One-room schools still exist in America. They are a legacy of a less mobile, more rural time in American history. Mostly serving isolated communities, the remaining schools require one teacher to educate children of varying ages at the same time in a single classroom.
In most one-room schools, there are few students. The result is a good student-teacher ratio. At Lennep Elementary in Meagher County, Mont., for example, four students, from kindergarten through fifth grade study at their own speed. All of them, the teacher says, are advancing at a rapid pace.
It's also not unusual for students to have the same teacher for many years in a row, a concept referred to as "looping" when it's used in larger schools. And in one-room schools, the older students often help the younger ones.
These qualities make one-room schools unique centers of learning, worth a second look from a world that has passed them by. But the schools are often more than a place to get an education. They are also important centers of community activity for the rural areas where they still exist.
Back when I was a young teacher I very much wanted the opportunity to teach in a one-room school. I still think it's a model that could well help today's children learn and thrive. I'm glad a few still exist.