About SSC

The Small Schools Coalition is a non-profit, no cost, voluntary membership association that advances the interests of small (ideally around 230 students) schools, the families they serve, and the teachers who thrive in this optimal environment.

SSC brings together a collaborative group of like-minded school leaders to provide research on all areas of advancing quality small school environments. SSC provides empowering research and support to member schools and their leaders.  Our research provides compelling evidence to support our small schools programs and to enhance our marketing efforts.  We want your schools, and ours, to gain in stature not only by virtue of the small school environment, but also for our unique ability to prepare our students for college and life, and to provide the best platform for authentic and meaningful teaching relationships.  Through the collaboration SSC provides, we can develop a large-scale, public awareness for the benefits of our programs.

The design and benefits of true small schools enables them to provide elegant, creative, and balanced education not available elsewhere. Small schools are not all things to all people, however, it is our aim to continually define and refine the essential characteristics of small schools so that the small school concept will be available for more students.


Benefits to “friending” the SSC:

  • The SSC disseminates regular bulletins which will be of high interest to the constituents of small schools, hence advancing our work.
  • As an association, we  collect, synthesize, and disseminate findings not only in research, but from our “friend” schools and organizations, raising stature of all SSC schools.
  • Consultations:  SSC experts will consult or address your organization (planners, school board, parent group, district office) in deliberations over school size.
  • We attract, publish and disseminate position papers from and for member schools.
  • Our web-based resource library and website archives aspire to be the most complete repository of secondary education small schools research in the world.
  • We provide a networked community for like-minded school leaders wishing to share resources and interact.
  • Members may post their own weblinks and logos on the SSC website.
  • We serve as a clearinghouse, providing advisement for shared challenge.
  • SSC continually engages in efforts to evaluate, understand and define what is essential and efficacious about small school operations.
  • SSC offers these benefits at no cost to its members.

Testimonial from administrator Crystal Grant,

I am so thankful for the Small Schools Coalition! I found a white paper written by Dr. Stuart Grauer online and emailed him some questions I had. He directed me to your website, and also armed me with other papers he had written. This information was so valuable to my research, and gave me very reliable statistics and information that I could include in my presentation to our District Education Council. I must say the community had done its homework and others presented on various topics as well. We ended up with a unanimous vote to keep our school open! Thank you so much for your support and wonderful resource!









Picture: Jewish teacher, Samarkind, 1910

What are Small Schools? The Small School share common design features and benefits:

  • They are small. Few effective small schools serve more than 400 students, and the maximum benefits occur in schools that serve no more than 230 students.
  • They are self-governing.  The school community—whether it shares a building, administrator, or some co-curricular activities with other schools—retains primary authority to make decisions affecting the important aspects of the school.
  • They are personalized.  Every student is known by several adults, and every student has an advisor/advocate/mentor (formal or informal) who works closely with him/her and his/her family to personalized the student’s path through school. Student-family-advisor relationships continue through the school years.
  • They are inclusive.  Although many are private, all make substantial efforts to include varied demographics.
  • They are distinctive and focused rather than comprehensive. They do not try to be all things to all people.
  • They include stakeholders actively: parents, community members have greater access to campus and administrative activities, and families are in closer touch with faculty members and administrators.
  • They provide benefits that larger and more comprehensive school cannot, including increases in: personal attention, student achievement, safety (emotional and physical), student/family satisfaction/happiness/sense of connectedness, teacher satisfaction and efficacy, graduation rates, etc.

Parameters for School Size, Working Definitions


3 230                       Small college preparatory-style school

3 350                       Small public school

351 – 500/600        Medium school

500/600+                 Large college preparatory School

750+                           Large public school

Congratulations to:

SSC serves to identify and recognize best practice, small schools education.  We wish to extend commendations to the following two small schools, recognized as among the top 5 secondary schools in the nation by US News and World Report.

International Academy

Location: Bloomfield Hills, MI
Enrollment: 157
Economically Disadvantaged Students (% of Total Enrollment): 0.6
Minority Enrollment (% of Total): 3.2
Quality-Adjusted Exams Per Test Taker: 5.7
College Readiness Index: 100.0

School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Location: Dallas, TX
Enrollment: 209
Economically Disadvantaged Students (% of Total Enrollment): 24.9
Minority Enrollment (% of Total): 51.2
Quality-Adjusted Exams Per Test Taker: 8.0
College Readiness Index: 100.0

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