Each week, we will be taking a look back at the fascinating history of Burr Ridge and separating fact from fiction. This week, we bring you back to a time when getting your kids back to school wasn’t as big a production as it is today.
It’s August, and for many families in this area that means getting ready to head back to school soon. We at Flagg Creek Heritage Society thought it might be fun to look back to an August past to see how different preparation for the year was compared to today. This is the first of three to explore school days past and compare them to the present.
We often assume the work of a school—teachers, administration, boards, facilities staff—has drastically shifted in the 21st Century. Between technology planning and Common Core, surely teachers, school boards and administrators all had it easier. Or did they?
Today we share a fascinating glimpse into the Board Minutes from the one-room Byrneville School (later renamed by its only teacher, Anne M. Jeans, Palisades School). Back then Anne M. Jeans taught students with names like Tiedt and Sass: long term families who reside in the area even today. Boards were small, and often pre-school year planning took the form of a single meeting to decide very concrete things. Teachers did it all: taught all grades, cleaned, purchased all supplies, and even sometimes made meals for the children. Teaching was a lifestyle much more so than today.
You’ll see that we have the Byrneville School Board Minutes from August 11, 1926. So, what momentous decisions were made that day?
We learn that the Board, headed by William Wachter, “let the job of cleaning school yard to Edward Sass for the sum of five dollars and also that Anne M. Jeans would take the janitor work. And hire someone to help her if she couldn’t do it herself for a sum of $15 per month.” And “Louis Reidhes would clean school house, oil floors, varnish desk for $25.”
“Anne M. Jeans was authorized to buy the necessary school supplys (sic) such as chalk, ink, writing and drawing paper, drum of sweeping compound, a new dictionary…” and other materials “…not to exceed $60.”
Perhaps the good old days were, indeed, a simpler time. We leave you to be the judge!
Next week we look at another aspect of school: from the children’s perspectives of area schools.
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