Historical Highlight

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If the Academy Walls Could Talk...(1918-19)

A new Idea
David K. Flake

The school year 1918-19 brought some serious changes at the Snowflake Stake Academy. The Principal, Henry Randolph Atkin, was in his second year in Snowflake and had come with training at both Brigham Young and Columbia Universities. In the Annual Announcement listing the schedule and plans for the new year were two photographs, one of the Academy Building and the other of the up to date physics lab which was exceptionally well provided with equipment and apparatus, (please note attached picture). The biggest change is noted in the announcement as follows.

The spring of 1918 has brought to our school a new idea in the educational system as far as high schools are concerned. It is proposed to divide the school year into quarters. The first three quarters will be conducted approximately the same as regular school work heretofore has been conducted. Each quarter will cover a period of nine weeks, making the regular school term continue for twenty-seven weeks. During this term students will be able to earn approximately three units of credit. The fourth quarter will be in the nature of a Summer of supervised work. During this quarter, which will continue about four months, students will be able to earn approximately one unit of credit.

This new educational idea was tried out first by the Ricks Academy, Rexburg, Idaho. The Idea originated from the urgent necessity of having the boys and girls on the farm a longer period of time. In the early spring of 1918 the Authorities of the Ricks Academy made a report to (Church) President Joseph F. Smith of their accomplishments in this direction. The President became so impressed with the possibilities of the new idea that he instructed Superintendent Cummings to introduce it into as many of the Church Schools as felt disposed to take it up.
The matter was put before the Board of Education of the Snowflake Stake Academy and the Board voted unanimously that it is a step in the right direction.
At the present time (June 1918) the work is being conducted very successfully here. One hundred and ninety students are enrolled and classes are being taught in the following subjects; Literature, Current History, Gardening, Dry Farming, Irrigated Farming, Cattle Raising, Pig and Chicken Raising Management, Domestic Are and Domestic Science.

Of course this upbeat assessment was made as plans were being made but the real school year was nearly three months from starting.

The dates of this quarterly calendar for 1918-19 is listed as follows. FIRST QUARTER; September 23 – Registration and Entrance Examinations, September 24 – Instruction begins, November 22 – First Quarter closes. SECOND QUARTER; November 25- Second quarter begins, November 28 – Thanksgiving Recess, December 20 – Christmas Program including Christmas Story Telling Contest, December 24 – Christmas recess begins, January 2 – Instruction resumes, January 21- Founders Day Program, January 31- Second quarter closes. THIRD QUARTER; February 3- Third quarter begins, February 21- Lincoln's Birthday Program, February 22- Washington's Birthday Program, March 8 – Program including contest for Samuel F. Smith Medal, March 17 – Girls Day, April 3 and 4 – Final examinations, April 5 – commencement. FOURTH QUARTER; The Fourth Quarter consists of the Summer Project Work. Dates will be arranged later.

The Annual Announcement for the next school year does not refer to the quarter system and so how long it was tried before a return to semesters I have been unable to determine. However, it seems to have been a novel idea that just didn't work out. Brigham Young University had a quarter system during the 1950's but by 1960 was on semesters.

To be continued





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