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Little House on the (scorched) Prairie


As part of its continuing series on one-room schools, this feature from National Public Radio looks at a school in Death Valley, Nv., where there are 11 students from kindergarten through fourth grade, one full-time teacher and one teaching aide. Students in poorer communities like Death Valley have been seen to benefit from the small school set up. Of the 11 students at the Nevada school, nine are working above grade level in some subjects.


The lesson here, or at least one lesson is the time taken to work with individual students. With only eleven students, it is much easier to devote one-on-one time to each one, even if they are at different grade levels.
Small class size does make a difference when it allows time and a kind of inter-student support system.
In many Chinese schools, despite the large class sizes, there is a sense of community in a class. Students aid and support each other and learn together.
Here's a thought, create a school full of one room schoolhouses. Each class is in one room, developing at a single pace. Children could move forward whenever their grade level works suggest they can move forward, not waiting for the end of a school year or a chronological achievement.
Would it be possible to have a school with no grade levels at all? Children could attend one room until they have achieved a set goal and move on to the next.

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