Cover image for Battle Rock : the struggle over a one-room school in America's vanishing West
Battle Rock : the struggle over a one-room school in America's vanishing West
Celis, William.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Public Affairs, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 233 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LD7501.C87613 C45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A colorful look at rural America's rebound--and at the tensions created when urban expatriates meet old-time country values--centered on a Colorado community and its one-room school house.

Author Notes

William Celis is an assistant professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Celis, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California, took a leave in 1999 to move to Cortez, a small town in rural Colorado, to write about its "one-room" schoolhouse, Battle Rock. With 26 students in grades K through 6, Battle Rock had one teacher/principal, Paul Hanson; one part-time assistant; and a few visiting teachers. Celis got to know Hanson, a few of the students and their families, and the town's Assembly of God minister in the year he stayed. Locals were routinely hostile to outsiders, and Celis found most Cortezians to be backbiting gossips, so he had to give up on a number of potential sources for his story of the "struggle" over this school. The problem is, there's hardly any battle at Battle Rock. For all the ominous foreshadowing, the big "struggle" is really quite small: a parent thinks Hanson could be doing a better job, Hanson offers to resign, the other parents urge him not to, so he stays for another year. Even without a battle, the story of this one-teacher school might have been stimulating had Celis examined how attention-deficit students are handled, why this public school is still staging Christmas pageants and whether the local Native American children attend the school. Unfortunately, Celis is fascinated with the more routine aspects of school life, e.g., two girls excluding a third, and the disciplining of a child who doesn't finish his work. This earnest book suffers from a lack of sharp writing and deep thinking. Agent, Matt Bialer. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Forewordp. xiii
Part I
Chapter 1 Battle Rockp. 3
Chapter 2 No Ordinary Schoolp. 14
Chapter 3 Country Boysp. 27
Chapter 4 A Fitful Transitionp. 40
Chapter 5 Coming Homep. 54
Chapter 6 "This Hasn't Been Easy"p. 65
Chapter 7 The Boat Racesp. 76
Chapter 8 The Cloakroomp. 83
Chapter 9 "The Friendliest Town in the West"p. 91
Chapter 10 Getting Alongp. 101
Chapter 11 A Battle Rock Christmasp. 109
Part II
Chapter 12 A Canyon Winterp. 121
Chapter 13 Audreyp. 132
Chapter 14 Faith, and a Miraclep. 145
Chapter 15 Living on the Edgep. 154
Chapter 16 "How Well Are We Doing?"p. 163
Chapter 17 Innocence Lostp. 170
Chapter 18 "It's Good to Make Your Own Way"p. 180
Chapter 19 The Vanishing Westp. 193
Chapter 20 Final Daysp. 205
Afterwordp. 211
Selected Bibliographyp. 219
Indexp. 223