Danville Express

Newsfront - March 30, 2007

School days, school days

Children say thank you for work on historic one room school

by Jordan M. Doronila

Children wearing bonnets and hats in the style of the late 1800s gathered last week on Wednesday at the Tassajara One Room School for a ribbon cutting for the newly built historic stable and outhouse.

Danville Town Council members and residents were also on hand to honor developer Shapell Homes and firefighters for their part in preserving the historic schoolhouse on Finley Road.

Shapell made significant improvements to the site, which is owned by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, rebuilding the stable after the original historic one was torn down for safety reasons by the fire district in 2005.

The developer also restored the old outhouses with new roofs and paint, and added a functional restroom

"It shows a wonderful partnership," said Councilwoman Candace Andersen. "It shows what you can do without a lot of taxpayers' dollars."

Approximately 30 third-graders from Greenbrook Elementary School wore attire from the late 1800s at the ceremony. Joan Kurtz, who with her husband Don designed the One Room School program offered by the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, served as the mistress of ceremonies.

"It's a wonderful hands-on way to understand and appreciate the roots of this valley," Andersen said.

Each year, approximately 2,000 third-graders from the San Ramon Valley are brought into the classroom environment of the 1880s on a field trip to Tassajara School, which is an authentically preserved one room school.

The program, which has been sponsored by the museum since 1995, provides a unique day-long experience where each student dresses, studies and even eats lunch as the boys and girls of 100 years ago did. The parents also get involved as the children dress up for the occasion.

"It gets families out and doing things together," Andersen said.

"I considered myself a lucky person to go onto that field trip," said Gail Kamerer, a Greenbrook substitute teacher who attended the event. "It was a real fun day for me to substitute."

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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