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To Nir. Walter J. Tucker, Superintendent:
I herewith submit to you the report of my department for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 1922 and ending June 30, 1924.
During these two years our enrollment has increased, which necessitated an increase in our corps of teachers. We are glad to note that the majority of new children admitted were young, about five years old, which is the age we would like to have all the children enter school. We feel that when parents fully understand how much better it is for a deaf child to enter school at an early age much of our trouble in that respect will be eliminated. Our neighbor, Rhode Island, takes children as young as three years old so in setting the admittance age at five, we are not taking children nearly so young as they are elsewhere.
We had a tragic experience last year. We received an application of admission for a girl nineteen years old who had never attended school before although she had lived in Connecticut all her life. Her mother had been an invalid and the child had of course been a great help to her. A relative however realizing what the girl was missing insisted that she be sent to school even so late. She is learning, though not
, as rapidly as she would if she were younger. We have not been able to do much with her speech because her vocal organs are so stiff from so many years of disusea thing which could have been avoided if she had been sent to school earlier. She had led such a life of seclusion that she did not even know how to play games with the children at their parties. She even had to be taught to play. This is an extreme case but we shall continue to have them until we can make parents realize their obligations in regard to deaf children and until we have in this state a compulsory education law with specific reference to deaf children.
Changes in the enrollment were made in the past two years, some of the older pupils leaving school and new ones taking their places. The average daily attendance of the children was, in proportion to the enrollment, very good, which indicated that we had not had much sickness, for where the children live in, sickness is the only the importance of having their children return from vacations on time. It is hard for some parents to understand how much it means to a child to start in with the other members of his class. Even the work lost during a few days' absence has to be made up, and that is a hardship to both teacher and pupil.
We do everything we can to create a home life atmosphere in our school. That is one reason why we prefer that our teachers live in for they do have an influence for good on the children. The teachers eat at the same tables with the children and see that the children get a sufficient quantity of food and that their table manners are as they should be. The school children are with us for nine months of the year and during that time we feel that we should supply such training as the children should have at home. A number of our children are foreigners and surely one of the ways we can teach Americanization indirectly to their parents is to train the children in American ways—we have the opportunity to do that while the children are under our care.
We have organized another class and at present are using all our available schoolroom space.
Our congestion will be relieved when we move into our new building. We intend to use the school rooms there for the primary classes and those in the present school building for the higher grades. We intend to use one of the new schoolrooms as a special class room for the rhythm classes. We have requested in our appropriation for equipment for the new building money for a special piano for rhythm work, which is made especially for use with children. We consider rhythm work as essential to promoting smoother, more properly phrased and more spontaneous speech. Each younger class spends a definite period each day at the piano. Not only is speech work given at the piano but rhythmic games are also taught. This in the deaf school corresponds to singing games as taught in the hearing schools. This work besides having an educational value is enjoyed very much by the children. For use in rhythm work we purchased a small drum and a large bass one. The children do some marching accompanied by the drums. This exercise helps the deaf child in his walk and carriage. So many deaf children naturally shuffle their feet when walking and marching exercises do away with that tendency.
At these meetings the superintendent called attention to various matters pertaining to school routine and problems of the schoolroom were discussed. Papers on different phases of teaching the deaf were read followed by a general discussion. These meetings have proved very beneficial to the teachers and have given an opportunity for the exchange of ideas so necessary to the growth and expansion of one's work.
Every year we have more applicants for our normal training class than we can possibly take. We train two normal students each year. In 1922 Miss Dorothy Maxson and Miss Julia Logee were in training. Miss Logee after one year of her course resigned to be married. In 1923 Miss Kathryn Maxson and Miss Mae Sokarl took training and are still with us. For the normal training class we take college or high school graduates who show special fitness for teaching the deaf. The course, which is of two years duration consists of lectures in language work with the deaf, lessons in visible speech and the formation and development of elementary English sounds. Supplementary reading is required in the following subjects: history of education in general, history of the education of the deaf, psychology, school room control and class room management, the anatomy of the organs of sense with special attention to the ear and throat. Abstracts are written of the articles read. Observation and practice teaching in the various school rooms under the supervision of the teacher in charge is an important part of the course. At the completion of two years of satisfactory work a diploma is awarded.
There is always a demand for the graduates of our normal department and our school is represented on the teaching staffs of many schools for the deaf throughout the country.
During the summer of 1922 the twenty-third convention of the American Teachers of the Deaf was held at Belleville, Ontario, Canada. This school was represented by the Superintendent and Principal. These meetings are held every three years and superintendents and teachers are urged to attend. The demonstration of classroom work, lectures, the discussion of mutual problems, the exchange of ideas and meeting of other people who are in the same work make these conferences very profitable.