Library of Research on Small Schools

There is an ever- growing body of research on small schools where the quality of education, student development, and community health are concerned. This research is compiled and furthered by academics, parents, community organizers, school boards, reporters, activists, and school developers on the front lines of the small schools movement. On this page, you can read through our extensive library of research on small schools. Whatever your issue, we think you’ll find research, data, and perspectives to help you out.

The small schools movement is growing. We are always adding relevant material to this library including documents, articles and other types of multimedia to this section…. so be sure to check back regularly for more information.

Cost is mission critical to our work as smalls schools advocates. You can read through our extensive library of financial, social and community cost-based research on small schools on our Small Schools Costs page.

We are always on the lookout for new data. If you have any leads to interesting, informative articles and documents we can add to our growing collection of research on small schools, please get in touch with us directly.

Small School Movement: Victories (and Challenges) Around the World

Some of the most valuable research on the small school movement comes from firsthand accounts of educational reformers operating under “real world” conditions. Over the past several decades, the small school movement has celebrated many victories and, at the same time, weathered many challenges. Some of these victories and challenges have to do with schools themselves, while others have to do with outside factors and influences, for instance, at district, state, or federal levels. You can learn more about small school movement victories and challenges around the world by reading through our extensive compilation of research below.

Sample some of the research in our library, below. If you have any questions about the small school movement worldwide, we welcome you to contact us directly.

School Size Research: How Big is a Small School?

Nothing damages our efforts to promote small, place-based schools much more than researchers or communities that label schools “small” when they lack the size and design features of actual small schools.

Over the past several decades, the growing body of school size research demonstrates that small schools have big impacts on educators, administrators, students and their families. School size research also threshes out the many differences between small schools and large ones. This includes a thorough examination of the differences between small and large school size, learning environments/culture, administrative policies, bureaucratic hierarchies, academic achievement and student efficacy. You can read through our school size research archives below. If you have any questions about school size research, we welcome you to contact us directly.

Benefits of the Small Schools

The growing body of research demonstrates many benefits of the small schools. Benefits of the small schools are wide ranging and include authentic relationships, social inclusion, outstanding learning opportunities, excellent college placement rates, community identity/engagement, as well as increased safety and comfort for students, faculty and community. In addition to student benefits in academics and socio-emotional development, parents, teachers and communities also benefit substantially.

The body of research dealing specifically with school safety can be found on our Small School Costs page. Unfortunately and sometimes tragically, safety is left almost entirely out of funding formulas as districts attempt to save money by consolidating schools. In an era or routine school shootings, there are virtually no instances of tragic school violence in true small schools.

You can learn more about the benefits of the small schools by reading through the articles below. If you have any questions about the benefits of the small schools, we welcome you to contact us directly.

Benefits of Community Schools: Small Schools are a Community’s Heart

Nowhere are the benefits of community schools more apparent than in small, rural towns that rely on community schooling to instill a sense of shared identity. Over the past several decades, the consolidation of schools has affected the benefits of community schools as much, if not more so, than any other factor. This includes the issue of long-haul student bussing, which you can research about in-depth by visiting our Small School Costs page.

You can learn more about the benefits of community schools by reading through the articles below. If you have any questions about the benefits of small schools, we welcome you to contact us directly.

More Research on Small Schools Cost

In addition to the exhaustive amount of research on small schools presented here, we have also compiled an extensive body of data specifically dealing with the cost of small schools. This “cost” is presented in financial, social, community and student enrichment contexts. We welcome you to read through our research on small schools cost here. If you have any questions about research on small schools, we welcome you to contact us.

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