(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
This formal group portrait of middle school-aged students and their female teacher on the school steps was probably taken the last day of school in 1914 for the "upper" class of the two-room Town Street School in Deerfield, Massachusetts. One-room schoolhouses serving children six to sixteen were the rule of the day for the vast majority of rural America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But larger village centers and small towns were often served by two and sometimes four-room schoolhouses in which the classes were divided by age. This division of scholars by age differed greatly from the earlier District School System of the late 18th and early 19th centuries of dividing students by classes based on level of proficiency, which worked better in a period when the age at which children started school varied greatly and the attendance by many students was irregular at best.