by Bill Sherman
The creation of a national organization devoted to the preservation of the one/two-room country school experience was a dream come true for this writer and a band of believers who had attended informal conferences over the past six summers. With the growing success of the annual conference, we knew it was time to act. When Dr. Lucy Townsend, who teaches in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University, found support among her superiors, formation of a national organization became a possibility. She agreed to serve as the director of such a group, formed a committee, and helped to develop proposed articles of incorporation and by-laws. The group chose Country School Association of America as its name and developed a membership brochure in time for distribution at the conclusion of the national meeting in DeKalb.
The CSAA in currently in the process of being incorporated as a non-profit organization and the board of directors is working to advance the benefits of such an organization to ORS enthusiasts. Those who helped create the CSAA feel it is important to form a national organization devoted to the preservation of the country school experience-the buildings, the teaching, the programs and the memories. The CSAA will bring together people who wish to preserve schools, create or maintain museums, promote living history programs, and allow children to experience schooling of the past. It will also allow seniors a chance at reliving their fondest memories. Additionally, such an organization will encourage research on country schooling and provide a forum for those who undertake research and those who would simply like to learn more about it. The CSAA annual conference will grow as a forum for exchange between academics, preservationists, re-enactors, programmers and history buffs.
The fledgling CSAA is a new venture, needs care and attention, seeks members and plans future growth. Readers are encouraged to contribute ideas and suggestions, articles and interesting vignettes. Most importantly, your membership is greatly appreciated. A brochure and a membership form appear as a link in the posting entitled-"Become a Member."
Note from the editor:
Dr. Townsend, who is also the curator of the Blackwell History of Education Museum at Northern Illinois University, and Schoolhouse Preservationist Bill Sherman of Iowa spearheaded the efforts to create this national organization dedicated to saving and promoting country schoolhouses as working multi-age schools and living history museums. Both have coordinated schoolhouse conferences nationally and regionally and saw the need to bring together people in an association that could share news, resources and enthusiasm. We owe our thanks to Lucy and Bill.