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SFSU Online Magazine Fall/Winter 2003

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Two high school students working together on a science experiment. One records observations while the other looks on. Small school students Jordan Bastasin and Tiffany Calonsag consult on a science experiment. Photo by Lui Gino de Grandis

Small School, Big Benefits
Bryan Alston thought he'd spend his freshman year at overcrowded Galileo High School, but when he heard about the new school with just 100 students opening at SFSU, he quickly applied.

"The classes are small and I get more attention from my teacher. I know that if I was at a larger high school I wouldn't get that," said Alston, 14, who likes studying in the J. Paul Leonard Library and conducting experiments in the science labs.

Directed by Nathan Avani, chair of Secondary Education, Small School for Equity opened in August. The school is a partnership between the University and the San Francisco Unified School District and joins a national trend that finds more teens attending high school on college campuses. Supporters point to research showing that students across all socioeconomic levels excel when they are part of smaller, more intimate learning communities.

"I was losing my son in his last school—the teachers weren't paying attention to him," said parent Lydia Spencer. "Being in this school has given [him] confidence and self-esteem. … He's interested in learning. He's taking part in studying. … He doesn't want to miss a day of school."

Small School classes are held in Burk Hall. The school is funded and managed by the school district. Teachers work closely with SFSU faculty on curriculum, research and professional development.

-- Christina Holmes


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Last modified February 16, 2004, by the Office of Publications