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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