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The History of Cranfills Gap ISD
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The record of study, The History of Cranfills Gap ISD, traces the significant chronological events, external and internal influences and aspirations of community, parents and students through the development of this rural school in Central Texas. The development of the Cranfills Gap institution follows the organizational lifecycle theory of Ichak Adizes, Ph.D. This work poses a single question: What were the significant events throughout the 120 year history of CGISD? The pursuit of an answer to this question reveals the intricately woven web of issues associated with any discussion of educational change. On one level, the question might conjure a debate between educators who support small schools as opposed to large consolidated schools. This record of study, however, was framed to present the rural Texas school from an organizational development point of view. The rural school is remembered by former students, teachers and administrators within the context of county, state and national changes. Historic documents and oral histories are used to provide evidence of the stage of development. Within the stage of development the aspirations and needs of the community and students are revealed. Historic documents describe the school in quantitative terms, providing tangible, measurable data in the form of information such as cost of buildings, furnishings, number of pupils, teachers and length of term. Oral histories describe the rural school in qualitative terms. From the perspective of former students, teachers and administrators, a rural school is described by interpersonal relationships with the community at large, parents and classmates. The accumulation of unquantifiable, intangible, holistic data provides a complete picture of the rural school in Central Texas. The contribution of this record of study to the general knowledge of the educational community is that rural schools reflect the community’s moral convictions, aspirations and challenges. The evolution of change in education is influenced by external forces such as, state and federal policy, national economic situations, technological advances and internal factors such as leadership changes, patron demands, and financial stability. A longitudinal review of one educational system enables insight into the impact these forces have had. The 140-square-mile region around Cranfills Gap saw the convergence of Norwegian immigrants in 1854, when they began establishing churches and schools. Committed to ensuring Norwegian children were afforded sufficient education, community members took risks financially to establish and maintain the school. The reform movement to standardize education at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution propelled Cranfills Gap into providing a local high school. The 1930s and 1940s were a time of rapid growth and change. The period of greatest success featured a school-community partnership illustrated by actions of internal cohesion. By 1960 the rural district was experiencing declining enrollment, placing the district in a survival mode. Content to enjoy and rely upon the momentum created during the Prime stage of development, Cranfills Gap became a bureaucratic institution at the brink of closure in 2008.
Rudd, Charla J (2013). The History of Cranfills Gap ISD. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from