I’ve been wanting to write this blog for some time.
Professionally, I’ve spent over 40 years in education split between high school, small college and now K-12. This is a blog
aimed at the high school level student experience.
In many ways, there are parallels to working with prospective families at the high school and college levels. At the small college level, and at our small high school level, there’s a misconception about the experience students receive. At the college level, it was about engagement, opportunity, and preparation. At C.S. Lewis, there are those same misconceptions.
It’s always been interesting to me when a family makes the decision to either leave our school, or not attend our school, with the reasoning that their student wants to be prepared for the bigger world, and therefore needs a bigger school.
What I have never been able to figure out, and it’s never been explained to me, is just how a larger high school prepares you for the bigger world. Being prepared for the next step in the world is about skill development and experiences that can be transferred to that next level.
Just being around more people doesn’t prepare you for that experience. Unless you’re talking about being bounced around in a crowed hallway preparing you for being bounced around the streets of New York City, the number of students really makes no difference.
Being prepared for the bigger world means having people skills, specifically the ability to deal with adults. To be able to talk to them, converse with them. This is true in a job setting with supervisors, and this is true in a collegiate setting with future professors and college staff.
Small class sizes which leads to a strong connection with high school teachers who know you, care about you, and have time to work with you, develops that ability to deal with adults. It is that comfort, skill and experience that prepares you for the bigger world.
Being part of an environment where you can easily be involved in many opportunities from sports to student government to service is so critical in overall development. Those experiences prepare you for the bigger world.
Being prepared and experienced as a leader is so critically important for growth and preparation and for our world today. In a smaller environment you have exponentially more opportunities to develop leadership skills. It is that experience that prepares you for the bigger world.
Spending those last critical developmental years in a Christian environment, honing your Christian worldview, enhancing a servant leader attitude alongside of others with that same passion are so important. Those lessons prepare you for the bigger world.
Working in small class settings where quality dialogue and even debate between class members can occur is the basis for problem solving and relationship building so needed in our world today. Those skills prepare you for the bigger world.
If a small school is not a good fit for other reasons, and that happens, fine. But if you’re in a small school or evaluating a move to one, please don’t use the small number of people as the reason it won’t prepare a student for the bigger world. Our children go to large sporting events, concerts, malls, and fairs. They get plenty of time to engage with large crowds of people. The number of people is not the issue.
The type of experience, their educational environment and the skill sets learned and developed are the keys to growth and the transition to life beyond high school.