1936_university_school_yearbookWith the great assistance from the alumni of the University School, the University Libraries has digitized the full run of its high-school yearbook and placed the individual issues in the Libraries’ Knowledge Bank. It was a collaborative project between the University Archives and alumni of University School, an experimental K-12 program that ran from 1930 to 1968.

This is the first such collaboration for the Archives and a community partner, and we hope it’s not the last because the enthusiasm shown and hard work done by the University School alumni were truly amazing. We also want to note that the yearbooks only the first University School materials that will be digitized. In this ongoing project, we plan to add other materials to the Knowledge Bank that make the history of University School more accessible to our researchers and other patrons. We’ll keep you updated.

Of course, some of you may not know what University School was. In 1930, the College of Education founded the Ohio State University School as a laboratory for teaching.  Instead of college students going out into public schools to learn teaching methods, University faculty taught at the university’s own K-12 school to find ways to improve teaching in public schools. It started in temporary quarters and moved to its permanent home, Ramseyer Hall, in 1932.

University School classroom, 1950s

University School classroom, 1950s

Classes were limited to 25 students, who were allowed to have a say in what they learned. So, for instance, they were not given prompts for writing assignments, but instead were allowed to pick topics of their own choice. Grades were not awarded; students’ parents were sent letters each semester explaining the students’ progress. There was no ranking of students, but high-school seniors still took the ACT and SAT tests as well as general aptitude tests as a means of comparison to other students in other schools. The school had its own sports teams, newspaper, and school activities, such as prom. And of course, each year, yearbooks were published.

The Board of Trustees voted to close the University School in 1963. Officials cited relevancy to then-current teaching methods at the time, and financial constraints faced by the university, which funded the school. The last senior class graduated in 1967, and the elementary school was closed the following year.

To access the yearbooks, go to:  https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/56069

Filed by C.N.