I recently attended an open house of the Laboratory Charter School, a local charter school that has several sites, one of the largest being in my neighborhood of Northern Liberties. The Northern Liberties school goes from K to 8. I had urged a few of my friends with toddlers to attend and consider the charter school a possible venue for their children’s education. I myself attended out of professional curiosity.
I was impressed. In fact, I’d say that the school does a lot of things that are worth emulating in any urban school. I was going to discuss them in one post, but it got insanely long, so I’m actually going to start my first post series: “Things I Like About the Lab School, Or Some Reflections on Urban School Reform.”
While I’m well-versed in all the support for the small-school reform movement, I do remember that there’s research suggesting that 200 is a threshold in terms of community familiarity; a population below 200 generally allows everyone to at least recognize and see with some regularity everyone else in the community, above 200 that overall face-recognition is lost. It seems to me that staying, then, that staying within that boundary could be pretty advantageous in cultivating the culture and spirit of a school.
Interestingly, a parent remarked that a class of 25 could be considered unwieldy. At my private school, my class sizes tend to range from 15 to 20. The principal made the point, however, that the problems of a larger class size are circumvented when you have a well-managed class within a culture of orderly protocol.