Twelve teachers are employed in the Hobart Public Schools, including a superintendent and supervisor of music. Of these, two besides the superintendent are engaged in high school work. The remainder give their entire time to work in the grades, one teacher being assigned to each grade.
The course of study includes eight years' work in the elementary branches, reading, writing, number, spelling, language, geography, English history, American history, physiology and drawing-the first five subjects being studied during the entire eight years, except number, which is not begun until the second year, and four years' work in secondary branches. Special work in music under a special teacher is carried on throughout the entire twelve years. Special work in manual training is done during the first six years of the course.
The present system of schools is the result of a gradual growth extending over a period of many years. The development of the schools has kept pace with the best educational thought of the times; while the school policy of the community has been conservative enough to insure thoroughness and avoid waste of time and money, the school authorities have always been eager to introduce methods and make changes which were prompted by progressive thought in educational matters. Because of the demonstrated importance and value of construction work in elementary education a course in manual training has lately been introduced and plans are under contemplation for the further elaboration and organization of this work into the curriculum.
The present school building is a commodious structure erected at a total cost of about thirty thousand dollars, which contains eleven classrooms besides a laboratory in the basement. The building has been built in sections, two additions having been erected since the original structure was built. The original building, built in 1877 by Trustee M. J. Cook, contained but four rooms. In 1892 the increased school population made it necessary to erect an addition of two rooms, and another addition of five rooms became necessary in 1894.
The high school was first established by Superintendent A. J. Smith during the administration of Trustee James Reper, Jr., by introducing two years' work in general history and advanced work in the common branches.
This course was lengthened to three years and enriched during the administration of Trustee Seward Lighter, while P. J. Gristy was superintendent. In 1896 the course was further enriched and lengthened to four years, and in 1898 it was examined and commissioned by the State Board of Education in the name of A. R. Hardesty, who was superintendent at that time. The high school was re-examined and re-commissioned in 1901 in the name of the present superintendent, W. R. Curtis, who was first elected in 1901. In the last three years much attention has been given to enriching the high school life. The course has been made flexible, athletic and oratorical organ-izations have been carefully encouraged, and the equipment has been greatly increased. The first material equipment for high-class high school work, which was purchased by Trustee N. P. Banks in 1898. has been nearly doubled by the present incumbent, Trustee A. J. Swanson.
A special supervisor of music was employed for the first time in 1903. This step has proved to be so satisfactory that special work in music is assured for the future.
The schools are a part of the township system and the high school is, therefore, a township high school. Pupils from outlying districts are transported to the high school at public expense; also transportation is furnished for children in the elementary schools who live in districts where the paucity of population renders the maintenance of a separate school impracticable.
Since the high school was first commissioned in 1898 the enrollment has increased from about 60 to 82. The fact that the percentage of pupils enrolled in the high school is now larger than ever before as compared with the total enrollment in the school is especially interesting because it shows that an increasing number of citizens are realizing the importance of better education for their children.
For years it has been the will of the taxpayers and the ambition of trustees to add something each year to the equipment of the schools. This policy is a safeguard and a security of the future social condition of the community. [From the "History of Lake County" - Submitted by K. Torp]
In 1906 the U. S. Steel Corporation picked out a site in the dunes of Indiana—along the finger nail of Lake Michigan. There the Corporation set up steel mills and a town, the town set up a school system, the school system was named after the town, and the town was named after Judge Gary, Chairman of U. S. Steel. Hence the name: Gary Schools.
In these days of overcrowded schools and underseated pupils the Gary system is much discussed in educational circles. It is based on a definite theory of education, but with this is combined a plan for the maximum, in fact, the double use of school equipment. This is most appealing to school boards who have more pupils than seats to set them on. The cry goes up: " Show us a way to educate children without letting them sit down! " The Gary system does not exactly perform this miracle. It is a type of cafeteria education, self-service. Its theory is that children will consume more educational pabulum if let choose their edibles by themselves than if served with a table d'hote curriculum. The hours are 8 a. m. to 4 p. m. But the children, who are their own timekeepers, work longer than union hours, doing extra work after hours and on Saturday. There are no conventional grades. There are no courses of study. There is much manual training, but also a supply of the R. R. R.'s. A child studies just what he pleases and in just as advanced degree as he is capable. Those who desire only a manual education are tempted to pilfer intellectual learning. Mental horsemanship is stimulated by horse-stealing rather than by gift horses.
The pupils maintain their own discipline — they take two months' vacation each year at their own convenience—in Winter or Summer as they prefer. This plan keeps school equipment in continuous use. Coupled with this arrangement is the division of the school body into groups which use classrooms, shops and playgrounds alternately—an attractive seat-saving device. The objections voiced against the Gary system are that it teaches trades but fails to cultivate the mind, that in practice it makes for longer hours but less teaching, and that it decreases the influence of teachers. The younger generation, less critical than some of their fathers and their mothers and their aunts, will probably fall in with any system that lessens their lessons.
["Time Magazine", Monday, Sep. 24, 1923 - Submitted by K. Torp]
Froebel High School
Now demolished, Froebel High School was the site of a walk-out in the 1950s by white students over integration