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Dr. Grauer's Column - Small School Sittin’ On A Rainbow

The Grauer School is a small school by design. We're seeing a proliferation of small school networks, because the world needs more small, safe, and real organizations that really connect us. Here’s what you need to know.

Small School Sittin’ On A Rainbow

A couple decades ago, we began seeing data that had never been noticed: The small school is safer, higher performance, and more connected. 


Dr. Grauer handing out freshly-squeezed orange juice and garden produce from the school's garden to Grauer students and families - May 31, 2023

The world is catching on to a proliferation of small school networks. They are forming nationally and internationally. They are asking us for help because we have been at it longer at this point. We are seeing new material:

The smaller school needs fewer supply chains.
The small school needs no unions – we are the union!
We are “the change we want to see in the world.”
The small school is the real economy of scale.

The small school is the antidote to a “never enough” world: Pays its own way, needs fewer banks and bankers. The small school is not $75 million in debt. We are enough. Simple.

"Against all odds, honey, we’re the big door prize." (John Prine)

We are not a system. We are not an institution. We are not a thing. We are not virtual. Our intelligence is not artificial, it is real, and we are here to experience the curvature of life rather than the straight lines. We are not a race. We cannot be captured by any ranking. We are neither fair nor unfair. We are not lost, we are finding our way.

Dr. Grauer playing pickleball with Grauer students and Visual Arts teacher Johnny King - May 31, 2023

We are kids: We are not practicing to become anything else. We are great at being kids, yearning and in pain, joyful at times, and coming of age our whole lives. Unfixable. “In the cost-benefit analysis of coming of age…” is not a sentence.

It’s nice to be heard, and witnessed, as small schools do best. It can take a while, but we come around together. We are the club and the affinity group. We are connected, and sufficient. There is nothing real to win. 

We are quick on our feet. You can’t catch us. But try, because the world needs small, local, connected, intimate, real organizations, and we love you being in them.

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Photos for Dr. Grauer's Column

Dr. Grauer handing out freshly-squeezed orange juice and garden produce from the school's garden to Grauer students and families - May 31, 2023

Dr. Grauer playing pickleball with Grauer students and Visual Arts teacher Johnny King - May 31, 2023

Fearless Teaching® Book
by Dr. Stuart Grauer

Fearless Teaching® is a stirring and audacious jaunt around the world that peeks—with the eyes of one of America’s most seasoned educators–into places you will surely never see on your own. Some are disappearing. It is a bit like playing hooky from school. You will travel to the Swiss Alps, Korea, Navajo, an abandoned factory in Missouri, the Holy Land, the Great Rift Valley, the schools of Cuba, the ocean waves, and the human subconscious—oh, and Disneyland.

There you will find colorful stories for the encouragement, inspiration, and courage needed by educators and parents. Fearless Teaching is not a fix-it book—it is more a way of seeing the world and the school so that you can stay in your work and focus on what matters most to you.

"Grauer’s writing reminds us that Great Teaching, singular, rare, unusual, is something that should be sought after and found. Thank you.”
Richard Dreyfuss, Actor, Oxford scholar, founder of The Dreyfuss Initiative

Click here to order Fearless Teaching® today

Dr. Grauer's Column: Archive of Past Columns

Dr. Grauer's Column - Teen Mental Health Crisis, Redux

Social media is an extremely unregulated world that is bringing damage to our kids. If social media were somehow a physical world, we would never allow our kids there. Parents: read this week's column and take Dr. Grauer's challenge for your kids this summer! 

Dr. Grauer's Column - A New Kind of Toast

This week's column shares the speech that Dr. Grauer presented at The Grauer School's 2023 Gala, about the transformative power of nature on the minds and hearts of our students and teachers. 

Dr. Grauer's Column - The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done

Dr. Grauer shares a transformational experience from The Grauer School's recent expedition to France, where students and chaperones hiked up Mont Blanc in the French Alps. This experience pushed the students outside of their comfort zones to the place where real learning occurs outside in nature.

Dr. Grauer's Column - A Hero Turns 100

This week's column is a tribute to educational legend John Holt, one of Dr. Grauer's heroes. No modern educator has challenged us more in making student voice and imagination the central focus of teaching and learning.

Dr. Grauer's Column - The Power Of Fun

This refreshing column explores the life-changing power of fun, in a radical challenge to The Grauer School's Senior Class. What if "real fun" were as important as academic pursuits in a student's journey through school?

Dr. Grauer's Column - 60 Years Of Research On Small Schools

Grauer’s mission is to advance educational technology, methodology and connections as we strive for better ways to teach and learn. For 32 years, the secondary school at Grauer has been a “lab school,” enabling us to create, develop and evaluate methods to the above ends.