Re: DSM:teachers

Samuel Atwood (
Fri, 23 Oct 1998 09:58:51 -0400

Roxanne Grandis wrote:

> Hello,
> I am new on this list. I'm an English teacher at a school called Open High
> in Richmond, Virginia. Open is not a Sudbury school, but it is an
> alternative school that focuses on democratic learning. Teachers design
> their own classes, and all teachers go by their first names. Open is
> organized more like a college than a high school. We use narrative
> evaluations instead of grades, but we are a public school, so we must
> conform to state standards of learning.
> I read about the Sudbury school model after deciding to teach a research
> class next semester on alternative education. I have a few questions that
> I'm hoping you could answer.
> 1. Do teachers at a Sudbury school have specialties? Does one teacher
> concentrate on English, while another teacher focuses on math or science?

Well, yes and no. At SVS most staff have listed tasks, witch are there
expertise, although it's normally not something like English or math.

> 2. I've been following the posts about student choice. What happens if a
> student simply hates a subject? Can a student choose to study no math at
> all? Does something like this ever happen?

Student don't have to take classes, period. If a student likes or wants to learn
more on a subject that student can join a class, or, if no such class exists,
can get a group of kids to start a class.

> 3. Who can attend a school like this? Are there certain requirements, or
> can any student attend? What happens to students who are learning disabled?
> Do they also thrive in this sort of environment?

Anyone. However, sometimes a kid can't exist in the school due to a disability.
Kids who have "learning disabilities" are treated the same.

> 4. Are there any requirements for graduation?

Yes. In my school (SVS) you must write a thesis and then defend it in front of
the assembly. Then there is a meeting of the assembly to award diplomas.

> Thanks for answering my questions. I don't have any children as of yet, but
> when I do, I want my child to attend a Sudbury School!
> Roxanne Grandis

  - Sam

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