FOREST SCHOOL GIVEN PRAISE
A very excellent write-up of the Forest consolidated school district is contained in the state bulletin just issued by State Department of Education. It is of general interest and is as follows:
Object of Consolidation
Five districts have been given special mention in which the chief object of consolidation was to concentrate the pupils at a central point where the good graded school might be maintained for the purpose of securing all possible advantages. We will now discuss several districts where the idea prevails of consolidation for the purpose of supervision only. As has been previously stated in this bulletin, this is a new idea and is advocated so far as we know in the State of Washington only. It cannot be questioned that the best ends of consolidation are subserved through the concentrated school. Where this is impracticable great good can be accomplished through expert supervision when the pupils remain in their several rural school buildings.
In the summer of 1910 the superintendent of eLwis[sic] county formed several consolidated school districts, and among them one known as the Forest district No. 205. This district is composed of districts 6, 16, 30, 48, 99, and 106.
The Forest district is located in the Newaukum valley, Lewis county, the central part of it being ten miles southeast of the city of Chehalis. This valley is an excellent farming region, offering large returns to the tiller of the soil, and is skirted on all sides by beautiful evergreen forests. Its residents have the freedom of rural life, and their children have an opportunity to commune with the beauties of nature at all times. Here is a rare opportunity to raise children who will be honest, strong and courageous citizens. They should be given as good opportunities for an education and should be as well prepared for the race of life as the boy or girl who lives in the city.
We do not wish to persuade any one to change his plans when he is doing well. After having made a trip through this school district, we wish, however, to remark that an excellent concentrated school could be formed in the Forest school district. Five of the schools in this district could be brought to one point without any exceptional effort. One school is eight miles from Forest, so it could not be brought to the central point.
The building known as the Forest school is a central point. This school employs two teachers and has an enrollment of 70 pupils. The other four schools could be brought to this one over four different roads and I believe four wagons would haul the pupils. Three of the outlaying buildings have one teacher each, and one of them has two teachers. If this plan were adopted there would be about 200 pupils at the point of concentration, which is a sufficient number for an excellent graded school having fife[sic] or six teachers. It is not necessary to enumerate here the many benefits that pupils would have in such a school. They are well known by every one who gives school work any serious attention.
The Efficiency of the Schools Increased
Although school is being maintained in the several districts as they were prior to the consolidation, much has been done to increase the efficiency of these schools. Before they were consolidated each one was absolutely indepdendent of eveyr other school district in the county, and the only assistance by way of supervision and advise which was possible for these teachers to obtain was through the few visits that could be given them by the county superintendent.
Before school opened last September a gentleman was employed to give his whole time to the supervision of the six schools in the district, employing eight teachers. This gentleman has had good preparation and long experience in public schools. He keeps a horse and buggy to carry him from school to school, and it is not a difficult matter to see the benefits which have resulted from this work.
During the year prior to the consolidation only two of the original six districts maintained school nine months, while one of them had only seven months. Every child in the entire consolidated district is now given the advantage of a nine months' term of school. Several buildings have been repaired, additional apparatus has been bought, and in several rooms the latest models of the Smith heaters and ventillators have been installed. Free textbooks are furnished to and other had work of the pupils which would be considered a credit to a system of graded schools. It was everywhere manifest that there was a bond of sympathy between the superintendent and the teachers. He was consulted in every school about something. Supervisors in this district is for efficiency, and beyond a doubt it is bringing large returns for the investment.
Source: The Centralia Weekly Chronicle, Wednesday, 6 Sep 1911, p. 4.
Transcribed by Jenny Tenlen.