The Moraine Park School is now completing its fifth year. Organized in 1917, with an enrollment of 33 boys in grades 5 to 11 inclusive, and with no physical equipment whatever, it has grown gradually until it has included all twelve years of the usual period of school life from the first grade through the twelfth, with an enrollment of over two hundred boys and girls. There have been twenty-five graduates and the class of 1922 will bring 'the number up to almost fifty.
Through the generosity of members of the Board of Directors and of a number of the parents, the School has been given a beautiful Junior building, where the first four grades are housed; an Intermediate school building for grades five and six; a Girls' cottage, and a splendid campus of thirteen acres near Delco Dell. Besides this equipment the school is using the greenhouse as its main building and has a temporary gymnasium on South Field.
From the very beginning the school has been faithful to its initial spirit of experimentation. America has copied her educational system quite extensively from Europe, and changes in educational habits in this country have been made slowly despite the duty of the republic to educate her citizens for problems distinctively American. Every successful factory conducts its production department but does not fail to maintain its research division. As a part of this research division The Moraine Park School has functioned.
Throughout the country parents and teachers have been taking an increasing interest in progressive education. The Moraine Park School has profited by this growing attention to the modem demands made of the schools. Indeed Moraine School seems to have chosen a very auspicious time for its organization, for it has been encouraged and aided by the wider movement, which has led to the founding of similar schools here and there from east to west.
Among such companion schools there may be named Scarborough School of New York, Lincoln School of New York City, Sunset Hill School of Kansas City, Missouri; Fail-hope School of Fairhope, Alabama; and the Park School of Baltimore. This catalog does not exhaust the list. Furthermore, these schools have worked together, checking up on each other, and during the year 1921-1922 Moraine Park's teachers have been making a special study of the methods and results of many such progressive institutions.
The working plan, entirely subject to change in terms of experience and test, of The Moraine Park School is as follows:
(1) Physical education, sound health, strong bodies are the basis of efficiency and physical education ranks as a major subject in the school, equal in importance to any so-called academic subject.
(2) The essentials of the academic subjects have been taught in preference to the minute particulars, because thoroughness through essentials is the best economy, and minute particulars cannot be remembered long in our complex modern life.
(3) Through projects, or businesses, students have received a training in practical affairs and the usually too artificial life of schools has been supplemented by reality and actuality.
(4) Opportunity to participate in self-government has taught Moraine pupils what the problems and obligations and burdens of citizenship really are, for citizenship cannot be understood by merely reading civics.
Because of a school program which has had the fourfold purpose described above, The Moraine Park School has not been content to ask pupils to think that books contain all the material of education. These four kinds of activity require time, and if all the time of boys and girls is taken for the printed page above, everything else suffers. Those who have been wont to judge the school, not by its progress and contribution in all four of these activities, but by the measuring rod of text books alone, have not taken all the criteria into consideration. All America is too much the slave of the printed page, and the newspaper or the book is an acceptable gospel to many persons. We have lost our critical faculties in the measure that we have worshipped the printed word.
During the five years of the school's life, not all decisions, not all methods have been free of mistakes. One year's obstacles have guided us in the next year's procedure. We have asked, by letters to parents and through conferences, for frank criticism provided the criticisms were constructive. We have criticized ourselves as intelligently as proximity to the task has permitted.
We have believed, and believed more strongly than ever now, that America is great because of her courage and initiative, and that education in America must promote initiative, and courage, and variety, and ingenuity; that the largest prizes and the most praise must be given for the qualities rather than for conformity and similarity. A nation does not hold her place by making all her citizens alike; but by securing harmonious action from those whose individuality has not been destroyed or damaged. We have become too much enamored of making all boys and girls alike from Maine to California; we have insisted that it is far more vital that a child shall be able to be transferred from Boston to Sacramento in terms of a standardized report card, than that such a child shall be helped to discover and develop his best.
The Moraine Park School stands for the principle that subject matter in classes does not have to be traditional or meaningless to be valuable; that nothing is good just because it is new or just because it is old; that no finer slant on life can be given boys and girls than that of the enjoyment of work; that power to achieve is far finer as a possession than power to memorize.
