Glimpse of the Past: 28 Aug 2014

County Institute Met

County Institute Met September 7-11, 1914 to Prepare for the New School Year (No. 8)

Hillsboro Heritage League Glimpse of the Past, The Hillsboro Reporter, Thursday, August 28, 2014, Page 2C


For generations the coming of September has meant the opening of school, and in more recent times the opening date has been pushed back into August. Schools in Hillsboro and Hill County opened this year on Monday, August 25, 2014. One hundred years ago schools in Texas only offered 11 grades at the maximum, with no kindergarten. Schools by law were segregated, and African-American schools in Hill County convened in August and closed for six weeks in mid-September to permit students to participate in gathering the cotton crop in Hill County.


Hill County population in 1914 was 47,000 and in 2014 it was 35,000. In 1914 over 100 schools were operated in Hill County. Hill County had a few independent school districts and many common schools in the rural areas. The Hill County School Superintendent had responsibility for supervision of the schools in 1914, and Hillsboro Public Schools were under the control of a school board appointed by the City Council. All Hill County teachers and administrators met from September 7-11, 1914 at Hillsboro High School for the annual County Teachers Institute. Fred J. Shipley was County School Superintendent, Mrs. Effie Hunt of Whitney was Secretary of the Institute, and Walter F. Doughty was State Superintendent of Public instruction.


Hillsboro High School in 1914 was located at 300 East Walnut and was first opened for classes in September 1906. The building burned in April 1922 and was replaced by Hillsboro Jr. College & High School, opening in September 1923. For many years the new Junior College & High School was home to the annual Hill County Teacher Institute prior to the opening of schools.


The September 1, 1914 edition of the Hillsboro Evening Mirror carried the notice that "all teachers who expect to teach in the county MUST attend the Institute for the FULL TIME or forfeit their salary for the week, and failure to do so renders their certificate liable to cancellation. Teachers must be supplied with tablet and pencil and such text books as are required in the section to which they belong." State Superintendent Doughty prescribed Charter's Teaching the Common Branches for use in the Institute.


The Institute was divided into Primary, Intermediate, and High School sections, and supervisors were held responsible for "thorough and efficient work in their respective departments." At the conclusion of the week of teacher preparation, a social event frequently was held in Hillsboro City Park (Abbott's Grove).


County Institute provided professional and social interaction among teachers and administrators from all schools in Hill County and served as a vehicle for understanding curriculum standards and state-approved textbooks.


While Hill County Teacher Institute is no longer in place, the August 21, 2014 Hillsboro Reporter carried a photo and article announcing, "New School Year to Begin" and reported that all employees of the Hillsboro Independent School District met in annual convocation in the Hillsboro High School Cafeteria on Tuesday, August 19. School Superintendent Buck Gilcrease gave the opening address and laid out plans for the 2014-15 school year.


Many teachers and administrators from the other 11 school districts in Hill County attended the Regional School Convocation hosted by Education Service Center in Region 12 at Baylor University's Ferrell Center on August 18, 2014. Theme for the convocation was "Ignite the Power of the Classroom."


For over 100 years teachers and school administrators across Hill County have been coming together to share information and to prepare for the opening of the new school year. Hillsboro and Hill County have a great legacy of providing quality education for students.


For additional information contact Will Lowrance at [redacted]. Membership in the Hillsboro Heritage League is open to the public and dues are $20 for individual and $25 for family. Student membership is $5. Dues are payable to HHL, PO Box 2, Hillsboro, TX 76645.