Smaller high schools, which are disappearing across the province as boards look to cut costs, are better for teens, says a report to be released today by People for Education.
At such schools teens feel more connected, are more involved in activities, attend class more often and graduate in higher numbers, the report explains.
The ideal size for a high school is between 600 to 900 students, says the report, which also tracked the number of schools slated to close across the province.
“We looked at research from all over, and particularly in the United States, in terms of school size,” said Annie Kidder of the education advocacy group. “The biggest effect in terms of school size in particular is for students who may be struggling. There’s no question that smaller schools made a difference, for the exact common sense reasons you think they would.”
Students feel visible, they get one-on-one attention and “they feel like they belong,” she said.
The report, which tracked school closings across the province, found 16 Ontario schools closed last year. Right now, 146 will be shut down or are recommended for closing and more than 100 are under re-view.
In Ontario, the average elementary school has 310 students, and secondary 812. In Greater Toronto, the average elementary school has 398 students, while in Northern Ontario that drops to 181.