Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 13: Education
GERNA CAMPBELL Letter to Ruby Yocum 1954
Community School: Letter from Gerna Campbell to Ruby Yocum, 1954, provides a transcription of the letter, dated May 27, 1954.
Gerna Campbell was hired as Principal of the new Community School which was instituted in 1950 following the closure of the High School Boarding School program in 1949. In the letter he offers a position to former teacher, Ruby Yocum [Thatcher], in the new program. The letter is rich in information regarding the many accommodations necessary in the transition to the new Community School, the day-school elementary education program.
Pine Mountain, Ky.
May 27, 1954
Dear Miss Yocum,
I was pleased to hear from you and that you were interested in the project here for next year.
I shall try to tell you about plans for the coming year. First, let me orient you about the present program. I have had a most satisfying year and have been very happy with the work here. Every one has been swell and that includes children and parents as well. You may know by now that my heart is in the elementary program here. I believe any ultimate success of a High School program to depend almost entirely upon the success of the elem[entary]. school.
Recommendations have been made and approved by the Board of Trustees that Boy’s Industrial Bldg. become the elem. school bldg. ; that is except for the first grade which is to be housed in Girl’s Ind. Bldg. We have been furiously working on alterations since school closed May 12. I have hired on as “flunky” to help with the job. (I got sawdust in my eyes today and can hardly see to write). Your old room is to be for Christine’s room. The 7th and 8th grades will be where Miss Rood‘s office was plus halls and small ante-rooms. Fifth and sixth grade will occupy the Art Room plus Xmas Room. Second and third grade draw the print shop which is to be moved to west basement of Girl’s Industrial Bldg. Many alterations are being made plus installation of toilets, washing, and drinking facilities. You wouldn’t know the place even now. Emergency exit doors will go out from the top floor to the hill behind the B[oy’s] Ind. Bldg. It’s all working out much better than I’d ever hoped for. The whole thing is to me almost like a new toy. I can’t wait to see it a reality. Of course it doesn’t solve all our problems but it will give us more space and a chance for more supervision of routine of elem. school. This arrangement leaves the Schoolhouse [Burkham Schoolhouse] for 9th grade and a proposed 10th grade later. Library, art conference rooms, nurse’s office, etc. will of necessity need to be worked out in the school house.
In answer to your question about living quarters in Laurel House may I say that I’d be the first to recommend to Burton [Rogers] that you live there, as you pointed out that decision will be up to him.
It is my sincere hope that you will consider coming back and accept the 9th grade. With your approach I’m sure you would get along fine with them. Of course I have the usual folder on them; up to date with achievement tests and all, so you’d know where they are at least the 15 of them who are P.M. grads.
The inevitable question of qualifications for teaching 9th grade have to of necessity be considered. It has been my hope that you’d see your way clear to get a couple of courses this summer like perhaps a class in Core Curriculum and something in secondary supervision or even general supervision if you don’t already have it. Could you without upsetting your plans too much obtain these courses? I believe that with these you could meet legal qualification at least temporarily (not that you couldn’t already do the job.) (but these ‘goofy’ ideas some administrators have about Elem. people teaching 9th grade!) Mr. Cawood has indicated that 4 general “areas” would be taught namely math, Eng., Sci. and Soc. Studies. I feel that you are already well qualified to teach these areas. I’d be willing to help plan and set up a curriculum if you wanted any assistance — my help being based on my knowledge of the past year’s work not to forget the importance of your prior experience with these same pupils.
Won’t you consider the courses this summer? Will you let me know soon what your decision is? I can speak for Burton too. I’ve heard him say that he has hopes that you will return to P.M. (Burton is away now but is due back this week end). I’ll take up the L. House question with him as soon as he returns.
I am planning to go to Peabody for 5 weeks work this summer if I can gain admission. I’ve written but haven’t heard yet. Time is short but maybe I can make it. I’m keeping my G.I. Bill alive — one never knows what may come. I’d hate to see it die. I’ll try to get some work in school administration working toward the Ed. Specialist Degree that Peabody offers. U.K. doesn’t offer the degree or I could go there.
May I hear from you soon? Here’s hoping you have a very pleasant summer and here’s also hoping you will plan to join our little family here next year. I’m sure Dr. Graham can and will answer any questions you may want to ask him. We consider him our “ambassador” in his own right — He carries “weight” with us also as should he.
Best of luck to you!
P.S. Please excuse this writing!
GERNA CAMPBELL Biography
RUBY YOCUM THATCHER Biography