Colorado’s agricultural lands in the eastern part of the state and mountainous areas in the western regions may not have the population numbers that can be seen along today’s I-25 corridor, but both regions were still home to many families and as a result, schools were needed. We often associate one-room schoolhouses with the pioneer days, but in fact they persisted well into the 20th century. Colorado still has many rural schools with far different needs than our urban schools (see the Colorado Department of Education’s 2011 Rural Needs Study. The State Publications Library’s digital collections include several fascinating publications about the conditions, populations, and curriculum for Colorado’s rural schools between the 1910s and 1970s:
- Course of Study for the Village and Rural Schools of the State of Colorado. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1910.
- Rocky Mountain Area Project for Small High Schools. Colorado Department of Education, 1957.
- Membership in Urban and Rural Schools on Closing Day of School, 1968-1969. Colorado Department of Education. This statistical report gives the numbers of students in rural schools. Norwood and Montrose each had schools with only six students, and the school at Ault-Highland, in Weld County, had only one student!
- Curriculum Improvement in Small Rural Schools. Colorado Department of Education, 1978.
Also be sure to view the reports of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which we have digitized for 1872-1940.
|The first schoolhouse in Steamboat Springs, 1886. Photo courtesy History Colorado.|