OK, I thought a bit about the schooling situation.

The setting is as follows: Spring Creek has 638 inhabitants, the surrounding area ~300, the reservation something along this line. Together somewhere around 1300.

In average 20 kids are born each year, and as many people die. The major reason for a slowly shrinking population is, that most young people leave the town for college, and few enough return.

So what we are facing is an elementary school (age 5 to 12) with 60 kids, and an high school (age 13 to 16/17) with 80 kids. Are such small schools even possible in the USA?

I very much dislike the idea of artificial demographics, so any suggestions where and how the kids of Spring Creek are best schooled?

I live in NH, but before that in a little town called Concord VT.. In Concord, all the kids attended one school... K-12. in an isolated community like this, that's not far fetched at all.

Really, your only other option would be a long bus trip every day for most kids, so long as you want to keep the town isolated.

Hmm. I'd bump up the surrounding population to be about equal with that of the town proper, but assume that a significant percentage of the people on the reservation handle their own schooling. That'd get you a population of something like 250-300 school kids, and enough for a plausible combined school for grades K-12. That's large enough to have a wrestling team and other major programs.

EDIT: Basically what Kyris said.

If I was putting this fictional town on a map, I'd say Spring Creek is probably somewhere in Custer County. It's gorgeous terrain, mostly given over to state parks. Most of the local industry is tourism and mining. The nearest town of any size would be Custer (pop. 2000), but the nearest city would be Rapid City, and the road to it would presumably be the one choked with speed traps. The reservation would be Pine Ridge, which is huge, storied, and achingly poor (I'd assume that only a sliver of the reservation has close ties to Spring Creek).

^That's just a suggestion. It could easily be too much real world fussiness for game purposes.

*nod* So do how big do such schools have to be? Over here we have very varying minima. In some states of Germany the minimum for classes is 13 kids, in others it's 24. Both for elementary school. High schools over here need at LEAST 28, usualy 2x28 pupils.

So over here Spring Creek would have troubles to keep their high school ... and even the elementary school could be put on the chopping block.

EDIT: Ninjaed. ^^

OK, lets assume its a very small school, with 12 grades each with about 15 to 25 pupils. Good enough for me to get a feeling for what we are talking about.

Heh. Connington, you and I very much agree about Spring Creek's likely location. I imagined it in the eastern end of the county, which is pretty wide open on the map with plenty of room for an anomalous mile-deep valley.

In "real life," it appears that the small towns of eastern Custer County have their own elementary and middle schools (if large enough), but the only high school is in Custer itself. However, since Spring Creek is a large addition to the county and we need it for the story, I can certainly imagine a small local high school serving the eastern population of the county. (And it does look like they have a real-life wrestling program.)

Oryzarius, I hadn't noticed your post in the old forum. It's kind of scary that we both picked out the eastern section of Custer County as the best real world location. Although I suppose it makes sense considering that we were both looking for sparsely populated stretches in the Black Hills.

Actually I did have Custer county in mind as well, the main reason why I just plainly stated it, is a 85% native american population. Which is nice by itself, but for this setting we need a predominantly "settlers" town. Well, we just replace one of the cities. Afaik whytwyzard is almost done with the map anyway.

Such small schools are definitely possible, I myself went to a middle school with only 80 kids in it.

I'm not sure about Colorado but in my state in the USA every kid goes to a middle school as well, I haven't experienced an age division the way you're describing it.

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