Why a K-8 School?
Educational research, substantiating the reflections of our alum, support the incredible importance and educational significance of choosing an educational setting committed to long-term, consistent small class size.
“When classes are small enough to allow individual student-teacher interaction, a minor miracle occurs: Teachers teach and students learn.”
–LouAnne Johnson, the teacher whose life inspired the movie, “Dangerous Minds”
The additional benefits of a small class size within a small, K-8 school
In addition to facilitating academic excellence, there are additional benefits of a small class size within the context of a small, K-8 school.
- A small school allows for students to be well known within a community.
- It provides a sense of security that allows students to take risks and try new experiences.
- In a small school community, all students are needed to participate, whether on athletic teams, dramatic productions, or music ensembles.
- In such a supportive community, it becomes natural to do everything rather than take a back seat; students gain the experience of pushing their comfort zone, while always knowing they can ask for support when needed. Students are in turn strengthened by what they learn from trying on roles they might not be asked to fill in a larger school. In so doing, they discover their strengths, work on their weaknesses and ultimately gain confidence.
- In a small school, it is easier for children to draw connections between their actions and their impact on their community.
- Furthermore, a small community requires children to develop the ability to work things out among their peers, rather than retreat into like-minded groups.
- In a small school, the values of positive adult role models are more easily reinforced. As students grow, as they are looked to as role models by their younger peers, each student is called by the community to put their best self forward.
Finally, a K through 8 grade school structure provides a very different experience from a K through 12 grade experience.
- In a K through 8 grade school, 8th grade is a year long culminating event, rather than a stop on the way to high school.
- Eighth graders are celebrated for the mature people they have grown into, not the high schooler they are about to become.
- School traditions provide a yearly progression of leadership roles, in which students anticipate what is expected of them at each level including sitting alongside their teachers during celebrations, leading tours of the school as part of the Crossed Keys club.
- By 8th grade, St. Peter’s students are well prepared to be school leaders. Through a year long series of responsibilities, challenges, and accomplishments, eighth graders gain a deeper of their abilities and the confidence that comes with being leaders and tackling challenges.
Overall, the educational research that is currently available reaffirms that our school’s greatest strength, is its small class sizes. This has been the school’s tradition for 176 years and this will continue to be the school’s primary objective and the setting for delivering a well-rounded and rigorous education for our students.