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GRALAND'S UNGRADED PROGRAM: THE COMFORT YEARS

“Never judge a box by its messy contents” has become my mantra in the last few weeks. Often, a box of miscellaneous this and that offers one or two treasures. I shall devote the next segment of school history to an undated article. The opening sentence, as well as the original headline, will come as no surprise to students who thrived under such remarkable educators as John Comfort, Arthur Kent,  Glenn Ballard, Joseph Labaree, Ludmila Glasscock, Charles Pinckney, Ellen Boughn, Jean Hitchcock, and Bea Romer.

An excerpt from the article:

“Graland Country Day School’s academic program  . . . this fall will be non-graded, John Comfort, headmaster, said Saturday.

“ . . . The 40-year-old** independent co-educational school at 30 Birch St. has conducted classes through grade nine for the 400 pupils. . . will be in levels rather than in grades -- and may move through a number of levels in the course of the year.

“Ungraded schools. . . are becoming increasingly common throughout the nation. . . (For example), a spread of six years in reading ability is not uncommon, Comfort noted. Some children are reading with the efficiency the textbooks presuppose; others are lagging and still others are reading at senior high level

“The ungraded system does away with presuppositions for large numbers of pupils and concentrates on putting each child in a reading class at his level, without dictation by age.

“Comfort said five buildings at Graland will house groups of pupils. The first building, for instance, will have children aged 4 to 7, divided into four levels from reading readiness through actual reading. The top level in the building will be doing work of the same order of difficulty as the lowest level in the next building -- so that a child may be directed into a group with regard to his age and size as well as his academic ability.

“The ungraded approach will continue all the way through Graland’s upper age groups, who will be doing junior high school work. There will, for instance, be seven levels of mathematics for the older pupils.

“Arthur Kent, who has been principal of the Graland Junior High School since 1950, will become assistant headmaster to help with the ungraded program.”

**The article I found -- a bit green and ragged-- is hard to date. For example, the school celebrated its fortieth birthday in 1964, according to an article concerning Miss Nelson’s retirement. However, Mr. Kent assumed his position as the Assistant Head in 1965. In addition, in 1965 Glen Ballard and Ludmila Glasscock became the head of their divisions. 
 
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Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.