This iBerkshires article tells the story of the small elementary school in Stamford, Vermont and the successes it has had.

Williams sent 17 of its foreign students (representing Southeast Asia, Asia and South America) to speak with Stamford students in grades five through eight. They spoke in their native languages and brought homemade foods, including a very special chocolate, to the delight of the students.

Ethier [school principal] said he saw that as ” a tremendous experience in diversity for kids from a small Vermont community.”

The Williams girls’ hockey team has conducted gym classes, a Williams student offers a four-to-five-week Spanish program.

Besides the connection to Williams students, there is this interesting description of the school’s finances and philosophy.

The pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school, with only 79 students, made the grade while its 2005 per pupil spending was $7,120, just $320 above the minimum allowed by the state and far below the statewide average. The expenditure also included $130,000 spent for a new roof.

Principal Leo Ethier, who has been at the Stamford helm for 32 years, is a strong, no-nonsense role model who has created continuity and a commitment to excellence that students, parents and teachers are proud to follow. According to Ethier, money does not buy a good education. He attributes his school’s success to “basic teaching methods” — the kind of learning that many experienced one or two generations ago — and the fact that he and teachers set “high expectations” for their kids. The math textbooks are not the very newest, but Ethier said, “Math hasn’t changed that much,” and his students are doing just fine, thank you.

If I were a tax payer in Williamstown, I would want to know how the spending at our elementary school stacks up against the spending at Stamford’s.

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