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Grier Wants to Create Smaller High Schools



San Diego Unified School Superintendent Terry Grier wants smaller high schools. But first he has to convince a wary school board and public. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

Grier says creating small learning environments for teenagers is the key to boosting graduation rates. That's why he's pushing for smaller high schools.

But some say Grier's idea comes at a bad time. The district is considering closing its small elementary schools. Grier wants to replace those campuses with small high schools.

Grier: Because if I've got a small high school where kids that have dropped out will come back, or kids will graduate, that is a tremendous financial incentive for the district. Because the only way we get money is with student attendance. Well , you're not in attendance if you've dropped out and quit.

But critics say there are a number of small high schools in the district that are not making the grade.

Longtime school trustee John de Beck says that's because former superintendents rushed plans without thinking about the details. 

De Beck: Divide them up, that was the mandate. Not, 'I know how to do this,' or  'I have the leadership to do this.' You can't create something like this unless you have a cadre of people who know what they're talking about.

De Beck and other school trustees want Grier to fix struggling high schools before creating new ones.

So far, Grier has launched an audit of every small high school in the district.

Grier: We cannot fall into this trap in San Diego that if we've tried it in San diego then we should never try it again. How many times do you fail before you succeed?

District officials say Proposition S school bond money would help pay for small high schools.  

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News. 


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