York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

About education and OLLI and one-room schools in York County, Pa.

‘The Lion,’ Red Lion’s High School yearbook, illustrates the location of one-room schools in that area in 1948. York County’s one-room schools was a recent topic of a 90-minute Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class at Penn State York. Before World War II, York County was a state leader in one-room schools with about 300. For a bunch of stories and photos about York County’s one-room schools, see: All in One Room. Also of interest: York County continuing ed classes offered for matures who love to learn, York County’s landscape, buildings, landmarks can serve as a classroom, OLLI’s theme song: ‘Don’t stop thinking about learning’ and Iron-mine-turned-into-party-spot turned into York County park.

York County’s education started out as small, religion-based schools.
With the growth of home schools, charter schools, cyber schools and the like, educational options today resemble those late schools of the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
I explore that cycle in my York Sunday News column (5/1/11): Full circle for education trends.
The content for the column was part of my prep for a recent OLLI class on one-room schools.
OLLI, continuing education for seniors who love to learn, has just reached a record high enrollment after just a few years.
So I put up a little sidebar celebrating that success: …

OLLI in York

Plot the growth of OLLI in York on a graph, and it would stand today at its highest peak.
The current Osher Lifelong Learning Institute spring course enrollment stands at 500.
Some of those folks could be enrolled in more than one of an array of courses – topics such as “Mines and Furnaces of York County,” “Shall We Dance? Depression Era Films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers,” “Orchid Culture” and “An Introduction to Facebook.”
It’s a record enrollment.
The Penn State York-based OLLI provides educational and social activities for mature adults.
OLLI’s goal for those participants: “For adults who never stop experiencing life, there is a place and a community that celebrates learning in a relaxed and accepting environment.”
I had the honor of serving on OLLI’s first faculty group and have taught two other classes.
The students in those classes, while clearly relaxed and enjoying the experience despite my monotone delivery, are engaged and inquisitive.
Instructors have to come prepared.
In a recent class on one-room schools, I pointed out that York County did not have a four-year college until 1969.
Someone asked the toughest of all questions.
I conjectured it was the relatively plentiful farm and factory jobs that made higher education or even high school education optional after students completed their tenure at one-room schools.
Then not having much more insight into that question, I fell back on the time-worn: That’s a good topic for someone to research.
As I said, class members are engaged and inquisitive.

Also of interest:
The history and future of education in York.
– For the current OLLI newsletter, visit The OLLI Connector. If you’re brave, you can see a profile of yours truly on Page 3.
– For information, visit OLLI on the Web.

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