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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

2010 EDIES Story 2 of 24: What restoring a One-Room School House taught us about the past and future of Education

It took the past and future of Tama County to bring the historic rural One-Room School House in Haven, Iowa back to life. A wide variety of foundations contributed small grants, while the project was mainly supported by Tama County residents past and present who wanted to give back to the area where they grew up.  Volunteers donated a wide variety of in-kind labor allowing professionals, skilled craft people and new learners to work side by side. The project even involved South Tama County High School shop class students in constructing old-fashioned out houses. Project leader Joyce Wiese from Toledo, Iowa explains. Remind me – what are the EDIES

HOW WE DID IT: We formed a committee to save the building when it was threatened to be destroyed.

HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: Having attended eight years in a one-room country school, we wanted students of today to understand what schools 100 years ago.

OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: Financing without taxpayer’s being responsible; using only donations and volunteer help.

HOW WE OVERCAME IT: Through grants, fundraisers and personal contributions from people inside Tama County as well as people who grew up here, but now live in other states like Florida, California etc.

ADVICE TO OTHERS: Set a goal and stick to it.

WHAT IS NEXT: We plan to have our Grand Opening Spring 2011, with a picnic on the lawn inviting people of all ages to experience the type of schooling their grandparents had. We are also working on a video capturing the story of Tama County One-Room School House teachers and some mischievous students who added color to the challenge of teaching grades 1-8 all in one room.

Economic Development Note: As our economic landscape evolved, so has the demands on scope and types of  skills needed in our workforce. That means the education system have developed new strategies and tools, and continues to do so by staying connected to the reality of the new emerging economy. Diana Laufenberg chats about the evolution of education from one-room school houses, to teaching for the industrial revolution, to experiential teaching for our future in her TEDTalk.


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