About the Small Schools Coalition

The Small Schools Coalition advances the interests of small schools (ideally around 230 students), the families they serve, and the teachers who thrive in this optimal educational environment. We are a non-profit, no cost, voluntary association and you can join SSC as a friend. Small schools are “more” in so many ways and we help you get the word out, critical in an age that seems to prioritize bigness and institutionalization.

The benefits of the Small Schools Coalition are numerous. We bring together like-minded school leaders to provide research on all areas of advancing quality small school environments. The Small Schools Coalition provides empowering research and support to small schools and their leaders. Our research provides compelling evidence to support your small schools program and enhance your marketing efforts.

We want your school, and ours, to gain in stature not only by virtue of the small school environment, but also for our unique ability to prepare our students for college and life, and to provide the best platform for authentic and meaningful teaching relationships. In the Small Schools Coalition, we are continually developing public awareness of the effectiveness of small school programs and methodologies. We welcome you to contact us to learn more about the specific benefits of the Small Schools Coalition, and small school size in general.

Small School Size Benefits


The benefits of small school size cannot be overstated. The design of true small schools enables them to provide elegant, creative, and balanced education not available in any other type of learning environment. We know your school might be facing closure, consolidation, or public misunderstanding (often regarding costs). Small schools are not all things to all people. However, our aim is to continually define and refine the essential characteristics of small school size so that the small school concept will be available for more students. Small Schools share common design features and benefits:


  • They are small. Few effective small schools serve more than 400 students, and the maximum benefits occur in schools that serve no more than 230 students.
  • They are safer… physically and emotionally.
  • They are self-governing.  The school community—whether it shares a building, administrator, or some co-curricular activities with other schools—retains primary authority to make decisions affecting the important aspects of the school.
  • They are personalized.  Every student is known by several adults, and every student has an advisor/advocate/mentor (formal or informal) who works closely with him/her and his/her family to personalized the student’s path through school. Student-family-advisor relationships continue through the school years.
  • They are inclusive.  Although many are private, all make substantial efforts to include varied demographics.
  • They are distinctive and focused rather than comprehensive. They do not try to be all things to all people.
  • They include stakeholders actively: parents and community members have greater access to campus and administrative activities, and families are in closer touch with faculty members and administrators.
  • They provide benefits that larger and more comprehensive school cannot, including increases in: personal attention, student achievement, safety (emotional and physical), student/family satisfaction/happiness/sense of connectedness, teacher satisfaction and efficacy, graduation rates, etc.
  • They are NOT more expensive—in fact, they are less costly in some key ways.
  • They are happier – the research shows.

Parameters for Small School Size (Working Definitions)


24 to 230 – Small College Preparatory-Style School

24 to 350 – Small Public School

351 to 500/600 – Medium School

500/600+ – Large College Preparatory School

750+ – Large Public School

When compared to a “typical” secondary education environment where large class sizes and formal bureaucratic hierarchies are the norm, small school size allows for an authentic, intimate and student-centered environment where teachers and learners enhance and enrich each other’s educational experiences. We welcome you to contact us learn more about the benefits of the Small Schools Coalition, or to learn more about how small school size can revolutionize secondary education worldwide.

Meet Dr. Stuart Grauer, Our Founder 

Dr. Stuart Grauer on the MoonshotEdu Podcast

Listen in on this interesting, insightful discussion!

dr stuart grauer with a cute piggy friend

The Small Schools Coalition was founded by one of the foremost proponents of, and a worldwide authority on, the Small Schools Movement…. Dr. Stuart Grauer.

Dr. Grauer is the founder and head of school at The Grauer School in Encinitas, California.

Dr. Grauer is also the author of two fantastic books that help redefine schooling, and what true education really is. You can read the reviews and purchase these books directly by clicking on the images of them below.

On behalf of Dr. Grauer, as well as our friends across the globe, thank you for supporting the Small Schools Coalition!


Real Teachers book by Dr Stuart Grauer
Fearless Teaching book by Dr Stuart Grauer

Fearless Teaching Podcast Episodes

fearless teaching podcast image

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