Tassajara One Room School, Pleasanton, CA


Tassajara Schoolhouse

Tassajara One Room School

1650 Finley Road

Pleasanton, CA 94588

Built in 1889, the one-room Tassajara Schoolhouse is located at 1650 Finley Road, east of Danville in Contra Costa County’s Tassajara Valley. Students from Tassajara Valley ranches attended this school from 1889 to 1946. The schoolhouse was the second Tassajara grammar school, built when the student population outgrew a smaller structure. On January 12, 1889, ten out of ten Tassajara School District voters approved the sale of bonds amounting to $1700 to purchase a lot, build, and furnish a school.  Peter Anderson was paid $200 for an acre of his ranch land on Finley Road. The Livermore Echo Newspaper (March 14, 1889) reported that the contract for the new school was let to J. L. Weilbye of Sunol.  In 1889, Richard D. Williams was the teacher, and 41 students attended that August. They learned mental arithmetic, reading, geography, spelling and writing.  A public high school in downtown Danville opened in 1910 and some of the students traveled into town for higher education, joining grammar school graduates from Sycamore Valley, San Ramon, and Danville schools.  In 1946 Tassajara School enrollment shrank to 11 after two large families moved away. Several parents thought that students could get a better education by going to a more modern school. That year the school closed, and students and teacher Gertrude Arendt went to Danville for elementary school.  The abandoned school fell on hard times. The bell disappeared, windows were broken and Washington’s picture was stolen.

It was later deeded to the Tassajara Fire District (TFD) for restoration and general upkeep. The schoolhouse is where all TFD board meetings and events were held.   The schoolhouse became a very important part of the TFD because it was a place where fire department personnel and the community came together.  So the people in the Tassajara community organized to restore and care for the schoolhouse, replacing the foundation and roof and putting in new wiring and floors. They created the Tassajara-Highland Improvement Association in 1970, and In 1990, when the TFD consolidated with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, the schoolhouse became the responsibility of the SRVFPD and the citizens it serves. An annual picnic at the school included a barbecue, raffles, auctions, games, and recruitment for volunteers.  Funds were raised for the restoration.   Today the schoolhouse is in excellent shape because of the efforts of the Tassajara and San Ramon Valley Fire Districts and the supportive Tassajara Valley community. The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District installed a flagpole on the original site.  A historic plaque was placed by the San Ramon Valley Historical Society in 1999.

For over 100 years the schoolhouse has been an important feature of the Tassajara Valley. It was a school, first and foremost. But it has also been used for graduations, dances, 4-H and fire board meetings, church services, picnics, and a polling place. The restored Tassajara School stands as a tribute to the caring community which worked to save it.  The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and Contra Costa County transferred the stewardship of the ‘One Room Schoolhouse’ to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in October 2012.  This regional treasure is now owned by the Valley’s organization dedicated to preserving local history.  Today, the Museum of the San Ramon Valley uses this “living museum” to present the third grade one-room school program to 2,500 students each spring. The One-room Schoolhouse Program aims to help students compare and contrast today’s classroom with that of a one-room school including an understanding and appreciation of our rural school heritage. The location has picnic tables surrounded by large walnut trees in an idyllic setting ensuring a memorable picnic, tour or visit. A belfry with bell, old outhouses, a restored stable and a new redwood water tower complete the picture.  Tassajara One Room School was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is eligible for the National Register under Criterion A for its role in education and social history in rural Contra Costa County’s Tassajara Valley, at the local level of significance. Period of significance is from 1889, the date of construction, until 1946 when the building ceased operation as a school.

Barrington #4 Schoolhouse, Dundee, NY



Barrington #4 Schoolhouse

Dundee Central School

55 Water St.

Dundee, NY 14837

The Barrington #4 Schoolhouse was relocated to the grounds of the Dundee Central School District in 1984, the result primarily of the work of Clarence Sebring, then the Director of Buildings and Grounds at the school.  The building is owned by the school district and its contents are supplied by the Dundee and Yates County Historical Societies.  It is used primarily as a proud artifact of the school and community’s history, and is occasionally visited by faculty and students from the school when curriculum content is pertinent. The building is also open for community use by permission, and is often part of class reunion visits to the district.   It dates from 1824 and was used as school until 1937.  The building represents the 27 different country schools that were consolidated during the Great Depression to form the new central school district, bringing high school to the children in rural southern Yates County.

