The Little School That Could

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In 2013 the North East School District voted to close down Dugger schools.

But the community put up a good fight and after making some changes, Dugger has now been back up and running for two years.

They are currently under a Grace College authorized charter and they provide classes for kindergarten through 12th grade students. 

Administrator Darin Simpson says the community worried that if the school shut down, the town would hold true to history and diminish, as they have seen with other towns in similar situations.

“The community felt strongly that if the school dies, the community dies,” said Darin Simpson, Dugger Administrator.

Dugger didn’t give up and is now experiencing their highest enrollment in the school’s history.

“That out of those 340 kids, none of them have to go here. Every single one of them chose to go here because we don’t have a school district,” said Simpson.

The 340 is spread throughout all grade levels and with enrollment rates so high, and continuing to grow.

It won’t be long before they have to open up doors that have been sealed for a long time.

“We have several classrooms in the high school that we could use, and things like that. So we have plenty of room it is just a matter of if our enrollment keeps going up then we need to get more classrooms ready,” said Simpson.

When asked about the secret to the schools new found success Simpson said it is all in the staff.

“I don’t think that it is any major change. I think it is just, we have staff members that we feel like that take that extra step to show the kids that they care about them,” said Simpson.

And though teachers are a crucial part in keeping the school a float, Simpson said that it takes a community effort to keep a school in tip top shape.

“We have a team of professionals here that do their job. But it just goes to show that we need those extra people to help out to make it work,” said Simpson.

Since they reopened in 2015 community members have reached out wanting to help with the upkeep of the school by mowing grass and repairing what time has worn down.

Simpson thinks, maybe the shut down was exactly what Dugger needed.

Simpson said, “you know I think it was something where you don’t know what you have until it is gone.”

 

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