few fine buildings have been erected,
with good lighting, running water, stoker
or oil heating system, indoor playrooms
for use in inclement weather, modern
seating, good libraries, free textbooks and
playground equipment. County schools
now make use of city and state library
services. In most schools the radio brings
the services of university specialists in

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