Today’s Child Experts: “Punishment Does Not Help”


by Mark Roberts

Journalist Betsy Flagler writes the syndicated “Parent to Parent”” column that asks readers to write in with parenting problems and then tries to get expert help to those troubles.  A mother in California recently wrote in that her first-grader has been pushing and hitting, been kicked out of the library, and all attempts to take away privileges and toys to discipline him have failed.  “His problem seems to be a lack of self-control” she writes.  Flagler’’s response well illustrates the destructive psychology of today that destroys children rather than helping them.

She notes that “instead of thinking you must control your child’s behavior, help your child learn to control himself.  Set limits, give reminders, be his advocate.”  Okay, that all sounds great.  What happens, however, when little Johnny breaks the limits and won’t listen to reminders?  Some might think that would be the time to discipline Johnny.  Oh, no!  We must not do that!  “External controls such as taking a bike away do not teach self-control” says child expert Jane Nelsen (who of course has written a book on child rearing).  Ms. Nelsen goes on to analyze why the child pushes and hits others and notes that discipline is not the answer: “It’s a crazy idea that to help children do better, first we have to make them feel worse . . . A misbehaving child is a discouraged child.  Punishment doesn’t help him feel he belongs.”  A Dallas school teacher, June Humphreys, says misbehavior comes because kids can’t communicate their feelings, and punishment just stifles that all the more.  “Instead, these children need to be taught vocabulary to use to express feelings at the first sign of discomfort.”

Amazing stuff, isn’t it?  One hundred years ago parents knew how to handle children who hit and kicked others.  Now, in our sophisticated age, we “know better” than to discipline like grandma and grandpa did but kids are more unruly than ever!  All these experts write book after book on child rearing but everyone seems to have forgotten The Expert’s book on child raising, the Bible.  The Bible notes that these parents who are so worried Johnny will feel “left out” or “that he doesn’t belong”” actually hate their child: “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24).  A parent who is more concerned with the child’s immediate feelings than long-range character growth is a parent who is failing that child!  Further, the experts can say all they want about punishment not being helpful but God says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).  Talking and learning communication skills aren’t the issue: selfishness is.  Johnny doesn’t have a communication problem – he is very good at letting everyone know that he wants his way now.  Instead of being paralyzed with a fear that for even a moment Johnny might not feel great about himself Johnny must learn that if he acts badly he will feel badly – because he should feel badly about acting badly!  “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Today we have far too much analysis of why children misbehave and not nearly enough decisive action to stop it.  There is too much concern about Johnny’s self-esteem and not nearly enough interest in his actions and making wrong behavior extremely unpleasant and undesirable.  May God bless every parent to seek His wisdom and not the foolishness of today’s self-proclaimed parenting experts.

Canelo School State, Sonoita, AZ



Canelo School

State Route 93 Southeast

Sonoita, AZ

The Canelo School is a historic one-room schoolhouse in eastern Santa Cruz County, Arizona, in the ghost town of Canelo. Opened in 1912, the Canelo School is one of the few one-room adobe schoolhouses remaining in the state. “Canelo” comes from the Spanish word “canela,” meaning cinnamon, and was the name applied to the nearby Canelo Hills, which have a light brownish or cinnamon colored appearance when viewed from the south. In 1904, the local Forest Ranger, Robert A. Rodgers, asked the county to establish a post office in town named “Canille,” which was later changed to “Canela” and finally to “Canelo” over the following years. As a result of these alterations in spelling, the Canelo School is also referred to as the “Canille School.”  The Canelo School was built in 1912 to replace a similar one-room adobe schoolhouse located in Camp Evans, which was a small silver mining camp two miles to the east of Canelo. The site chosen for construction of the new building was on the homestead of B.K. Wilson, who was the school teacher in Camp Evans.

The Canelo School has a stone and concrete foundation, adobe walls, a cedar, roof and wooden floors made of pine and oak. Heat was originally supplied by a wood-burning stove. The front entrance is at the northern end of the building, above which is a square bell tower with a pyramidal top. There are five windows on the western wall and four on the eastern side. A fifth window in the eastern wall was later converted into a doorway and side entrance. There are no doors or windows in the southern wall.     The Canelo School first opened in September 1912 with about twenty attendees. The first school teacher was Miss Fern Bartlett, a twenty-year-old woman who rode her horse eight miles to get to the schoolhouse every morning. Wilson deeded the property to the Canelo School District about 1914 with a caveat that sta ted the land would be forfeited if used for commercial or industrial purposes.  In 1917, the trustees of the Canelo School District became the legal agents responsible for the Black Oak Cemetery, a free-use graveyard a few miles northwest of the townsite.

