word craft


Everything about The Secret School

More than any­thing, Ida Bid­son wants to become a teacher. To do that, she needs to fin­ish eighth grade so she can go on to high school. But when the one-room school in Ida’s remote Col­orado town clos­es unex­pect­ed­ly, that dream seems unat­tain­able. Her only hope is to keep the school open with­out any­one find­ing out. Yet even a secret school needs a teacher. Ida can’t be it … or can she?

The Secret School

Behind the story

The way The Secret School begins, with four­teen-year-old Ida dri­ving a Mod­el T Ford, but being so short her broth­er need­ed to be on the floor work­ing the clutch and brakes, is a true tale, told to me by a book­store own­er who had gone to a one-room school house. Though very young she had a spe­cial driver’s license which allowed her to drive—but only back and forth to her one-room school house.

I think it was hear­ing that sto­ry that led me to write The Secret School. read more

As Orig­i­nal­ly Published …

The Secret School was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten and seri­al­ized in news­pa­pers for Break­fast Seri­als.

It can still be read in its orig­i­nal for­mat (with illus­tra­tions by Bri­an Flo­ca) via the inter­net at Instant Seri­als. There’s a Span­ish trans­la­tion avail­able. A slight­ly expand­ed ver­sion was pub­lished and is still in print.


Read­ers’ Guide

Dis­cus­sion Guide

Les­son Plan, “Spot­light on Avi and The Secret School,” Lin­da Ward Beech for Scholastic 

Rur­al School Build­ings in Col­orado,” by coun­ty, with pho­tos, from His­to­ry Col­orado. “In 1861, a com­pre­hen­sive school law was among the acts passed by Colorado’s first Ter­ri­to­r­i­al Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly.  His­to­ri­ans have not­ed that a community’s con­struc­tion of a school build­ing often reflect­ed not only a belief in the impor­tance of uni­ver­sal edu­ca­tion but a desire to lend an aura of per­ma­nence to the com­mu­ni­ty itself. ”

Por­traits of the Past: Revis­it­ing the Days of One-Room School­hous­es,” Com­mu­ni­ty His­to­ry Writ­ers, The Fort Mor­gan Times, 5 Sep­tem­ber 2019

The One-Room School­house,” Jodi Wilgo­ren, The New York Times, 6 August 2000. “Bloom­field, which opened in 1908, is one of near­ly 400 remain­ing pub­lic one-room school­hous­es in the nation, at once a nos­tal­gic rem­nant of the past and a mod­ern out­let for edu­ca­tion­al exper­i­men­ta­tion. Even as the num­ber of tiny rur­al schools has plunged in recent years, the fun­da­men­tal aspects of teach­ing inside them—from mul­ti-age class­rooms and peer tutor­ing to inter­dis­ci­pli­nary projects and keep­ing stu­dents with the same teacher for more than one year—are being copied in large school sys­tems across the country.”

Video: “Min­neso­ta’s Last One-Room School­house,” Kao­mi Goetz, Almanac, TPT, 27 March 2020

And now that you’ve read to the end, a treat: there’s a sequel on its way for this book.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.