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Why rural schools?

Rural America

January 08, 2018

Lorna Jimerson's research-based “The Hobbit Effect” (2006) summarized the real benefits of small and rural schools. For example, Jimerson reports that when socio-economic factors are taken into account, children in smaller schools are academically more successful, have higher graduation rates, take more advanced courses, and participate in extra-curricular activities to a higher degree. Overall, Jimerson's extensive review of research found ten "research-based reasons” why small schools work:

  1. There is greater participation in extra-curricular activities, and that is 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. Multiage classrooms promote personalized learning and encourage positive social interactions.
  9. Smaller districts mean less bureaucracy.
  10. More grades in one school alleviate many problems of transitions to new schools.

You can read the entirety of Lorna's report here.

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