I am off in the wide, wilds of Alaska this week, and I am sending off this "shot across the bows," as Admiral William Smyth put it; maybe just the shot we need to take from time to time. 26 years of unblinking focus has shown us a thing or two, and maybe you know someone who could use a shot like this, towards greater happiness and creativity. It's this, one more time, and for the record:
The Grauer School, consisting of a tribe of 200 students and teachers, is not a failed effort at bigness or institutionalization. Grauer is not a failure in modernity or technology or economy of scale: it is a unique, evolving masterpiece. A great small school is no more a small version of today's educational monoliths than an oil painting on canvas is a failure in digital screen reproduction.
Grauer's class size is no more a small version of today's standard classrooms than a deep conversation is a small version of a lecture—no more than a circle is somehow a failed effort at forming rows.
Like many un-large schools, Grauer means clarity of voice and meeting of eyes. Uncrowded waves. It means asking: "What does it mean to be a teacher?" almost every day. The Grauer School faculty provides the most engaged scholastic experience of any faculty you are ever liable to find. And, yes, we understand that the practice of empathy has been shown to raise standardized test scores, but that's not why our faculty acts in this way.
Opportunities in a small school versus large?--90% of our students are in arts programs and 70% are in sports programs; student classroom engagement levels measure beyond all known norms. We are incorrigibly personalized. I hereby nominate our Grauer students and teachers for the "least likely to be replaced by robots by 2030" award. And, yes, we understand the "smart" money's in robots, but that's NOT why the Grauer's robotics team has been a contestant at the U.S. national robotics championship five times.
We invite any and all readers to provide us with comparative college placement data, data on staying power once in college, or data on student engagement levels: It will be extremely hard to exceed our own results. Boom. If your child is in a school of over three or four hundred, we do not believe he/she will have the curricular and extracurricular connection smaller schools provide.
We have spent nearly a decade now in research on small schools which richly demonstrates the advantages they have in academic performance, student engagement levels, student access to leadership opportunities, safety, teacher and parent happiness and connection, and so much else.
I'll be fishing on the Kenai River this week, and that's not a bad place to revisit a question we take less for granted now than ever, a question so many on our faculty ask all year long: What does it mean to be a school? Meanwhile, you can take a little trip right here. We have abstracted around 70 articles and research studies on the impacts of education on students and teachers at more personalized, smaller schools where students are more self-directed. Click here if you want to explore research on great education: smallschoolscoalition.com
Have a great week!
Congratulations to Grauer's Middle School Robotics team, the Grauer Gorillegos, for competing in the First Lego League (FLL) SoCal Regional Tournament at Legoland on Sunday, December 3.
Grauer's Visual and Performing Arts Department presented the first Middle School Café Night event of the year onThursday, November 30. The evening included musical performances and drama monologues presented by the Music and Theatre departments, and colorful art projects presented by the Visual Arts department.
For the past 12 years, The Grauer School has partnered with Conner's Cause for the holidays. This year, The Grauer School has once again adopted 100 Conner's Cause kids and has promised to send them holiday presents from our Grauer "angels." Would you consider helping out this holiday season?
The Grauer School observed the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) International Day of Tolerance on Tuesday, November 21. Students participated in special Tolerance Day workshops organized by Grauer students and faculty.
On Friday, November 17, the Middle School students participated in an afternoon of community service. Some students went to help the Community Resource Center sort donations for their Holiday Basket program, while other students stayed on campus and rotated through service stations.
In World History class, Grauer's 10th grade students have been learning about the Age of Enlightenment. For the culminating activity of the unit, students dressed as their philosopher and attended our "Enlightenment Salon," where they represented the attitudes and opinions of their influential figure.
We would like to extend our gratitude to all of you who took time out of your busy schedules to attend last week's Grandfriends Luncheon program on Friday, November 17. We enjoyed meeting so many wonderful grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends!
Congratulations to Grauer senior Grady L. '18 for signing a National Letter of Intent on November 8, to join the equestrian team at the University of South Carolina, an NCAA Division I school.
Last Wednesday, November 8, the entire Senior class went on a field trip to the courthouse in downtown San Diego to participate in the Justice 101 program. Students from The Grauer School and West Hills High School got the opportunity to have a candid discussion with a Superior Court judge about critical issues facing young adults today.
Congratulations to Mia B. '21 and all of the Grauer students and families who participated in the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) One Walk on Saturday, November 11. Mia organized the Grauer team, and she explained the importance of Juvenile Diabetes research to all of the other Grauer students at the school's weekly assemblies.