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few auditoriums and practically none of the modern educational facilities, such as shops, laboratories, cooking rooms, drawing rooms, and gymnasiums, which are essential parts of modern elementary schools and which should be provided for in any farsighted building program.
There are two methods of meeting the school congestion problem in Memphis. One is the traditional method of reserving a seat for every child and leaving the classrooms unused when the children are using other facilities.
Under the traditional plan of school organization it would cost $3,509,000 to relieve present congestion in the 13 most crowded schools and provide for growth in these schools.
This expenditure, however, would provide only classroom accommodations and practically none of the modern educational facilities, such as shops, laboratories, drawing and music studios, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and auditoriums.
Moreover, since only $500,000 is immediately available, it would be impossible under the present plan of school organization to do more than relieve congestion in two schools, Bruce and A. B. Hill, during the coming two years. That would leave 11 schools without relief. Furthermore, the annexes for the two schools could not be erected in less than a year or two, so that for the present there would be no relief at all.
A SECOND METHOD OF MEETING THE SCHOOL CONGESTION PROBLEM.
A second possible method of solving the school-building problem of Memphis is what is commonly known as the work-study-play plan now in operation in some 30 or 40 cities in this country. The chief advantages of this plan for Memphis are (1) that it offers suggestions for meeting the congestion problem within the financial ability of the city, and (2) it also makes provision for such educational facilities as auditoriums, gymnasiums, shops, laboratories, drawing and music studios, nature study rooms, and swimming pools, which are now considered a necessary part of a modern school system, and in which Memphis is so lacking.
This plan developed in an attempt to solve the peculiar school problems created by the modern city. It grew out of a recognition of the fact that the rapid growth of cities makes the educational problem far more difficult than formerly; in fact, has created a new school problem.
The plan represents a change in the traditional method in that it breaks up the custom of having all children in classrooms at the
same time, and letting the classrooms lie idle when the children go to the auditorium, shops, and playground. In other words, it applies to the public school the principle on which all other public service institutions are run—that is, the multiple use of all facilities all the time.
Briefly, the plan is this: A school is divided into two parts, each having the same number of classes, and each containing all the eight or nine grades. The first part, which we will call the “A School," comes to school in the morning, say, at 8.30, and goes to classrooms for academic work. While this school is in the classrooms, it obviously can not use any of the special facilities; therefore the other school—B School-goes to the special activities, one-third to the · auditorium, one-third to the playground, and one-third is divided among such activities as the shops, laboratories, drawing and music studios. At the end of one or two periods, that is, when the first. group of children has remained, according to the judgment of the school authorities, in school seats as long as is good for them at one time, the A School goes to the playground, auditorium, and other special facilities, while the B School goes to the classrooms.
EXAMPLE FROM A MEMPHIS SCHOOL.
This work-study-play method can best be explained, however, by applying it to one of Memphis's own schools, the A. B. Hill. This school had an original seating capacity of 540 pupils. It now has 993 children, or 11 classes in excess of seating capacity. There are 12 classrooms and one auditorium at present in the school. There are no other special facilities. The surplus classes are accommodated in two basement rooms and a portable building, all of which are really unfit to be used as classrooms. Needless to say, there are far more than 45 pupils to a class. To relieve only present congestion under the traditional plan, it would be necessary to put up 11 additional classrooms, which, at a cost of $16,000 per classroom, would amount to $176,000, and would accommodate only the present enrollment. It would also be necessary to buy land for playground purposes, as the site is too small.
Under the work-study-play plan this school would be made into a 24-class school. These 24 classes would be divided into two schools of 12 classes each. There are at present 12 classrooms in the school. These would continue to be used as classrooms. An annex would be put up containing two gymnasiums (3 units) on the ground floor,
one for boys and one for girls; a shop (1 unit), a cooking room (1 unit), a science laboratory (1 unit), a drawing studio (1 unit), and a music studio (1 unit), making 8 units, which, at a cost of $16,000 per unit, would come to $128,000. In other words, the cost would be $48,000 less than on the traditional plan; there would be provision for growth for at least one more class; and, in addition, there would he four types of special activities none of which the school has at present, and which under the traditional plan would have to be provided by erecting additional classrooms.
