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The Progress of Education Reform: School Size MS Word PDF - Concentrates on recent research regarding the effectiveness of smaller schools in improving student performance. Several of the studies also address the economics involved with implementing small school reform. (Dale DeCesare, The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 3, no. 3, Education Commission of the States, January-February 2002)...

Small Schools MS Word - During this century, the size of schools has grown tremendously, particularly in urban areas. The thinking behind large schools was that bigger meant more extracurricular opportunities, a more diverse curriculum and more resources for students as a result of economies of scale. Intuitively, this makes sense; a growing body of research and public opinion, however, indicates this approach is misguided and that, when it comes to school size, smaller is actually better. (Education Commission of the States, September 1999)...

Big Buildings, Small Schools: Using a Small Schools Strategy for High School Reform - Two key decision points – pace of change and locus of control – are inherent in any decision to convert a large high school into multiple small schools. This report describes how real districts have successfully used the “incremental” and “big bang” time frames as well as the “inside”, “outside” and “partnership” loci of control in the creation of small high schools. The authors consider the benefits and drawbacks to each of these five options as they relate to several areas of school operations. The study also considers the unique issues small schools must face, including balancing autonomy and accountability, engendering innovation without isolation, promoting and assessing school quality and offering choice without creating a de facto hierarchy of high schools. [Free registration required to access report.] (Lili Allen and Adria Steinberg, Jobs for the Future, December 2004)...

Small Schools: From Promise to Practice - Warning that while small schools will not solve all the ills of urban education, the author provides five "lessons learned" that can help small schools make the most of this promising and increasingly popular reform concept. Simmons admonishes his readers not to oversimplify the concept, to involve schools' local districts and to seek out sustained political as well as technical support, among other recommendations. (Warren Simmons, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Voices in Urban Education, No. 2, Fall 2003)...

From Large to Small: Strategies for Personalizing the High School - The conversion of large high schools into small, focused learning environments is gaining popularity as an education reform strategy in communities across the country. This is a result of research indicating that small high schools generally have higher achievement levels, higher graduation rates, and lower dropout rates, and that they are safer than larger high schools. Strategies that have emerged from the ongoing work of converting large high schools into small ones include communicating a clear vision and mission, building community support and developing a process for continuous improvement. [Free registration required to access report.] (Adria Steinberg and Lili Allen, Jobs For the Future, October 2002)...

Resisting the Urge To Merge: Does School Size Matter? - Some previous research finds that smaller schools perform at higher levels than larger schools, and smaller schools reduce the negative effects of poverty on school performance. This analysis of the effects of size on four measures of school performance begins with one school district in Kentucky (Fayette) that is considering the merger of several small elementary schools, then expands to elementary schools in the two largest districts in the state (Jefferson and Fayette), and then to all schools in these two districts using a more complex model of school performance. This analysis suggests that disputes over school mergers or consolidations may be costly diversions from the more important issues of disadvantage and equal opportunity in education. Policymakers in urban/suburban districts with many schools and diverse neighborhoods should consider drawing attendance boundaries to distribute poor children more equitably across schools, regardless of school size. (Phillip W. Roeder, University of Kentucky, KERA Research Web site, May 2002)...

New Small Learning Communities: Findings from Recent Literature - This report provides a comprehensive review of current research regarding small schools and discusses the elements found to be essential for small-school success. The report provides definitions of various types of small schools and small learning communities, research findings about the results of well-run small schools, the requirements for small-school success and barriers to achieving success. (Kathleen Cotton, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, December 2001)...

Small Schools, Big Results: Nebraska High School Completion and Postsecondary Enrollment Rates by Size of School District - This report concludes that the traditional cost-per-pupil formula used in Nebraska to determine school funding does not accurately measure overall costs. When measured on a cost-per-graduate basis, the report found high school completion rates increase as school size decreases, and the annual cost differences between the smallest schools and largest schools can be cut in half. According to the report, any remaining higher costs associated with small schools virtually disappear when the substantial social costs of nongraduates (lower earnings, unemployment, welfare and incarceration) are considered. (Patricia E. Funk and Jon Bailey, Nebraska Alliance for Rural Education, September 1999)...

Teachers, Parents Find Smaller Schools Appealing, but See Other Education Reforms as More Pressing - This press release describes the results of the first phase of a larger study that will examine high school students, parents and teachers on a range of social and academic factors. It reports that most parents and teachers value small class size more than small school size to improve student achievement. Parents and teachers declared lack of diverse curriculum and student body to be the drawbacks of small schools. (L. Gottlieb and M. Darden, Public Agenda, September 26, 2001)...

Smaller, Safer, Saner Successful Schools - This report combines case studies with a research summary showing how educators and community members have created small schools that are safe, nurturing, challenging and effective for their children. This studies 22 public schools in 12 states, encompassing urban, suburban and rural communities throughout the United States and including both district-run and charter public schools. (Joe Nathan and Karen Febey, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Center for School Change, Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota, 2001)...


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