ABC reality show filmed at George Stone School<br>Episode airs: Monday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m. CST

The Wife Swap crew film Susan Zimmermann's class at George Stone School.

George Stone students and Cody (in light blue near the back) take recess in the Union College atrium.

When Dr. Joe Allison, chair of the Division of Human Development at Union College, was first contacted by a producer of the ABC show "Wife Swap," he thought it was a joke. His wife, Cindy, wasn't joking when she told him her opinion: "We're not doing it!" He assured her after a bit of teasing that the reality show producers were not interested in their marriage.

What New York-based RDF Media hoped to find was a small-school environment for Cody Mink, an 11-year-old boy who stars with his parents in the Rhinestone Ropers, a traveling cowboy-style show. According to the producers, the "swapped" mother in this episode wanted Cody to have a classroom experience to contrast with his home school education. The Rhinestone Ropers' September schedule included several performances in Lincoln where the Minks were accompanied by the "Wife Swap" filming crew.

The production company's research for a small-school setting in Lincoln led them to the phone number for George Stone Elementary School, a one-room, two-teacher school on the campus of Union College. Allison is the principal of the 25-student elementary school, which also serves as a learning lab for Union College education majors.

"Of course, we notified parents of the unusual request and allowed them to choose if their child participated," Allison said. " The students who were involved had a fun time meeting Cody and seeing the behind-the-scenes process that leads to a television show."

In contrast to the show's provocative name, in a letter to parents from a producer, "Wife Swap" was described as "a family reality show that introduces two families from very different backgrounds and allows the mother figures to trade places and learn how other families live."

"The request from the producers was to provide a classroom setting where a visiting student would feel comfortable," Allison said. "Welcoming Cody was a natural fit for us."

In addition to interacting with Cody in a school setting, including class time and recess, Cody invited some of the George Stone kids over to play a few days later.

"He was a really sweet and talented kid," said Jackie Simpson, lower grades teacher at George Stone and mother of two of the students who played with Cody. "At first we were all a bit overwhelmed by being a part of a television show, but in the end, it was just fun to get to know Cody."

Allison says that the school has no guarantee how the footage taken on the Union College campus will be used or if it will be used at all. With or without the television coverage, he says Union College's George Stone School is getting noticed.

"Superintendents from across the country seek out Union College graduates because they have experience with the multi-grade classroom setting," Allison said. "The onsite opportunity to develop teaching skills makes Union's education program unique."