The return of the one-room schoolhouse

September 1, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
For the most part, the one room schoolhouse is a thing of the past, something most students now read about, but never experience. But Clear Creek ISD is bringing the one-room schoolhouse idea into the 21st century.

Mossman Elementary School in League City, Bayside Intermediate, and Clear Falls High School. What makes them different from other schools is that they're connected in an education village.

"What sets this apart, the education village, is really we've created the one room schoolhouse, so it's the 21st century version of a one-room schoolhouse," said Bayside Principal Jamie Majewski.

Traditionally, intermediate school is the awkward in-between of elementary school and high school. Majewski says the one-room schoolhouse idea helps middle school kids transition from one level to the next.

"Really, it creates a mindset that they are part of something bigger," he said.

And in an engineering classroom, both middle schoolers and high school students are learning.

"It's a little intimidating, but I think it's really cool because it's a good experience," said student Payton Bishop.

"I think they are getting a lot," added student Davis Jorgens. "It's really like a crash course in the last two years that I've been in engineering."

It's a set up that helps both learn better.

"Eighth graders are leaning concepts for the first time that these guys have already learned so the best way to learn is to teach and that's what these engineers are doing," said teacher Andy Schaafs.

All three schools are physically connected in the education village, but each school has its own distinct space. Kids eating lunch at Mossman elementary, for example, are one thin retractable wall away from high schoolers eating their lunches. And budding 10th grade artists can sketch and draw with other kids their own age and ability.

But so far, in the education village's second year, students and faculty say this one-room schoolhouse idea may be not just a piece of the past, but the wave of the future.

The class of 2013 will be the first class to graduate from Clear Falls High School, but administrators expect the class of 2023 may well have spent their entire K through 12 careers on the same campus.


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