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In Rural School Districts, Education Is a Community Affair

In Rural School Districts, Education Is a Community Affair

In Eastern Washington, one rural school district of just 96 students gives insight into how rural schools benefit the community as a whole as students and residents give back to each other.

The Harrington School is a school that sits in a community of just 400 people and touts a 100 % graduation rates, according to proud educators.

"There are 96 students who are bused to Harrington School from a 328-square-mile area. Younger and older classes are separated by a gym, an auditorium and a swimming pool. A typical graduating class ranges from eight to 15 students, and Harrington boasts a 100 percent graduation rate several years running," according to The Seattle Times.

And in the Harrington School, one-on-one attention allows for students to enjoy small class sizes and freedom to try different extracurriculars. "If students try out for a sport, they won’t be cut. If they want a leadership role in clubs like FFA or Future Business Leaders of America, chances are they’ll get one."

Despite Harrington's small size, school leaders ensure that students still get a well-rounded educational experience through sports and alternative electives.

Harrington students team up with nearby districts to win state championships and participate in week-long musical events to make up for lacking electives like drama and choir, according to the article.

But what Harrington residents, educators, and students alike view as the best part of living in a rural school district is that education is a community affair. Since the small town has few places to gather, the school is the "hot spot."

The article gives an example of one Harrington resident who gives back to the school. Linda Colbert and her husband own a farm in town, but Linda also drives a bus for the district and gives what she can from her farm to benefit the students in town.

For example, "FFA students raise pigs in pens on her farmland. In October, all the students go to pick a pumpkin in her patch," according to the article.

In return for the community's help, students volunteer their time doing good around town. "Students clean up roads, serve dinner at the Lions Club, rake leaves and help with setup and teardown at town events."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/21/2015

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