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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!

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