Why Choose a Small School?
Research is showing that there are great reasons to choose a small school over a large school, even if large schools can offer more choices, more resources, more bells and whistles. Small schools have been proven to be safer, to offer more equitably distributed learning, and to provide a culture of connectedness.
Stuart Grauer and Christian Ryan published an article in 2016 called, "Small Schools:The Myths, Reality, and Potential of Small Schools." The quotes below are from that article.
"Wasley and Lear's 2001 study of students in 90 small schools showed significant improvements in behavior and achievement, greater teacher connection with parents, more teacher opportunities to collaborate with other teachers."
"...small schools create communities where students are 'known, encouraged, and supported' and have increased teacher-student connections."
"Because small schools need a large percentage of students to fill each activity, they engage a broader cross-section of students, helping reduce social and racial isolation. (Clofelter, 2002)"
"Students who participate in activities and feel connected at school have higher achievement, are less likely to drop out; they have higher self-esteem, attend school more regularly, and have fewer behavior problems. (Howley & Bickel, 2000)"
"...research shows that in small schools, relationships between students and adults are strong, trusting, and ongoing."
"...relationships with parents are strong and ongoing."
"...small schools have a leaner administrative structure, and the consequence of this is that the whole faculty shared in decision-making; decision-making is less institutionalized and more flexible."
"Small schools make space for uniqueness and the emergence of individual student voices."
"Students deserve to be free from worry about personal safety (physical and emotional) and to be confident that their teachers and administrators know them well and can guide their development of skills and knowledge. The United States, in its communities, has a long and rich history in trying various educational methods; only fairly recently have we begun to stand up against the prevailing forces for system institutionalization, which we believe to run counter to that heritage."
The original article can be found on the Community Works Journal. Dr. Stuart Grauer is a teacher, the founding Head of School at The Grauer School, and Founder of The Small Schools coalition.