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The One-Room School in the Twenty-First Century

From: Neenah Ellis
Length: 58:59

Veteran producer Neenah Ellis travels to rural communities in the US to visit some of the last remaining one-room schools. Read the full description.

Img0578_small Neenah Ellis travels to seven states to visit public schools where one teacher manages multiple grades in a single room. It's both a step back in time and a look to the future of American education. One-room schools were once ubiquitous in the US - at the end of WW1 there were 200,000 of them. Today only about 300 remain and they're disappearing fast. Children typically do well in one-room schools - where the class sizes are small, the teacher gets to know the kids well and there is a strong bond with the community. This program features schools in Montana, Nebraska, Maine, New Hampshire and California, where one-room schools still serve rural residents - and Hawaii, where the last one-room school recently closed. You'll hear teachers and students, parents, administrators and local townspeople talk about their schools. The kids are fresh and funny, the teachers strong-willed and forthright. This program was produced in full-stereo and takes you to all these locations in sound: you'll hear the winds in Death Valley, frogs in the taro patches of Maui, a town meeting in New Hampshire, winter storms on the Atlantic island of Monhegan, spring meadowlarks in Nebraska. Howard Levy, one of the world's most respected harmonica players, composed and performed the music. Neenah Ellis has a long and varied career as a public radio producer. She worked for NPR in the 70s and 80s where she won the prestigious Columbia-DuPont and Peabody Awards. She is the author of the New York Times best-seller "If I Live to be 100:Lessons from the Centenarians" which is based on her "Morning Edition" series "One Hundred Years of Stories" and she is currently the curator of a public listening series in Washington DC called "Hear Now."

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Piece Description

Neenah Ellis travels to seven states to visit public schools where one teacher manages multiple grades in a single room. It's both a step back in time and a look to the future of American education. One-room schools were once ubiquitous in the US - at the end of WW1 there were 200,000 of them. Today only about 300 remain and they're disappearing fast. Children typically do well in one-room schools - where the class sizes are small, the teacher gets to know the kids well and there is a strong bond with the community. This program features schools in Montana, Nebraska, Maine, New Hampshire and California, where one-room schools still serve rural residents - and Hawaii, where the last one-room school recently closed. You'll hear teachers and students, parents, administrators and local townspeople talk about their schools. The kids are fresh and funny, the teachers strong-willed and forthright. This program was produced in full-stereo and takes you to all these locations in sound: you'll hear the winds in Death Valley, frogs in the taro patches of Maui, a town meeting in New Hampshire, winter storms on the Atlantic island of Monhegan, spring meadowlarks in Nebraska. Howard Levy, one of the world's most respected harmonica players, composed and performed the music. Neenah Ellis has a long and varied career as a public radio producer. She worked for NPR in the 70s and 80s where she won the prestigious Columbia-DuPont and Peabody Awards. She is the author of the New York Times best-seller "If I Live to be 100:Lessons from the Centenarians" which is based on her "Morning Edition" series "One Hundred Years of Stories" and she is currently the curator of a public listening series in Washington DC called "Hear Now."

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Review of The One-Room School in the Twenty-First Century

From the first informal note to the last emotional wrap-up, this piece is a delight. Neenah seems to find that place that we all dream about - being in the middle of a story, to gather the sound and feelings and heft of it - and yet, somehow, completely trustworthy as the objective and calm voice we listen to to guide us through the information, presented in all its variety.

But, that's too many words to say that this piece flows like a river, completely at ease with its youngest and oldest informants, introducing us to our own country in ways we've never heard or thought about.

And, gosh, it seems so effortless. But we know better.

Anybody who can should put this on the air - there's a big chunk near the beginning which will reward your listeners for listening at Christmastime, if you've got an opening right away - otherwise play it anytime in the 21st Century...

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Review of The One-Room School in the Twenty-First Century

This is an extraordinary program! I enjoyed it at every level. The program took me places I'd never been, introduced me to circumstances I'd never much considered, introduced me to people who made me think (and feel) about ideas and education in new ways. And I smiled and laughed and just thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

This is really just a gorgeous piece that is full of ideas yet moves so gracefully scene to scene, building a larger story from so many small ones, so many lovely details and sounds and characters. And it's an important story. Don't be fooled that the focus on one room schools makes this something quirky and small and on the sidelines of the big questions about education. This piece is all about some of the biggest questions facing education today - small schools versus large ones, the importance of relationships and mentoring, how schools reflect and connect their communities, how the daily details and little moments are often more significant than the large movements in education reform can capture or appreciate. I recommend this program highly. I say... play this in your one hour special slot if you have one, play it/ repeat it over the holidays when you need GOOD programming to fill up your air while your staff takes a break from the daily grind.

Broadcast History

This program is adapted from a series that aired on NPR's Morning Edition in 2005 - 2006. All the stories have been re-written and re-mixed and there is material here not heard as part of the NPR series.

Timing and Cues

Total duration: 58.59

Newscast compatible

BILLBOARD :00 - :59
CUTAWAY 1:00 ? 5:59
MUSIC BREAK 6:00 ? 6:29

SEGMENT A 6:30 ? 18:59

Program introduction
Death Valley Elementary, Death Valley California
King Colony Elementary School, Lewistown, Montana

MUSIC BREAK 19:00 ? 19:59

SEGMENT B 20:00 ? 38:59

Monhegan Island Maine
Pike County, Ohio

MUSIC BREAK 39:00 ? 39:59

SEGMENT C 40:00 ? 58:59

Ke?anae, Maui
Glen, Nebraska
Croydon New Hampshire
Program credits

Related Website

http://theoneroomschool.org