Friday, March 04, 2005

Small schools yield results

We're going to be hearing more and more about smaller high schools after the National Governors Association's education summit last week. 13 states signed on to a plan to aggressively pursue a strategy of reducing their size; Texas was one of them.

Today, the San Antonio Express News ran an excellent article about small schools. Here's a section of it:

Naomi Housman, director of the National High School Alliance, believes nothing less than a radical rethinking of the American high school is needed. At least nine major reports took aim at the comprehensive high school last year, including one authored by Housman.

In Bexar County, 36 percent of all students who start high school — and 43 percent of Hispanic students — fail to earn a diploma, according to the San Antonio-based Intercultural Development Research Association.

Students are less likely to disappear from small schools, which come in myriad forms.

In San Antonio, Health Careers is a stand-alone school. Others, such as Jay High School's Jay Science and Engineering Academy, is a magnet program for Jay students only, and Lee High School's four "houses" are schools within schools.

The six magnets that draw from well beyond their school borders range in size from 272 students at the North East School for the Arts to 850 students at Health Careers High School, with the remainder serving about 450 students each.

When teachers, students and administrators know each other by name, a sense of community and shared purpose develops, reducing discipline problems, dropout rates and truancy, small school boosters say.

San Antonio's six magnets sent a minimum of 85 percent of their students to college last year. All but one of Communication Arts High School's 101 graduates went to college.

These kinds of results speak volumes more to me than any test scores.


Blogger EdWonk said...

A case where size really does matter.;)

9:58 AM  

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