Small VT school struggles with low enrollment

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ROCHESTER (AP) -- One of Vermont’s smallest K-12 schools is trying to transform itself to attract more students as townspeople prepare to discuss its future and the state weighs whether to disband the supervisory union that oversees the school.

School officials, staff and students at the Rochester School want to continue operating a high school, but the number of students is so small the course offerings are limited and per student spending is high.

The Valley News reports (http://bit.ly/1a6i7qw) that residents will discuss the school on Jan. 13 and then vote the next day on a non-binding referendum on whether to continue to operate a high school or cut back to grades K-8. The school currently has 147 students, with 55 in high school.

Principal Catherine Knight is leading a thorough reorganization of the school, creating three academies that will focus on technology, the performing arts and sustainability. She says the school doesn’t have the teachers or the classes but it can be more creative.

"It’s a beautiful little school and we have some amazing attributes," Knight said.

Rochester, a town of 1,100, is located along Route 100 amid the Green Mountains.

The Vermont Board of Education voted recently to put off until June a vote on whether to dissolve the Windsor Northwest Supervisory Union and assign its six towns to other districts.


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