Tim Taylor

Small School District Association
Sacramento, California
Tim Taylor, Executive Director

Small School District Association Survey Reports Significant Gains

Much research, including research conducted by the Small School District Association, has been dedicated to the closure of the Digital Divide to provide more equitable access to technology for students from small school districts. Throughout the summer and still, education leaders across the nation are seeking answers to safely operate schools.

It is my privilege as Executive Director of the Small School District Association, SSDA, to observe some of the greatest educational minds in action. Small school leaders innovate out of necessity, all the time. There is no back up and no plan B. Their students and their communities rely on them to answer impossible questions about how to safely continue to provide a quality education to students. I have witnessed how these leaders have enabled students to succeed academically and thrive socially and emotionally.

I believe the innovativeness of this sector may be a resource for the development of and documentation of valuable techniques and best practices centered around community-based education. I have been highly impressed with the work done by one of our board members, Dr. Amy Alzina of Cold Springs Elementary District. In the spring, Cold Spring Elementary District missed zero school days and documented 100% participation.

When schools in Santa Barbara were denied eligibility to open schools, Dr. Alzina successfully petitioned to open her school. Cold Springs Elementary, a tiny school district of 178 students, was the only school in Santa Barbara to open full time in person, with no incidences of COVID to date. Operating five days per week, students and educators practice COVID safety protocols and ensure their ability to continue learning.

Every single physical space on campus is in use to keep groups to a small number. Forty volunteers spent many hours creating a safe and effective learning environment. Students are present, they are learning, they are playing, they are thriving. This is the power of small school districts, backed by dedicated, tight-knit communities like Montecito. It is the strength of the community that empowers our small districts and provides the foundation for education and life-long confidence.