Monday, May 28, 2012

Slipping Through The Cracks: Does School Size Matter?

As a high school principal, this time of year comes with mixed emotions. On the one hand,  I am excited for the Gr. 12 students to leave our school, for them to fully extend their wings and make a positive difference in the world.  On the other hand, I am a little sad to say "good bye" to the so many awesome young people who we have seen mature and grow into inspiring young adults.

Last week, we hosted our annual Graduation Dinner & Dance.  This is an occasion where the community comes together to celebrate high school graduation.  To start the evening, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing each member of the class as they enter the ballroom.

As I introduced each student, I had a rush of memories.  With each student came a different story.

I realized that for this class, like the others before them, each person comes to end of high school with an individual story and coinciding journey.

For the some the journey is relatively smooth, for others the journey has been extremely bumpy - from turmoil, loss, disappointment and sadness to great joy, laughter and success.

Regardless of the type of journey, I was honoured, as a their principal, to have some insight into each students  respective journey.  To be invited along - so to speak.

I felt equally assured in knowing that the students had other teachers whom they formed even deeper relationships with.

As I reflected on this, I  also wondered if  our relatively small size, (just over 500 students in Grades 8 to 12) as a school, puts us at an advantage in our ability to foster meaningful relationships with our students?  Our smaller size allows us, teachers and administrators, to intervene and respond to all situations (big & small) as they arise.

We often say that "no student falls through the cracks".  This is a good and necessary reality for our community.

For what it's worth - I do think that school size matters.

I'd be interested in hearing from others and their thoughts on this.....does school size matter?


  1. It does! You may give up some choice and opportunity but small schools have an advantage when it comes to developing relationships and connectivity. Now, before the bigger schools object to this statement, I am sure a positive tone and supportive structure is possible above the 800 mark, but I think it takes some extra energy and commitment (and leadership) to make it happen. Well written JB.

  2. School size does matter. I'm in a small school now and have deep and rich relationships with the students. The school I started with in grade 12 had over 2500 students; the school I actually graduated from had close to 2000. Other than one or two teachers, I had no relationship with any staff, much less administration. At my current school, my grads asked me to pick their music for the slide show presentation we do for every grad. I felt very honoured by their request. I could not have done that in a large school.