ERIC Number: ED448001
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
When the School Is the Community: A Case Study of Fourche Valley School, Briggsville, Arkansas.
Hadden, Patricia Demler
Fourche Valley School District in central Arkansas has a single K-12 school serving 157 students. Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Fourche Valley is unusually isolated and lacking in economic opportunity, leading to "low aspirations" among students who desire to remain in the area. Nevertheless, the school is thriving in the face of adversity and serves as the true center of the community in the absence of any local governing bodies or civic organizations. Interviews and focus groups with administrators, high school teachers, parents, students, and other community members revealed various signs of school success and progress: a positive school climate characterized by friendliness and caring; a beautifully maintained school facility; access to technology and distance education partnerships with other small districts; recent improvements in curriculum and instruction and an emphasis on relevance in curriculum; uncommon professional development strategies; extensive engagement of community adults in school activities; strong leadership by the superintendent, principal, and school board president; a long-term partnership with Arkansas Tech University; and addition of new talented teachers following state-mandated pay raises. Despite these characteristics, the school's survival ultimately depends on the economic viability of the valley and the ability of the district to hold off state advocates of consolidation. (SV)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Community Involvement, Community Schools, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Environment, Geographic Isolation, High Schools, Institutional Survival, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Small Schools
AEL, Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348 ($20/book). Tel: 800-624-9120 (Toll Free); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.