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More Than 200,000 Country Schools: A Guide for Research, Preservation, and Education
More Than 200,000 Country Schools: A Guide for Research, Preservation, and Education | Lucy Forsyth Townsend
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For over two hundred years, country schools were the nation's most reliable educational institutions, and over 200,000 once dotted the American landscape. This book contains interviews with thirteen people who completed projects dedicated to the preservation of country school history. They set out to make a lasting contribution to their communities, and they completed worthwhile projects with neither major grant support nor national recognition. Some interviewees lacked formal coursework in research methods, but nonetheless they completed systematic inquiries. William Sherman enlisted hundreds of volunteers to gather information and photos of Iowa's country schools. He organized what was uncovered, edited a text, added photos, and published a highly influential book. Others had formal coursework in research methods. For example, Professor Mark Dewalt conducted a fifteen-year study of Amish schools and published an important book on his findings. Some took on restoration projects. Patricia HartNaus helped a group of volunteers restore Belden School in Illinois, and then she wrote an award-winning children's series. Veronica Ent conducted research on school technologies and helped restore a Pennsylvania schoolhouse that is now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Still others experimented with various media. Catharin Lewis developed an award-winning, hands-on historical reenactment for children. Gloria Hawkins photographed hundreds of schools. Mary Collins Barile wrote and Peggy A. Guest illustrated a children's biography of an African American founder of country schools. Susan Fineman, editor of the NEWSLETTER of the Country School Association of America (CSAA), lacked website experience, but using web builders and blog services she published an informative newsletter. Professor Mary Outlaw drew from various resources to host a national conference that provided opportunities to share knowledge about school preservation. Every interviewee took on challenges that consumed many hours and in some cases years of effort. In so doing, they demonstrated important qualities, the first of which is vision. Myrna Grove envisioned a readable history of Ohio one-room schools that would be a helpful resource for teachers, librarians, and children. Donna Baker-Hartwell envisioned a teacher-friendly videotape revealing life in a New Hampshire country school in the late nineteenth century. A second quality is courage. It took courage for Richard and Catharin Lewis to move a dilapidated country school sixty miles and transform it into the West Bay Common School of East Texas. It took courage for Gloria Hawkins to drive hundreds of miles, sometimes on unmarked gravel roads, to photograph schools. It took courage for Susan Webb to travel to different states, don a costume, and present a program on teaching in a country school. Third, each interviewee had perseverance. Richard Simunek sent narratives to numerous people connected to Lone Star School in Oklahoma. He collected and organized stories, added a historical narrative, and published an award-winning book. The thirteen highly productive people interviewed for this book transformed decrepit schoolhouses into beautifully restored buildings. They found and displayed artifacts. They raised community support. They produced videotapes and published books. Yet if you were to meet them, you might never realize that they had done anything extraordinary. This volume tells their stories. It also invites readers to join them in researching, preserving, and educating the public about country schools.
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Since I have reached 200,000 in Litfluence thanks to all of you, I will be hosting something Jane Austen related this year!

I‘ve held monthly photos challenges, but what about a swap? I‘ll have to research google docs and etc.

So #PemberLittens be on the lookout for more details to come in the future!

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