Kelly and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films in Moline, Illinois have been awarded a major media grant from the Wisconsin Humanties Council for the historical documentary feature film project Country School: One Room - One Nation.
The grant will fund a portion of the cost of production in Wisconsin and a showing of the finished film. The Rundles have previously received grants for Country School from Humanities Iowa, the Kansas Humanities Council, and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
The fiscal sponsor for the grant is the Richland County Historical Society in Richland Center, Wisconsin. The Rundles acknowledge gratitude to Society president Jerry Bower for his assistance with the Wisconsin portion of the project.
The Wisconsin scholar featured in the film will be Jerold W. Apps, Ph.D., the author of One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections. Dr. Apps is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is also a former student of a Wisconsin one-room school.
Wisconsin one-room schools to be featured in the film include the Akey School Museum in Richland Center, Brickyard School Museum in Merrill, New Richmond Heritage Center Camp #9 school, Frances Willard School in Janesville, Chippewa Valley Museum Sunnyview school, Old World Wisconsin schoolhouse in Eagle, the Stony Hill schoolhouse near Waubeka, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Wyoming Valley Grammar school in Spring Green.
One of Wisconsin's most interesting and unique contributions to country school history was the Wisconsin School of the Air broadcasts that began with ten programs airing daily in 1931. Programs such as Afield with Ranger Mac, Exploring Science, and Democracy in Action were aimed squarely at the state's 6,000 one-room school and their students. Radio lessons were welcomed by already heavily-burdened country school teachers and often provided instruction in subjects that teachers were not qualified to teach.