Reedy WV school is "living proof" that
kids do better in community schools

Lunch hour ad-hoc football on school's playground

By Bob Weaver

While corporate models of business continue to destruct rural communities, there are rays of light that speak loudly about the virtue of the small.

"Children learn better in a community school. Reedy is living proof," said Lori Gibson, principal of the 165-pupil Reedy Elementary in Roane County.

The small school has increased enrollment because parents want their children there and was the best performing school in the county this past year, according to superintendent Steve Goffreda.

Students exhibited high performance in math and reading, a problem that plagues the educational system in West Virginia.

Gibson (pictured left) said "Our entire staff operates under a philosophy of commitment toward the development of the whole child, their social and mental needs."

"We acknowledge each student has different needs at different times, and we're dedicated to trying to meet those needs and keep the children focused on learning," Gibson said.

"Education becomes important to them," she added.

Reedy has achieved a reputation of really delivering, so much so that out-of-area parents started enrolling and driving their children to the school.

Now, the school system provides a designated pick-up point which allows parents to drop-off their kids for bus transportation to Reedy.

"A wonderful situation has developed," said Goffreda.

Goffreda (pictured left) said a community survey was done related to returning the sixth grade to Reedy. "It was a real eye-opener with hundreds of comments."

"Reedy is a wonderful school the way each child is treated."

"Beyond the subjects, they are taught respect for others, kindness, trustworthiness and responsibility. Their actions show they truly care."

"The school has a great mission. We drive our children there every day because we know it is a great place."

"I think the longer our children can be in this wonderful school, the better."

Many parents commented they would like to see the 7th and 8th grade returned to the community school.

After enrollment dropped to about 80 a few years ago and the county system removed sixth grade in 2003 to Spencer to maintain declining numbers for the town's middle school, surprisingly the community school began to flourish, including the pre-school program.

"They built their own school up," said Goffreda, and now, local sixth grade students have been returned to the community.

In a time where large, consolidated schools are promoted by the state system, Gibson acknowledged it has been tough keeping the school open using the funding stream. "We've adapted all over the place and with personnel to keep the school afloat," she said.

The principal also teaches physical education.

Government has adopted such business models as economies of scale, merging, centralizing, consolidating, and globalizing to deliver education and virtually every other service.

They surely forget that such moves assault the social, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for people of place.

Bigger cookie-cutter schools leave more children behind.

Reedy students benefit from "a philosophy of commitment toward
the development of the whole child, their social and mental needs."