The shift to middle school and high school is no small matter. When transitioning into secondary school, students can be placed in a daunting position–one often exacerbated by a large student body and many potential hurdles. Some of these challenges are academic, including workload and class structure. Others are social, such as finding peer groups and navigating moments of bullying and peer pressure.
Regardless, a large school can prove to be a difficult situation to navigate. With so much at stake, students may find the thought of entering a large school overwhelming. Luckily, there is an alternative to the typical bustling hallways, slamming lockers, and endless homework. A small school with a more focused approach is not only possible, but often preferable for students.
At The Tenney School, this is what we strive for. Because we are a smaller school, we’re able to better serve our students’ academic and social needs. And we’ve found that the small-school environment truly does help students succeed.
Instead of large classes where students quickly feel like ‘just another number’, we promote one-to-one learning and instruction. We believe that each student has a unique set of educational needs and strengths, and want to ensure they receive comprehensive academic support. This allows teachers to serve individual students, meeting them where they are, no matter how varied their needs are. As a result, there’s no need to worry about a burdensome workload or oversized classes. Each student is supported and each teacher is given the resources they need.
In addition, smaller schools make it easier for the curriculum to be differentiated, so that each concept is mastered before the student moves on. Teachers are able to ensure that students are able to show true mastery and understanding, rather than simple surface level knowledge before they advance. This is not always possible in a larger school, where a single teacher must oversee classrooms filled with 30-40 students at a time.
Not only that but learning in a smaller school gives the teacher the chance to take the whole student into account, integrating 21st-century skills and preferred learning style. We want students to lean on their strengths while continuing to improve upon their weaknesses, and a small school environment allows that to happen.
Socially, students are able to thrive in smaller schools. The hustle and bustle of large schools are mitigated, and instead, students are able to connect through dedicated events, field trips, clubs, and leadership opportunities. This provides students with the chance to extend their studies and spend time with their peers. This is in line with advice from education.com, which encourages students to participate in clubs and activities. Instead of feeling drowned out by the sheer number of students to compete against, students in a small school become part of a family.
Smaller schools also provide students with more access to designated areas where they can work on projects, listen to music, conduct research, and more. The structure at a small school alleviates the most common social fears a high school student might face. These days all schools have a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying, but at a small school it’s easier to enforce, allowing the entire staff to strive to create a safe space for learning.
The path to secondary school doesn’t need to be an overwhelming one. Within a small school that provides the right support structure, all students can thrive. At The Tenney School, this is our goal. We are committed to ensuring every student is provided with a quality education and the opportunity to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
To find out more about The Tenney School, contact us.