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Smaller, Safer, Saner: Successful Schools

NCJ Number
Joe Nathan; Karen Febey
Date Published
68 pages
This report presents research on the effectiveness of small schools on student learning and the value of schools that share facilities with other organizations along with case studies from schools representing 12 States that have created these types of schools.
Research on small schools, whether in urban, suburban, or rural areas, show these schools as safer and where students learn more. In addition, research indicates that school buildings that share space with other organizations can offer youth a better education and use taxes more efficiently. This report contains four major sections: (1) summary of the benefits of small schools to students and educators; (2) a discussion on the experiences with shared facilities; (3) a description of school facilities nationwide making good use of the research; and (4) a list of resources that can provide additional information and assistance. In the third section, case studies of 22 public school buildings in 12 States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington are presented representing urban, suburban, and rural communities and their implementation of these schools. Conclusions drawn from the research shows that smaller schools can provide a safer place for students, a more positive and challenging environment, higher achievement, higher graduation rates, fewer discipline problems, and much greater satisfaction for families, students, and teachers. Schools that share facilities with other organizations can offer broader learning opportunities for students, higher student achievement and better graduation rates, and a way to stretch and make more efficient use of tax dollars.