In the 1930s, the adobe walls were plastered and sections of tin were placed over the cedar shingles on the roof. The deed was recorded in 1942 at the request of Cora Everhart, a Santa Cruz County superintendent who taught in many of the one-room schoolhouses in southern Arizona.  The school closed in 1948, when the number of students declined to just one.  Since its closing, the schoolhouse has served the people in the Canelo area as a community center, country store, church, and funeral home. The schoolhouse is currently occupied by the Canelo Cowboy Church and is open to visitors on Sundays.  As a rare and well-preserved surviving example of a once common school building type in southern Arizona, the Canelo School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 31, 1991.  In spite of some damage caused by vandalism and neglect, the Canelo School remains “virtually the same” as it was when built in 1912.

Chili District No.4 Cobblestone School, Town of Chili, NY



Chili District No.4 Cobblestone School

2525 Scottsville Road

Town of Chili, NY

Established by legislation passed February 22, 1822, the township of Chili is believed to have been named after the South American Republic of Chile. It was formerly part of the Town of Riga, and earlier known as East Pulteney. Old deeds called it “Black Creek Township.”  The town had 11 small schoolhouses at one time.  Four are still standing, and the others, including School No. 1, have been demolished. The one that still remains, a cobblestone schoolhouse on Scottsville Road, is preserved as a museum. A man named Peter Sheffer, one of the earliest settlers of Chili, donated the land for a “District No. 4” school.  The Chili District No.4 School was built in 1848 and operated as such for more than a century until 1952-1953, around the time the schools centralized into what resulted in four districts serving Chili: Gates Chili, Churchville-Chili, Wheatland-Chili and Caledonia Mumford. The building is perhaps 1,200 square feet, and served 10 or 11 kids at a time. The Scottsville Road schoolhouse is one of eight cobblestone buildings in Chili, and the only such schoolhouse. The structure was deeded to the town in 1954.  On September 19, 1965, it was dedicated as a museum.  Visitors can see original “row desks” where children sat, a mini library in back, a bench for the bad boys and girls, and a drinking bucket in the back with a ladle.  The old school has recently gone through renovations. Plumbing was added out back, and the school has been electrified. Back when the buildings were used as schools, they had outhouses — and that was it.  The museum, which is open by appointment only, museum holds many artifacts of interest from the mid 1800’s.  Schoolchildren still visit the cobblestone school on field trip. The building also has been showcased on “Cobblestone Tours” throughout the area. Cobblestone buildings are fairly unique to western New York; 90 percent of them can be found within a 75-mile radius of Rochester, according to the Cobblestone Museum in Albion, Orleans County.

Old Union School, Birdell, AR



Old Union School

504 Old Union Road

Birdell, Arkansas

Early residents of Randolph County, AR, settled in the Ozark Plateau area of the county. While many of these communities are gone, remnants of their existence can be seen. For the Birdell (Randolph County) community, the Old Union School survives as an example of the early history of this once thriving community. Located approximately two miles northwest of the community, the school is a prime example of what early education looked like in rural Arkansas.  The early community of Birdell constructed a hewn-log school out of material readily available, which was a common building technique in early Arkansas. It is believed that the original school was built sometime prior to the Civil War.  This school burned in 1910, and classes were held in the nearby residence of Mattie Maxwell until the new schoolhouse—built on the same site—was finished in 1913. William C. Campbell, Jim and Frank Pettyjohn, and others of the community assisted in the construction. The new schoolhouse reflected improved sawmilling, with 2″ x 4″ lumber covered by weather board.

The Old Union School, is a single-story wood frame Plain Traditional structure, with a corrugated metal gable roof and a stone foundation, held classes through the eighth grade for the area’s white school children. The school’s session reflected the lives of rural farm families.  The school year began on the first Monday of July and continued until the second week in September so that students could help their families pick cotton and perform other farm tasks. The school term reopened in mid-November, and classes were taught until March, when the children were again let out of school to help their families plant crops.  The building was primarily employed as a school but also served other community functions. It hosted a temporary church where funerals were also held; there is a small cemetery adjacent to the school building.