In other words, if the principle of multiple use is applied to public school facilities, it is possible to provide not only adequate classroom accommodations but also auditoriums, gymnasiums, and shops for the mass of children. In fact, accommodations may be provided in all facilities, if they are in use constantly by alternating groups, at less cost than regular classrooms alone may be provided on the basis of a reserved seat for every child. For example, in a 48 class school under the traditional plan 48 classrooms are needed in addition to all the other special facilities. Under the work-studyplay plan only 24 classrooms are needed. The classroom, however, is the most expensive unit in the school, therefore, since only half the usual number of classrooms is needed, i. e., 24 classrooms in a 48-class school, the cost of the remainder is released for all the other special facilities.
But the important point about this reorganization is that all the children would have not only the same amount of time for reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history as formerly—210 minutes—but also 50 minutes of play every day, 50 minutes a day of auditorium, and 50 minutes a day of shopwork every day in the week for a third of the year; science every day for a third of the year, and drawing or music every day for a third of the year. At present the children get a 10-minute recess period for play, a few ininutes for opening exercises in the auditorium, and little or no time for these special activities. Of course, each community would decide what special activities it wanted the children to have.
The following table gives a possible program for the “A School." It will be recalled that there are 12 classes in this A school, which are divided into three divisions of four classes each: Division 1, upper grades; Division 2, intermediate grades; Division 3, primary grades.
8.30- 9.20 Arithmetic-Tivisions 1, 2, 3.. 9.20-10.10 Language--Divisions 1, 2, 3. 10.10-11.00
Division 3.. 11.00-12.00
Entire "A School" at luncheon. 12.00 1.00 Reading-Divisions 1,2,3. 1.00- 1.50 | History and geography—Divi
sions 1, 2, 3. 1.50- 2.40
Division 2.. 2.40– 3.30
Another advantage of a program based upon the multiple use of facilities is that it not only makes possible modern educational advantages for children, but it also makes it possible to have a flexible program. A study of the different types of these schools in different parts of the country shows that it is possible for a community to adapt the program to its particular needs. For example, it is possible to arrange to have the school begin at 8.30, 8.45, or 9 a. m., or any other hour desired. Or, if the school begins at 8.30 and certain parents object to having their children leave for school so early, it is possible to put these children in the "B School," which begins the day with special activities; in this case the children can omit the play period from 8.30 to 9.20 and arrive at school at 9.20. Or again, many parents prefer to have their children take special music lessons after school. It often happens that home work or staying after school interferes with these lessons. Under the work-study-play plan, it is possible to put such children in the “A School ” and let them omit the play period or the auditorium in the afternoon from 2.40 to 3.30 p. m. There is, of course, no reason why children should not be given credit for these out-of-school activities if so desired. Again, a child who is backward in a special subject, such as arithmetic, and is being held back in a grade because he can not master that subject, can double up in arithmetic for a number of weeks by omitting the auditorium period until he has made up the work and is ready to go on with his grade. As for the special activities, each community and each section of the city can have the special facilities which the school authorities and parents desire. Possibly one of the most desirable features of the program is that the children are given an opportunity for experience in various lines of work and study from the third or fourth grade through the eighth or ninth, so that they have some idea by the time they reach the upper grades what particular type of activity they are most interested in.
PROVIDES FOR THREE OR MOBE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS.
Finally, one of the advantages of the work-study-play plan is that it makes possible the junior high schools, which the people of Memphis so much desire. At present there is no question but that the city school system is failing to hold the children of the seventh and eighth grades. These children are drifting out of school at the very time in their lives when they most need its guidance. With the enriched school life which the junior high school would give these children, it would be possible to hold a far larger number than is now the case. But under the cost of the traditional plan there seems little prospect of the city having more than one junior high school within the next four or five years, and even then it could be put up only by leaving some elementary school in the midst of the present deplorable congestion. Under this plan, however, there is no reason why the city should not have three or four junior high schools by putting up new buildings which would accommodate nine grades. The upper three grades could then be grouped as a junior high school, and the pupils in these grades, as well as those in the lower grades, would have in these larger schools much richer facilities than if the two divisions were housed in separate buildings. Indeed, it is possible to have all 12 grades in the school,
. if the community desires it.
A BUILDING PROGRAM FOR MEMPHIS BASED ON THE WORK
The board of education has asked the survey staff to suggest a building program based on the fact that $500,000 is immediately available, with a possible $2,000,000 two years hence. We have suggested how far this would go under the traditional school plan.