Week 4 Update:
High School Team Overview
● We value a 21ST-CENTURY EDUCATION where students see their connection to others around the globe and develop skills to thrive in a complex world
● We see the value of WHOLE-CHILD EDUCATION where the diverse (academic, intellectual, emotional, physical, etc.) needs of a student are tended to with care and thoughtfulness.
● We value HIGHER-ORDER THINKING where students are challenged to demonstrate that their learning goes beyond mere memorization and rote responses to situations.
● We value COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS where students contribute to, and benefit from, their surrounding towns and neighborhoods in both institutional and personal ways.
A consolidated high school would take three very small schools and create one, medium-sized high school of 250 +/- 30 students. Grade levels would consist of 55-75 students.
Even with a low-end estimate of 220 students and a target of no more than 20 students per section, a schedule that provided for 8 sections of instruction (perhaps over a 2-day period if longer block scheduling is adopted), would create 88 sections of instruction. Increasing the student population estimates or lowering the number of students per section would drive the number of instructional blocks upward. Staffing and building capacity could ultimately impact the exact number of course offerings.
This is, however, a good faith approximation of the number of instructional blocks available and represents a significant increase in the number of instructional blocks currently available at any of the three small schools. South Royalton, as the largest of the schools, currently offers 72 instructional blocks. The consolidated school, therefore, would offer 22% more instructional blocks for those students and a much larger percentage increase for students from Whitcomb and Rochester.
This is important and will result in three immediate and clearly desirable advantages:
1) A reliable set of course offerings available every year: No longer will students have to anticipate when (or if) certain courses will run - key courses will be offered every year. As an example, in some schools currently, Physics and Chemistry run in alternate years.
2) A richer set of course offerings available to all students: The consolidated school will be able to offer a greater number of AP and elective courses. Currently-available AP courses will see enrollment increases that will provide a more stimulating classroom environment.
3) A more flexible set of course offerings with multiple sections available for key, core courses: Students in small school settings often have to choose between core, required courses and interest-driven electives. With multiple sections available for the core courses, such choices between courses can be reduced - students will more frequently be able to enroll in both.
It must be said that, even as a larger consolidated high school, the new school will still be constrained by educational and economic realities. For example, the more the schedule is driven by flexibility (#3 above), the less likely it will be able to feature richness (#2 above). Such compromises are inherent in any school schedule. On the whole, however, the educational benefits of a consolidated school are significant and relate well to the Four Core Principles that the three small schools already espouse. A summary of how the consolidated school would promote these principles is provided below: