Sunday, November 14, 2010

Basin School in the news

Alana Listoe of Lee Newspapers in Montana tells this charming story of the Basin School:

According to Tammy Urich, or "Ms. U" to the students, the average number of students during her 18 years at the school has been 24. Since school funding is based on the number of students, 14 students means less money for the operating budget.

"The board talked about if there becomes 10 or less reducing to one teacher, so we are really worried," Urich said.

The environment isn't for everyone, and Urich said it either clicks or it doesn't for both families and teachers.

Rhandi Rachlis loves spending time with the school children.

On this day, she walked by during recess and said hello to the teachers and the children. She was on her way to the fire hall to display a photo of all the children with the local fire truck.

Rachlis, 73, reads to students twice a week at the school through Rocky Mountain Development Council's Foster Grandparent Program.

"These kids are like a family with each other," she said. "They get wonderful individualized attention, the teachers know the community, and all that gives them a learning advantage. They care about each other and the teachers, and it's mutual. There's a quality of respect that's fostered there, and I think it's really powerful."

Rhandi has been an anchor on the Basin Volunteer Fire Department for thirty years, is a Founding Mother of the Montana Artists Refuge, owns the historic Diott Building (green front on the right in the photo, the Hewitt on the left houses the Refuge), and hosts Tom Elliott's yoga practice in her backyard on summer evenings. The second-story south classroom in the school is our space otherwise.

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