From the Watauga Democrat, Boone, Thursday, March 26, 1914 issue
State Department of Education Press Service
A woman rural school supervisor to supplement the work of the county superintendent of public instruction is the latest advance in rural education in the state. Such supervision is doing the most successful work in McDowell county, developing a few demonstration schools to show what kind of work can be done in elementary schools having efficient supervision. Five other counties now have women rural school supervisors assisting the county superintendent in a similar way.
The plan was first projected and worked out by L.C. Brogden, state supervisor of rural elementary schools, in conjunction with the Southern Education Board and the State Department of Education. Its adoption in McDowell was secured and it is working so well there that it is hoped that little difficulty will be experienced in having other counties adopt it.
Instead of scattering her efforts over the entire county, the McDowell supervisor this year is devoting her time to 10 schools, seeking to make them demonstration schools to show how the country schools can be made to train for practical rural living when they have proper teaching and proper supervision. Under her direction, and with the co-operation of the teachers in these schools and the superindendent, approximately 200 boys have been studying practical agriculture, while 100 girls have been doing definite and practical work in sewing. This kind of work has been done before in the high schools, but it is a new thing for the elementary schools.
Besides giving the children an exceptionally efficient elementary training, this plan is having an effect on the community. The people of Ashford, one of the communities in which this plan has worked well, have petitioned to raise the local tax from 20 to 30 cents, in order to add a room to their two-teacher school of the three-teacher type. They also intend to build a permanent home for their male principal, so as to secure his services for the community for the entire year, instead of for only six or seven months.
More than this, the plan is having a striking effect on the rural teachers. Made to realize their deficiency by the skilled supervision which they have had, many of them, now that the rural term is over, are taking practical teacher training courses of six weeks at the Nebo State High School. Here they study methods and practice teaching under the skilled teachers of the high school and under the supervisor, not only receiving instruction in the most advanced primary methods but observing the work in the high school classrooms.
The supervisor uses one of the rooms in the high school building as a model to show the student-teachers how to make the little one-room country school attractive, comfortable and more homelike. The lectures and classroom observations are followed by carefully planned conference in which the student-teachers are questioned on the most vital things observed in the recitation.
It is a part of the plan of the State Department of Education to establish in connection with the best state rural high school or farm-like school in each county similar to short teacher-training courses, the average rural elementary school more practical and efficient.