We had a high school...?: The College at Brockport

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We had a high school...?

We did: the High School Department of the old Normal school!

On occasion, the archives gets a genealogy request, and the most recent came in person after giving a talk on the academy movement of the 19th century to the Clarkson Historical Society. The questioner said their aunt had gone to Brockport c19010, and then taught in a one room school in Clarendon for many years.

A little digging revealed that the aunt had not been a Normal school grad, which is what the college was then, a teacher training school. She had, however, attended the "High School Department" housed in the "Training School," (later known as the Campus School).

The educational landscape was a lot different a century ago. One confusing part of it is that while high schools had become a pretty common institution by that time, in towns like Brockport with a state Normal school, the local high school was part of the Normal school. As a matter of fact, some students did K-12 all in the Normal school training department, and then moved down the hall to go to the Normal school, and thus had their entire education here!

The high school was with us from about 1902 to 1931. In the late 1920s, the state began putting pressure on the towns that had Normals running high schools and insisted that the towns take over the responsibility. In Brockport, the town built a new high school building, today the middle school, and opened that in 1932. Getting back to that questioner's aunt, although she didn't get a Normal diploma and license to teach in the elementary schools in the villages and towns, as a high school graduate she was eligible to teach in a rural one room school, which she did in Clarendon for many years.

Contact:

Charlie Cowling, ccowling@brockport.edu

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