School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance

School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance

The following list highlights the major points identified in this paper:

1. School consolidation has been carried out through much of this century, resulting in many fewer and much larger schools and school districts. Consolidation efforts continue into the present time.

2. The research base on the relative effects of large and small schools is large and quite consistent. The research base on the effects of school-within-a-school (SWAS) arrangements is smaller and less conclusive.

3. There is no clear agreement among researchers and educators about what constitutes a “small” school or a “large” school. Many researchers, however, indicate that an appropriate and effective size is 300-400 students for an elementary school and 400-800 students for a secondary school.

4. Much school consolidation has been based on the beliefs that larger schools are less expensive to operate and have higher-quality curricula than small schools. Research has demonstrated, however, that neither of these assertions is necessarily true.

5. Academic achievement in small schools is at least equal—and often superior—to that of large schools.

6. Student attitudes toward school in general and toward particular school subjects are more positive in small schools.

7. Student social behavior—as measured by truancy, discipline problems, violence, theft, substance abuse, and gang participation—is more positive in small schools.

8. Levels of extracurricular participation are much higher and more varied in small schools than large ones, and students in small schools derive greater satisfaction from their extracurricular participation.

9. Student attendance is better in small schools than in large ones.

10. A smaller percentage of student drop out of small schools than large ones.

11. Student have a greater sense of belonging in small schools than in large ones.

12. Student academic and general self-concepts are higher in small schools than in large ones.

13. Interpersonal relations between and among students, teachers, and administrators are more positive in small schools than in large ones.

14. Students from small and large high schools do not differ from one another on college-related variables such as entrance examination scores, acceptance rates, attendance, grade point average, and completion.

15. Teacher attitudes toward their work and their administrators are more positive in small schools than in large ones.

16. Attributes associated with small school size that researchers have identified as accounting for their superiority include,

a. Everyone's participation is needed to populate the school's offices, teams, clubs, etc., so a far smaller percentage of students is overlooked or alienated.

b. Adults and students in the school know and care about one another to a greater degree than is possible in large schools.

c. Small schools have a higher rate of parent involvement.

d. Students and staff generally have a stronger sense of personal efficacy in small schools.

e. Students in small schools take more of the responsibility for their own learning; their learning activities are more often individualized, experiential, and relevant to the world outside of school; classes are generally smaller; and scheduling is much more flexible.

f. Grouping and instructional strategies associated with higher student performance are more often implemented in small schools—team teaching, integrated curriculum, multiage grouping (especially for elementary children), cooperative learning, and performance assessments.

17. The evidence for the effectiveness of school-within-a-school (SWAS) arrangements is much more limited, but it, suggests that students benefit from this form of organization if the SWAS is sufficiently separate and distinct from the other school(s) housed in the same building.

18. Poor students and those of racial and ethnic minorities are more adversely affected—academically, attitudinally, and behaviorally—by attending large schools than are other students. Unfortunately, poor and minority students continue to be concentrated in large schools.

Fire Engine Cake

Fire Engine Cake 1Fire Engine Cake 2

This is the cake we made for Bennett’s 2nd birthday. I had never before used the professional food coloring that our pastry chef friend gave me. So by the time I finished adding enough coloring to make the icing fire engine red, it tasted really bitter. At least it looked good.

Making a Word Find With Microsoft Excel

I wanted to make a word find puzzle for Abigail and found these instructions, Making a Word Find With Microsoft Excel, but they tell you to type in your own random letters to fill in the rest of the blocks. This would be tedious so I added a random letter function and created this template:

File Attachment: Word Find.xlt (48 KB)

To use it, copy the letters from the random worksheet and paste special/values only, onto one of the word find worksheets then make a word list and type the words on top of the random letters. Chnge the header and print.

There are programs that do this of course but this is fine for a four-year-old.


Abigail did a find-a-word puzzle on her own for the first time today. It was on the placemat at the Town Diner. We were all just sitting having lunch when suddenly Abby exclaimed “Tomato!” and circled it. Then she found “burger” (instead of hamburger which she didn’t recognize. If it had said veggie burger she would have gotten it), “salt,” “soda,” and “noodle.” Okay, probably too much information but it was so exciting to watch.

The burger reminds me of another story. We have a very old plastic toy car that Ilyse got from McDonalds when she was a kid. The Hamburglar is driving it. Abby was looking for it the other day and when we asked her which car she wanted she said “the one with the Gardenburglar.”

Comparison of School Costs

Here is a comparison of costs for the schools we are currently considering for Abigail for next year.

5 days/week half day

Hosmer Pre-K (n/a)
Hosmer K (n/a)
Watertown Cooperative Pre-K (9:00-12:00) $3,700
Bowen Cooperative (8:45 – 1:00) $5,450
Kendall School K (8:30 – 12:00)  $6,040
Evergreen Day School Pre-K (8:30 – 12:30) $6,660
Lesley Ellis School Pre-K (8:30 – 12:30) $9,795

5 days/week full day

Hosmer Pre-K (8:15 – 2:30)   $5,800
Hosmer K (8:15 – 2:30) $0 (zero)*
Watertown Cooperative Pre-K
Evergreen Day School Pre-K (8:30 – 3:00) $10,700
Kendall School K (8:30 – 3:00)  $8,260
Lesley Ellis School Pre-K (8:30 – 3:00) $13,395

4 days/week half day + 1 day/week full day
Hosmer Pre-K (n/a)
Hosmer K (n/a)
Watertown Cooperative Pre-K
Evergreen Day School Pre-K $7,580
Kendall School K  $7,150
Lesley Ellis School Pre-K $10,515

3 days/week half day + 2 days/week full day

Hosmer Pre-K (n/a)
Hosmer K (n/a)
Watertown Cooperative Pre-K
Evergreen Day School Pre-K $9,450
Kendall School K  $8,200
Lesley Ellis School Pre-K $11,235

*If we successfully petition to get Abigail into kindergarten before
she turns 5. This involves a psychological evaluation, a screening by
an early childhood professional and a review by a school panel.