Did you think that one-room schoolhouses have disappeared along with horse and buggies? Well, think again. There are 200 one-room public schoolhouses still functioning in rural America, and a Chicago newspaper recently carried a news story, complete with picture, about one functioning on a mountain top in Montana. At dawn, a small school bus starts its hour and a half drive to gather up the school's nine children, the entire student body, and deliver them t o the one-room schoolhouse. This may seem impossible in the modern times of overflowing classrooms, yet this is a practical necessity because Spring Creek Public School is 72 miles away from the nearest public elementary school.
Spring Creek School is located in a town called Decker, which is just a pause in the road in southern Big Horn County near the border of Montana and Wyoming. The Census Bureau logs the population at 119, but the locals joke and say that number must include some of the cows.
Spring Creek School begins its day with the Pledge of Allegiance. The class is led by 32-year-old Creighton Teter, who is combination teacher, principal and janitor. He has two full-time aides to help him deal with kids at different grade levels. The school has no gym, but it does have a gym class. They do exercises according in instructions played on a DVD.
Spring Creek students are taught according to the same state guidelines and given the same standardized tests as kids in the bigger schools, but academics are crafted for individuals, not grade levels. There is a big difference, however, between Spring Creek and other public schools. According to the district superintendent, Spring Creek students consistently outscore the kids in regular public schools.
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