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Second Grade Class
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In the early 20th century, most children in New England still attended one-room school houses scattered around their towns within walking distance of their homes. Educational reformers rejected such schools as hazardous to the health of the children due to poor lighting, inadequate ventilation and poor or non-existent sanitary facilities. Reformers urged towns to consolidate their numerous single-roomed schools into more centrally located multi-roomed buildings where classrooms could be assigned by grade level. Much effort and expense went into designing and equipping the new schools to be healthy and conducive to learning. Many rural New England towns balked at giving up neighborhood control of schools and objected to the expense of building new state-of-the-art school buildings. Many children living in rural areas continued to attend one-room schools until the latter half of the 20th century. Miss Nellie Lowlar's second grade students at the graded South Deerfield, Massachusetts, Elementary School posed on the front steps of their school building for a class photograph in 1908. The student's last names listed below the photograph, such as Jablonski, Schweppe, Morrissey, indicate many new non-English immigrants had settled in the town.
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