DSM: RE: When is a school a Sudbury Model school?

Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Wed, 13 Dec 2000 20:26:20 -0500


Existing Sudbury Schools _never_ officially recognize whether another school
is a Sudbury School or not. I think that's very important to point out.

In my view, a startup group learns about the model and decides whether their
going to open a Sudbury Model school or not. If they start a school which
is not going to follow the model, then it gains them nothing to call their
school a Sudbury School because it will attract folks who want it to be one.
If they start one that tends to follow the model, they generally will call
their school a Sudbury Model school, but sometimes do not. Additionally
there are several schools that resemble, to varying degrees, a Sudbury Model
school that, for obvious reasons choose not to call themselves one. There
is also a school which resembled a Sudbury Model school, discovered the
model, and then started calling themselves a Sudbury Model school.

The topic of defining schools a Sudbury or not is a very touchy subject, and
my impression of the feeling of the community is that it's best not to have
someone in the position where they are doing that on behalf of a school or
group of schools.

As far as what I think is a Sudbury Model school, I think if one of the
following two conditions are not met:

1) School Meeting consisting of staff and students democratically govern the
school (including determining staff and student body), and

2) Learning is student-initiated,

the school is _not_ a Sudbury Model school.

I think the one that was challenged is JC; there are schools that have an
alternative way to deal with the issues that JC obstensibly deals with.
Naturally, School Meeting, which governs the school, determines the kind, if
any, of body that serves to balance the rights of individuals versus the
rights of the community.

I don't think a school in which Staff is not accountable to School Meeting
can reasonably be considered a Sudbury Model school.

I should say that this topic has big time "can o' worms" potential...

I've never encountered Second Foundation School so I can't really answer
your questions about them.

-Joe J.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org
[mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org]On Behalf Of Jeanne
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2000 7:55 PM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org
Subject: DSM: When is a school a Sudbury Model school?


I know that there was a discussion about this a while back and several
contributors felt that the answer best took the form of a negative: "A
Sudbury Model school does not...".

Another strand suggested "necessary and sufficient" conditions of:

School Meeting of students and staff
No curriculum
Jury of peers (JC)
Staff hired and fired solely by staff and students

The last one was challenged, however, as not being true for all
Sudbury-model schools.

It seems to me that a school is a Sudbury school if other Sudbury schools
say it is. Even then, I'm not sure how one Sudbury school "says" that
another school is a Sudbury school: the only public alignment I've seen are
the links lists on the web pages and not all of those are the same.

Practically, it is up to each family of parents and children to make their
own decision about whether or not a school meets the criteria of the family.

We may have the opportunity to move to an area that has a school that, as
far as I can tell (and I am definitely looking from afar at this point), has
the characteristics of a Sudbury model school. Yet the school is mentioned
on none of the links lists of any of the other Sudbury model schools.

The school is the Second Foundation School in Minneapolis,
>From the web site, it seems that there is no curriculum and there is a
weekly school meeting attended by staff and students where some sort of
democratic decision making goes on. There's no mention of a JC but such
problems might be handled at weekly meeting, I suppose.

So, my question would be: why is this school not aligned (at least publicly)
with any of the Sudbury-model schools? Is there some conflict with the
Sudbury model that isn't visible on the web site? If there isn't, does it
really matter (to the students and parents) if there's no alignment with
other Sudbury schools?

Jeanne Pickering

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