Saturday, January 10, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Small Schools Are Better

There always seems to be pressure coming down from Lincoln and the State Capitol for small schools to consolidate.  We recently found an editorial from the Dorchester Star in the mid-1940s blasting state lawmakers and the education commissioner for their suggestions that Nebraska needed fewer school districts. 

However, one thing on which most readers (and most Nebraskans) can agree is that a small school education offers several advantages that simply cannot be duplicated by Class A or Class B-sized institutions.

Smaller schools know how to educate their students and typically can do it with better results than their larger counterparts.

In a recent report by the Rural School and Community Trust, Lorna Jimerson, Ed.D, offered her top 10 research-based reasons why small works for schools. The list below was forwarded to us by a loyal reader, and we thought it was important to share it with other readers of the Times.

Residents of the Dorchester Public School district are encouraged to review the following from time to time:

'Top 10 Reasons Small Schools Work Better'
  1. There is greater participation in extracurricular activities, which have been linked to academic success.
  2. Small schools are safer.
  3. Kids feel they belong.
  4. Small class size allows more individualized instruction.
  5. Good teaching methods are easier to implement.
  6. Teachers feel better about their work.
  7. Mixed-ability classes avoid condemning some students to low expectations.
  8. Multi-age classes promote personalized learning and encourage positive social interactions.
  9. Smaller districts mean less bureaucracy.
  10. More graduates in one school alleviate many problems of transitions to new schools.


  1. I have always believed that the number one reason that small schools presented an advantage to students was the students were challenged to do more than they would be in a larger school. Students were given the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities, including sports, music, drama, speech team, and so on. This produced a student who was better qualified to enter the diverse culture of post-secondary education or the workforce. Both my sons were graduates of a small school (Friend) and both went on to successes at Doane College and their professional lives. We have a responsibility to our community to make sure our schools continue to provide not only academic richness, but also a well-rounded program of music, arts, sports, and community involvement.

  2. I don't quite get No. 10, but otherwise this is a great list.

  3. Wow, several of your bullet points can't be quantified.

    1. But these extra-curricular activities are limited to a few things.
    2. Safer in terms of what? Most K6/Middle and High Schools are safe, except perhaps in small blighted areas of very large cities.
    3. Kids feel they belong? I seen small schools be more "cliquish" and often do ostrasize someone
    4. Small class size does allow for individual instruction (IF the teacher, is trained in dealing with kids from borderline MR to gifted)
    the teacher in small district is a jack of all trades and master of none leaving kids with a less that adequate understand of ALL subjects.
    5. Good Teaching methods is easier to implement? in terms of what? "Hey teacher it is YOUR job to use OUR chosen curriculum and not sway from it. "
    6. teachers feel better about their work?" (are they paid better in a smaller district) No. Do they have more free time? No.
    7. Same as #4
    8. MultiAge classes IS not conducive to learning. Someone is missing something.
    9. not really, While the bureaucracy is smaller the power and control is as stuck in the mud as a John Deere tractor after a gully washer on a freshy disked field
    10. AS stated above? What does this statement even mean?

    1. This person is...

      1.) Senator Scheer or his little aide;
      2.) A representative of OPS or LPS; or
      3.) A malcontent who was constantly beat up for his/her stupid ideas in grammar school and can't get over the fact 20 or 30 years later.


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