Small local schools produce big results – State 14

Another new Vermont online news platform, State 14, publishes a prediction by a former Addison County school board member that the bureaucratic effort to close both Addison Central School and Ferrisburgh Central School “will fail spectacularly.” And that, says author Finn Yarborough of the Rural School Alliance, is a good thing because small Vermont towns need their plucky local schools.

“Small schools, especially very small schools like FCS, are in a unique position to be resilient and flexible to change. They lack the institutional inertia that often leads to groupthink and spurious one-size-fits-all solutions. I attended a small Montessori school for years in rural northern New Mexico. At the time it held barely 30 students K-6, divided between two classrooms. We had a headmaster who functioned as both a teacher as well as a lead administrator. We tended a small menagerie of farm animals, carpooled and bussed in a passenger van driven by a teacher, hosted special guests to teach individual subjects, and often learned through long-term projects and community service. This non-standard education, far from leaving us behind or lacking equity, provided the base that saw members of my class go on to see success in fields of science, medicine, journalism, construction, engineering, and the performing arts, several earning degrees from Ivy League universities. This was before the Internet was widely available in our area, the advent of which should actually make running small rural schools even easier.."

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