The Moraine Park School is planning for its future, and by special action of the Board of Directors, this bulletin is being sent out in. order that every parent may know definitely what the school proposes to do, in the light of the findings of the five years of its life. The progressivism of the school; the courage of the school, are commensurate with the progressivism and courage of the parents who support it, and the frankest kind of understanding between school and parents is required.
By vote of the Board of Directors, the following items of policy have been adopted for the future of the school:
(1) The Moraine Park School is to remain decidedly and avowedly experimental, enjoying the freedom to serve the best life needs of its pupils first of all, instead of the prescriptions of standardization.
(2) The purely preparatory school, whose single and advertized aim is preparation for college as the first and chief need of all its pupils has been evolved and is established in many centers, but this aim is not the chief and sole aim of The Moraine Park School.
(3) The Moraine Park School will work for and with the colleges on its cooperative list. These colleges are those which have assured The Moraine Park School that they are willing to go part way in wider interpretations of college entrance requirements than an inflexible standard system may dictate. At present these colleges are: Antioch, Oberlin, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Denison University, University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, Miami University, Western College for Women, University of Minnesota, Rice Institute of Texas. The State of Ohio has given the school a first grade certificate which admits our students to all state universities affiliating with Ohio State University.
This list of colleges will increase from year to year as our students choose other colleges at which to make application. The school has its application for certification before the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. Acceptance by this Association will admit our students to the colleges and universities of the larger part of the United States.
The Moraine Park School is willing to adjust its work to any requirements of this Association provided that such adjustment does not invalidate the experimental freedom of the school. There are a number of splendid colleges in the east which admit by means of examination only, which refuse to grant any experimental opportunities to any high school. These schools are crowded, are besieged by hundreds who desire to enter and they use an increasingly, difficult examination system to eliminate students whose type of mind does not fulfill the requirements of an examination method.
Very frankly, and positively, beginning with the school year 1922-1923, The Moraine Park School will not prepare expressly for these examinations. Such examinations limit the work of any high school to the demands of the college; crowd out everything in the project system and in self-government and change the high school into a kind of coaching institution leading to tests which emphasize information and minutia beyond their value.
Pupils who propose to submit themselves to such examinations are thoroughly welcome at Moraine, but they take the examinations on their own initiative. The school will invest its entire energy towards a broader preparation, and towards cooperation with the colleges and universities which are willing to be open minded in evolving through experimentation an education related to the times.
If a parent wishes his child to profit by the broader experience at Moraine for two or three years and then desires to send the child away to a rigid preparatory school. Moraine will be glad to cooperate in such a plan. However, the school prefers to enroll pupils who propose to remain during the whole course.
(4) The Moraine Park School wishes to stress, much more than it has in the past, the training in "How to Study." Knowing how to study is more important than knowing how to recite. Therefore, the Board of Directors has authorized the employing for 1922-1923 of a special teacher, or teachers, as may be needed, whose whole time shall be given in the study halls for -the supervision of the study hours of students.
The School believes that it ought to be possible for all pupils to do all their school work, except the reading of good books in their English work, at the school, during school hours. The old habit of carrying school work home should be discouraged. The pupil who learns to make his minutes count during the day will have learned as valuable a lesson for his success as can ever be learned. This endeavor will be one of the main objectives of Moraine for next year.
(5) The Board has authorized a very rigid and searching study of every applicant in the future. The Moraine Park School will be wide open to all pupils of honor, of industry, of high principles of conduct, of some promise of leadership. In our endeavor to see what a free pro-gram might do for boys we have been too lax in our admissions. The Moraine School will never be an exclusive school for the sons of the wealthy only; it never has been such a school. No more false charge has ever been made against the school than that it has been snobbish. Our boys do the janitor work, as do the girls. Every work-a-day task that boys and girls can do has been asked of our students. But we do want Moraine to be strictly exclusive in respect to the motives and purposes of the students.
A strict and searching inventory of students will be made this Spring and those only will be invited back for next year whose spirit and purpose and sincerity are commendable. Our students are given a great deal of freedom. The few who interpret freedom as license will be denied admission.
We ask you to read this announcement more than once. We covet the support of all parents who wish to encourage progressive education and we invite their fullest cooperation and criticism and partnership. We feel that the issues between quantity production and individual attention in education are clearly drawn. The Moraine Park School must take a clear, clean stand on this proposition. We hope for the finest year in the history of the school in 1922-1923.