In the school report for 1916 below, there is mention of
    the high-tech device of the time; the Victrola. The
    Victrolas used in the schools were likely similar to the
    one in the picture, though perhaps not as fancy.

    Hopedale History
    September 1, 2016
    No. 307
    School Report, 1916   

    Hopedale in August   

    During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following previously existing pages on Miscoe Hill, Mendon (The mystery of 13 missing families.)     Draper and Dutcher Temples
    (From Mechanical and Organizational Innovation: The Drapers and the Automatic Loom by William Maas.)     


    Twenty-five years ago - September 1991 - The United States re-recognizes the independence of Estonia,
    Latvia, and Lithuania and the US government reopens the embassies there.

    The name Saint Petersburg is restored to Russia's second-largest city, which had been renamed Leningrad
    in 1924.

    Macedonia, Tajikistan, and Armenia declare independence from the Soviet Union.

    President Bush announces unilateral reductions in short-range nuclear weapons and calls off 24-hour alerts
    for long-range bombers. The Soviet Union responds with similar reductions on October 5.

    Fifty years ago - September 1966 - While waiting at a bus stop Ralph Baer, an inventor with Sanders
    Associates, writes a four-page document that lays out the basic principles for creating a video game to be
    played on a television: the beginning of a multibillion-dollar industry.

    Star Trek debuts on NBC-TV in the United States with its first episode, titled "The Man Trap".

    The Bechuanaland Protectorate in Africa achieves independence from the United Kingdom as Botswana.

    The news above is from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see below this
    text box. The clippings for 1966 and 1991 are from the Bancroft Library, and were printed in the Milford
    Daily News. The clippings from 100 years ago, also from the Bancroft Library, were published in the
    Milford Gazette

                            Hopedale School Superintendent's Report, 1916

    Since this is back-to-school season, I thought it would be a good time to look at a bit of what school was like
    in Hopedale a century ago. Here are excerpts from Superintendent F.G. Atwell's report.

    The use of these instruments (Victrolas) in the public schools, both as a means of instruction and
    entertainment, is becoming very common. Thousands of schools have been equipped with them during the
    past few years, and their use is rapidly extending. We now have three Victrolas of a standard school type and
    a good stock of records with which to make a beginning. Much praise is due the supervisor of music for the
    time and care she has given to the selection of records. She has chosen each record with a definite purpose
    in view. It may have been to illustrate some particular principle in music or to familiarize the pupils with the
    various types of voice or instrument, either singly or in combination. Other records have been chosen as a
    means of teaching musical appreciation. Story-telling, folk-dances, and bird-music have not been forgotten.
    With a piano in each building, our musical equipment is quite complete and satisfactory. It is the intention to
    use modern language records at the high school. Accuracy of pronunciation and accent may be illustrated as
    in no other way except the employment of native French or German teachers. (When I was in Park Street
    School in the early 1950s, there were still Victrolas in the classrooms. Probably the same ones that had been
    first used in the teens. Although electric record players were certainly in use by then, there was no need to
    throw out perfectly good Victrolas. The main use for them that I can remember is that each day some lucky
    kid would get to crank it, while the rest of us got our exercise by marching around to perimeter of the room to
    a John Philip Sousa march.)

    It is a little singular that neither the methods nor aims in these fundamental subjects (arithmetic and
    spelling) are fixed or uniform. Some very progressive towns are now adopting the plan of teaching arithmetic
    so as to secure mechanical accuracy in computation and a working knowledge of processes without giving
    very much attention to the analysis of problems or the comprehension of principles. This may be entirely
    correct, but we are still trying to cultivate the power to image and to analyze as well as to develop mechanical
    facility in computation.

    In spelling we are trying to conform to the newer practice of teaching only those words which are found in the
    written vocabulary of the average adult. Several recent investigations show pretty conclusively what these
    words are. We are insisting that spelling should be taught as intensively as arithmetic, and that the majority
    of pupils learn the form of a word most readily through the eye rather than writing it either ten or fifty times.

    Our course in manual training is not so extensive as would be offered in a larger place, but it includes about
    all there is any real need or demand for in a place of this size. We cannot expect very much without the
    installation of some machinery, and for this we have no room. So far as our manual training goes, it is of the
    customary type, and seems to me very satisfactory. The majority of the boys are working upon some article of
    utility which they will take home when finished. Not all the boys will become pattern-makers or skilled
    mechanics as a result of their training, but all are doing good work and are interested and happy. The course
    has gained steadily in value and efficiency under Mr. Stanley's instruction. (When General Draper High
    School opened in 1927, there was more room for shop and home ec. In the 1950s, and probably earlier than
    that, those subjects started when we were in the eighth grade. Half of the class would begin the school day at
    the high school instead of at Dutcher Street one day each week, and the other half of the class, another day.
    All would continue with them for the first two years of high school, and some would take them for all four
    years. I made the table my computer is on now in school shop about sixty years ago.)

    Equally good work is being done in the cooking and sewing classes, though it is doubtful if the girls are quite
    so deeply interested in housekeeping and dressmaking as the boys are in carpentry. Miss Bennett took a
    summer course at Columbia this last season, the results of which are reflected in her work. A desire for
    professional improvement is always commendable.

    With gratitude for cordial and generous co-operation from all sources, this report is

    Respectfully submitted,

    F.G. Atwell
    Superintendent of Schools

    From the 1916 Hopedale Town Report.

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