An Entire School District in Montana Exists for Only One Student

student and teacher enter a school houseSome people think that smaller class sizes are the answer to improving the quality of education that students in America receive. However, I doubt that anybody would really want to have a class – or even more shocking, an entire school district – that only has one student enrolled for the school year. Yet, for Amber Leetch, a sixth grader in Greenough, Montana, this strange scenario is just her daily life.

Amber is the only student in the entire Sunset School District 30. The school district is in a prosperous ranching corner of Montana and the district consists of a one-room school house, one student, and one teacher.

“The hardest part is getting through the day without feeling too lonely,” Amber said about her unusual learning environment.

Earlier this year, there was one other student enrolled in the school district; however, the first-grader only attended classes for a few weeks. Now, the long school-days are shared by only Amber, her teacher, Toni Hatten, and the new school dog, Baylee.

Amber, Toni, and Baylee spend their whole days together. This guarantees that Amber is constantly receiving her teacher’s undivided attention, which is not necessarily as good as it may sound.

“You’re their lunch buddy, their P.E. buddy, their recess buddy,” Toni said of working with only one student all day long. “You’re their everything.”

That sure does seem like a lot of pressure for one person. However, it also allows student and teacher to work at their own pace in order to ensure that Amber really is learning at the best of her abilities.

“If she doesn’t get something, we’ll work on it longer,” Toni said. “That’s the beauty of one student.”

Of course, there are some people who say that this extremely small school district is a bad idea. The school district has an annual budget of $83,000, which is certainly a lot of money for only one child’s education. In a time where states are doing everything they can to save a few pennies in order to make up for the budget cuts they are currently facing, it would make more financial sense to send Amber to another school district and shut down the Sunset School District 30. Maybe this is exactly what will happen in a few years, when Amber goes to another city to attend high school. However, for now, the small school district is invaluable to Amber and her family, and personally, I think it is pretty cool myself.

Via The New York Times. Image via

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