A legacy of the progressive education movement of the early decades of the twentieth century, the school was formally opened in 1918 as the Carson College for Orphan Girls. Its first president, Elsa Ueland, was a former settlement house worker who was a student of John Dewey and Maria Montessori, and her life story is closely intertwined with that of the school she oversaw for nearly half a century. David Contosta's history of Carson Valley shows that it has long been a model of progressive education. Its faculty is dedicated to serving the individual needs of each child, preparing students to enter the workplace, and breaking down artificial barriers between school and the outside world. Drawing on Ueland's personal papers to communicate both her hopes for the Progressive era and her achievements during the early years of the school, Contosta tells how teachers and housemothers forged a unique collaboration that joined home and school in ways that other progressive educators could only dream of. He also notes the architectural significance of its enchanting facilities, which have played an integral part in the institution's treatment program.
David R. Contosta is Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia. He is the author of many books, including Henry Adams and the American Experiment (1980) and Villanova University, 1842-1992: American--Catholic--Augustinian (Penn State, 1995).