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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Experiments in Education

Bloomington-Normal has long been known for being a leader in education and in 1941 was no different. In 1941 the grade schools experimented with methods of teaching seventh and eighth graders. Three centers for education were created, where teachers would teach subjects in which they specialized. Only three schools were chosen to participate: Washington, Bent and Lincoln.

New classes were instituted under this system and the classrooms were photographed:

Here Patricia Ann Coup, Alice Wilson and Yvonne Fisher are working in the school lab. All these girls lived in the South Hill area, making this Lincoln Grade School.

Bertie Lou Breedlove, Lois Gaines and Harlene White are learning to sew in one of the new home economics classes. (Bertie lived on Koch Street, and Lois lived on Illinois, so this must be Lincoln School.)

The libraries of the schools were consolidated to have more available to classes. Jack Kemerly, Lavonne Cooper and Barbara Carr are choosing books at one of the libraries. (Jack lived on the 600 block of Olive, Lavonne lived in the 900 block of Chestnut and Barbara lived on Roosevelt in Normal -- Bent Grade School?)

Art classes were now being offered to the seventh and eighth graders. Jeri Reel is practicing watercolors. Jeri lived on Front Street.

Industrial arts were a new subject for grade school! Bobby DeVary is using the mallet. Bobby lived on West Mill, meaning this school should be Lincoln.

Band was another new subject offered in the "center system." The students in this photo were not identified in the Pantagraph.

The boys at Bent School are enjoying a game. Physical education would now be taught at the schools.

The newspaper article was not detailed but did say that the libraries were formed from the other 7th and 8th grade libraries so that all the resources could be localized. What did this mean for the 7th and 8th graders in the other 7 schools in Bloomington during this experiment? Had many of their library books been moved to the three centers of learning?

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