Earliest known photograph of the Campus School students, circa 1890
For over a century, from 1867 until 1981, there was some sort of a "practice school" at Brockport. Malcolm MacVicar, first principal of the Normal School, was a keen student of teacher education and felt strongly that "learning by doing" was an essential part of teacher training. In response to this belief that MacVicar shared with other prominent educators of his time, a "training school" as it was first known, was established at Brockport. The school was a unit of the college that provided education to students from the village, and provided a training ground for student teachers.
The school was an actual elementary school, and earlier this century even operated all the way through grade 12. Thus, it was not uncommon before the village built its high school in the 1930s, for a student to do K-12 at the campus school, and then go on to the Normal School - a complete Brockport product! The school was popular with local parents. It provided high quality, imaginative education in generally good, and often true "state of the art" facilities. Pictured here is a trip to the fire house in the early 1950s.
The campus or training school was for most of its life located in a wing of the main school. Here the children were taught by professional "teacher-critics," who were both the children's full-time teachers and supervisors of the student teachers. There was a principal or head of the school, the teacher-critics, a library and librarian and all the other elements of a school.
Cooper, 1965. (Note the high rise dorms under construction in the background.)
Finally in 1965 the campus school got a building of its own. The new facility was named after Charles Cooper, head of the training school 1911-1936. It was as state of the art an elementary school as could be built then, at a time when SUNY was flush with money to spend. Ironically though, only a decade later in 1976 the school was closed.
Musical fun at the campus school circa 1975.
The problems the school faced were several. Ever since the 1950s when the student body had grown so large as to demand it, most student teachers had gone off campus to do their student teaching. This made the school vunerable to suggestions that it was no longer as essential as once it had been. Another problem was the beginning of the decline of New York's, and thus SUNY's, finances in the mid-1970s. The campus school had become more of an educational laboratory than ever, with innovative programs to teach minority and disadvantaged children, but still the budget axe fell, and the school was closed in September of 1981.