• Note: Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Pre-Vocational School

  • 22nd & Broad Streets (Old Bellevue School)

    In 1914, classes formerly held at Madison School were organized in the old Bellevue Building as the Pre-Vocational School. It was sometimes referred to as "Vocational School."

    The Pre- Vocational School served approximately 55 boys from all parts of the city; only those who had completed the 5B grade were admitted. Efforts were constantly made to put the school in the proper light before parents as the idea seemed to prevail that it was established for "incorrigible" boys.

    As the name implied, the school was designed for pupils of junior and senior high school age who had little aptitude for the academic courses. Classes of English and mathematics supplemented the industrial arts classes in wood, metals, printing, electricity, and mechanical drawing. In 1916, it was reported that a large amount of work of a commercial nature (wood, printing, electric) had been done by the students for the schools.

    The 1917-18 annual report states that the program for boys fourteen years of age operated from 8:40 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.; the thirty hours per week of instruction included fifteen hours of practical work on a productive basis and fifteen hours in related and non-vocational subjects. ''All vocational work is done as far as possible under actual conditions found in a shop."