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Image of the first words of the act creating the school along with early pics of buildings

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Folder 1898

Report for year ending 10/31/1898

From board: “The utmost harmony prevails in all departments and cordial co-operation exists in all lines.”

Call attention to the fact that the Legislature has constantly reduced annual appropriation for the maintenance of the Institution.

Funding appropriations

For year ending 2/28/1894: $51,570

2/28/1895: $47,270

2/28/1896: $41,610

2/28/1897: $41,860

2/28/1898: $41,347

2/28/1899: $39,867

With this, there has been a slight increase in number of pupils; staff remains the same. Supt, being a doctor save the school $979.17 in medical expenses by doing the work himself.

Increase in number of girls, necessitates building additional dorms.

Endorse Supt’s suggestion in changing the name from Blind Institute to Texas School for the Blind.

Supt. report:

160 students: 97 girls, 63 boys.

“On June 5 and 6, we had an exhibition at the Institute of the work done in the literary, music, and industrial depts.; also an exemplification of the methods employed in teaching the blind. The exercises were interspersed with music, instruments and vocal, recitations, etc., much to the delight of the large audience in attendance each day.”

“The closing concert was held, without cost to the State, at the Hancock Opera House, on Tuesday evening, June 10th. The audience was large, attentive, and appreciative.”

4 graduates, 1 cert. In music, 1 in piano and cabinet organ tuning, 1 in piano tuning, 2 in broom making. 5 had sight restored sufficiently to return home.

From last year, 33 not returned: graduated, certificates, discharged by oculist, mother died, went into business, weak mind, bad health, prolonged sickness at home, over age, left the state, married, no reason assigned.

“notwithstanding the age of admission has been cut down to 21 years, our present enrollment exceeds any to a similar date in the history of the Institution. The health of the pupils is good.”

Totally blind: 86

Light vision: 38

Visually impaired: 42.

Two new teachers for larger number of girls: music and sewing.

Teachers “are thoroughly competent, have first grade certificates and several years experience in teaching.” To maintain present high standard, board passed following resolution:

“Resolved, That the Superintendent is hereby requested not to employ any teacher in the literary department who has not had at least two scholastic years’ experience in teaching; and who has a first grade certificate. In default thereof, the applicant must submit to an examination in the subjects required for a first grade certificate by a board of examiners consisting of the principal of the literary department and two teachers of the faculty to be named by the Superintendent. It shall be the duty of this Board to make a written report to the Superintendent of the result of the examination held by them, and the Superintendent is further advised not to appoint any applicant whose examination falls below the grade required for a first grade certificate.”

The work exhibited on June 5 and 6 was sent to the Dallas fair “that the people of Texas might know what blind pupils are taught and what they are capable of accomplishing.” –funding furnished by teachers and staff of Institution.  …”it seems that the work was a revelation to the public.”

“The exhibit as a whole was awarded a diploma for general excellence in all departments; and, as it was the first one ever sent from this Institution, and was in the natures of an experiment, the results are very gratifying to all.”

Of 165 pupils, 107 are state pupils, “in addition to board, tuition, medical attention by the Superintendent, and eye treatment by the Oculist, the State pays their railroad fare to and from Austin and furnishes clothes for them while here.”

Reproduces correspondence with Univ. regarding a former student about to graduate form UT “his record for scholarship is the best in the graduating class.” (Mr. Franz Joseph Dohmen.)

Again lists materials made by the students.

Improvements made:

Old work-shop torn down, and a room under the laundry was converted into a workshop. Barn, buggy sheds, and out houses were rolled back on a line with Red River street, giving 46 feet more front and improves the appearance of the west lot.

Additions made to the laundry: old-fashioned sad irons replaced with electric irons, added a 36” body and skirt ironer and combination collar and cuff shirt machine.

Elevator room converted into a laundry supply room, and elevator moved. Engineer overhauled his entire dept.. Since 1897 has saved the state $594.51 in coal and wood.

Smokestack should be raised, new engine should be purchased, also new grate bars for new furnaces. West building needs repainting. Window blinds need overhauling and some new ones made. Much of the overhead plastering in the east building must be taken down and plank ceiling put up. . Since 1897 overhead plastering in sewing room was falling in such large pieces that it was dangerous; had it removed and plank ceiling put up. Need 2 additional dorms for girls. Never so many girls as now.

Principal’s report: “During the past session our work has been hindered because of an insufficient supply of dissected maps, apparatus, models, etc. We also need new pianos and other musical instruments, as well as more books in raised and point print.”…”We are greatly in need of a gymnasium. The blind, as a class, have an aversion to taking exercise, and our pupils are no exception to this rule.” If a gym can’t be built, “the purchase of a gymnastic outfit for systematic training will partially remedy the evil.”

Oculist once again stresses need to inform doctors and others that this is a school and not a hospital.

Would be a “decided advantage if some practicable means could be devised for the State to retain in certain cases some competent oversight of pupils who have left the Institute.”

Some pupils receive improved vision, are sent home, don’t take care of their eyes, and are returned.