In 1941, the Old Union School ceased classes, as the school was consolidated with the Sloan-Hendrix School District in Imboden (Lawrence County). After the school closed, the building accommodated Home Demonstration Extension Service meetings, occasional club meetings, and school reunions. The structure deteriorated substantially over the years. In 1991, the building was rehabilitated in a community effort to preserve the schoolhouse.  While one-room schoolhouses were once found throughout Arkansas, few examples exist today. The Old Union School is one of the few older structures in Birdell, and the only wood-framed, one-room schoolhouse remaining in that region of Randolph County. Other examples—the one-room schools at Hubble Creek, Water Valley, Fairview, and the African-American school at Birdell—have either been destroyed or have deteriorated beyond repair. The Old Union School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1993, and is now used as a community building.

Cobblestone School, Rochester, NY



Cobblestone School

10 Prince St.

Rochester, NY 14607

Cobblestone School was a progressive, alternative private school in Rochester, NY. It was founded in 1983, teaching children between ages 4½ and 12 years in grades pre-kindergarten through six.  A member of the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools and the Greater Rochester Association of Private Schools, Cobblestone was a small school, numbering around 60 students in grades Pre-K thru 6. It was located on Prince Street in the former Sacred Heart Academy school building. Nearby is SOTA, a public high school that has an emphasis on the arts, and many of the students continued on to this school after graduating. The school was divided into four age groups. Within each group, sequential grade levels are combined in the same classroom. Each student stays in the same classroom (typically with the same teacher) for two consecutive years before moving on. Cobblestone did not administer standardized tests or grades. Instead, teachers kept a portfolio for each student to monitor and record the student’s individual development.  In 1999, grades seven and eight were added, but then in the 2010-2011 school year grades seven and eight were phased out due to low enrollment.  In 2015, Cobblestone School closed due to lack of funding.

Old Chatanika School, Chatanika, AK



Old Chatanika School

5690 Old Chatanika Road

Chatanika, Alaska

The Old Chatanika School is a historic one-room schoolhouse near old mining camp in Chatanika, Alaska.  The Old Chatanika School opened in 1912 when the unincorporated village of Chatanika received permission from the territory to form a school district. The village was near a gold mining camp and the school served the children of miners. The school reached a peek enrollment of 20 students in 1920. The school closed in the spring of 1934. It opened again for one year 1941-42 closing again when the gold dredging company closed during World War II. The former school was restored in 2007 and now serves as a gift shop.

VA case could test reach of homeschooling laws

VA case could test reach of homeschooling laws


Chris Woodward, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com), Thursday, October 24, 2019
[Note: Homeschooling families everywhere need to watch out carefully for things like this.  WSW.]

A legal fight in Virginia is drawing national attention over a county government demanding homeschooling families produce documents not required by an already-stringent state law.

The state’s supreme court heard oral arguments Oct. 15 on behalf of the Sosebee family. The family is appealing after a circuit court agreed with Franklin County schools late last year that state law allows flexibility not just for cafeteria meals and disciplinary rules, but also gives the public school district the legal right to request a birth certificate and a proof of residency.

Read more:

Semmes Heritage Park Old School House, Semmes, AL



Semmes Heritage Park Old School House

3871 Wulff Rd. E.

Semmes, AL 36575

Dressed in authentic turn-of-the-century clothing and carrying their early 20th-century-style lunches in syrup buckets and baskets, children who look as if they might have stepped right out of the pages of “Little House on the Prairie” arrive to spend the day attending school at  the old one-room schoolhouse in Semmes, AL. The school day begins as any school day would have begun for these children’s great-great grandparents — farm chores, such as pumping water and washing clothes, have to be completed before they take on the job of reading, writing and arithmetic.  At the end of lunchtime and play period, the children watch demonstrations of shelling and grinding corn in a grist mill to make biddy feed, grits and corn meal. After a trip to the outhouse, boys on one side and girls on the other, they return to the classroom for a music lesson. The school day at Semmes ends in the early afternoon.

Semmes Heritage Park, 3871 Wulff Road, has the original 1902 One Room Semmes Schoolhouse which is Alabama’s oldest continuous in use school. There is also a replica of the Malone Chapel which houses a museum and can be rented for meetings or receptions. This is a very nice look back into the history of Semmes, AL. The one room school house and little church offer a view of times long gone. There is an annual Heritage day in which people are dressed to represent the era and several other activities throughout the year. This is an interesting field trip spot for students of local schools to see history come alive. The church is also used for small cozy weddings.