Newport School Report: 1869-1870  
Newport, Rhode Island

City of Newport,
Newport County,
Rhode Island

Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of Newport, R. I., 1869-1870
Title Page

Coddington School - 1869
Mill Street, Newport
Coddington School
Coddington School Floor Plan
The extreme dimensions of the building are eighty-five feet on the front, by seventy-three feet in depth.
The wings are sixty-eight feet in depth, there being a central projection in the front and rear, of two feet six inches. The foundation walls are stone,... with an average thickness a little exceeding two feet. There is a cellar under the entire building with an average depth of eight feet.... The building is three stories high, with a French roof. The first and second stories, only, are now finished. One each of these floors are four school-rooms, each twenty-eight by thirty-two feet in size, and thirteen feet in the clear. Each school-room is provided with two clothes rooms, as shown in the plate. The boys' clothes rooms are lighted from the hall, and are fourteen feet in length, by five in width. The girls' clothes rooms are lighted by an outside window, and also from the hall, and are sixteen feet in length, by five in width.
The blackboards are of hard finish, and extend entirely around each room... Each room is furnished with fifty-six single desks and chairs.... The third story will be finished in the same manner as those below. The room above will be finished without partitions, as a hall for exhibitions and other school purposes.
... the building is heated by furnaces. These are four in number.... Eight earth-closets are in use in one of the yards, and the experiment seems likely to prove highly successful.
On the twenty-eight of last February, eight schools entered the building. Three Primary Schools and one Intermediate School occupy the rooms on the first floor. One Intermediate School and three Grammar Schools occupy the rooms on the second floor....

My recommendation, made to you some months ago, in view of the fact that parents very rarely visit the schools, that at a stated time, each year, a general invitation should be extended to the public to visit each room, was so favorably received by you [the School Committee of Newport], that I was at once authorized and encouraged to make arrangements for such exercises, at whatever time it should seem desirable to do so. The last two weeks of the session just closed was the time selected for this purpose. Every school in the city has been included in the arrangement, and every child has been assigned some part in the exercises. Recitations, in the various studies pursued in each room, have been interspersed with singing, calisthenics and declamations. The exercises have been very well attended, and the efforts of the children and their teachers to render them both instructive and interesting have been highly successful....

A feeling, to which your Board had been by no means insensible, that the greatly increased pressure upon both teachers and children, which changes in our school system have occasioned, should be relieved by lengthening the vacations, found expression near the close of the last school year, in a petition for such action, signed by many of our most intelligent citizens.... You accordingly referred the subject to a committee of your own body, who gave it careful attention. This committee reported at your regular meeting in February, when it was unanimously Voted:--

"That the school year be forty weeks in length, and that it be divided into four terms of ten weeks each; that six weeks be given for vacation at the close of the summer term, and two weeks at the close of each of the other terms; it being the distinct understanding, that all the schools shall be in session fully up to the close of each term, and that no teacher shall be granted leave of absence exceeding two days, unless for urgent reasons, and by special vote of the School Board."


Considerable space was given in my last report to what was intended to be a candid statement of the objects of our High School, of its relationship to the community, and of the work which is accomplishing in our midst. Personal observation leads me to believe that the support given to the school by our people, has never been more hearty and general, than during the last year.

Of the thirty pupils who passed the examination for admission to the school, in July, every one was present at the opening of the Fall Term,--a significant and encouraging fact.

[Page 25] In accordance with the wishes of many friends of the school, the public exercises of the graduating class were held in the Academy of Music, the gratuitous use of the building for that purpose having been secured to the Committee, through the generosity of Mr. Alfred Smith. ...

The elevation of the standard of admission to the High School, and the system of examinations for promotion from class to class, while causing a temporary reduction in the number of scholars, have advanced the school, in point of scholarship and general excellence, more rapidly than could have been reasonably expected; and it requires a glance only at the crowded condition of the higher Grammar school classes, to prove that its growth in merit will be attended by a corresponding growth in numbers.

Diplomas were awarded at the close of the school year to five young ladies, and five young gentlemen, as follows:--

Classical Course.

George T. Brown,    John F. Chase.

Regular Course.

Hattie F. Cottrell, Helen M. Ward,
Emily A. Shaw, Harry Gardner,
Lizzie P. Stanton, G. Hermann Muenchinger,
Alice B. Ward, G. Norman Weaver.

Master Brown entered the present Freshmen Class of Brown University, and Master Chase that of Yale College.


One of the most cheering indications that the advantages which our schools afford, are becoming better appreciated and more highly valued by the community, is found in the rapid increase in the number of pupils attending the schools of higher grade.

The number of scholars enrolled in the first and second Grammar School classes during the fall term of 1866, was eighty-seven; while the number enrolled in the same classes during the fall term of 1869, was one hundred and thirty; showing a gain of fifty per cent in three years. The number of pupils enrolled in the Sub-Grammar Schools during the fall term of 1866, was one hundred and thirty-seven; while the number enrolled during the fall term of 1869 was two hundred and twenty-six; showing a gain in numbers, in this grade, of sixty-five per cent in three years. The whole number of pupils attending the grammar schools has increased in the same time from two hundred and twenty-four to three hundred and fifty-six. This increase being entirely out of proportion to that in the whole number of scholars attending the schools, it can only be accounted for on the supposition that the proportion of our children allowed to remain in school, and to enter the higher grades, is larger than heretofore.


... It is in this grade that the child receives his first lessons in penmanship...


The happiest results from grading the Primary Schools are already manifest. The advantages of this change are by no means confined to the upper classes.

Under the old system, so much of the teachers' attention was necessarily given to the older scholars, and especially to the class preparing for the examination for promotion, that the little ones received but a moment's instruction, one at a time, at the teacher's desk. The primer scholars are now placed in schools by themselves, and being arranged in classes, they enjoy the benefits of emulation and animated recitations, and are making progress which has been witnessed with surprise, both by their teachers and myself.

... During the year, printing has been introduced into all the primary schools, of both grades....


This school is in no sense intended to be a substitute for the day school. Its design is rather to meet a want which exists in every community, which must receive attention if the theory of popular education is to be fully developed, and which cannot be met during the ordinary school sessions.... It is earnestly to be hoped that a larger proportion of those persons, who from necessity, or other cause, have left school at an early age, or have come into our midst from other localities, without an education, will avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to acquire some knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic....

The school meets as heretofore, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings of each week, in the room above Mr. Joseph M. Lyon's store, in Thames street. The number of pupils enrolled is sixty-six. The average attendance has been no far from forty.

FREDERIC W. TILTON Superintendent of Public Schools. Newport, May 23d, 1870.

Page 21 Roll of Honor: First Class, Primary Page 22 Roll of Honor: First Class, Intermediate. Second and First Class, Sub-Grammar Page 23 Roll or Honor: Second and First Class, Grammar. High School
Page 24 Roll of Honor for two successive years. Page 25 [transcribed in part above] Page Statistics for the term ending May 7, 1870
Public School Committee, 1869-70
Job A. Peckham
T. M. Seabury
Wm. J. Swinburne
Thomas Coggeshall
Charles T. Brooks
Lewis L. Simmons
Henry C. Stevens
Charles H. Burdick
Samuel Powel
Augustus Goffe
John H. Cozzens

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Newport School Report for 1877-78

Newport School Report for 1884-85

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