RE: DSM: Interest increasing?

Connie Shaw (
Thu, 4 Jan 2001 22:20:18 -0700

I'm one of the founders of the Living School. The Sudbury model is one of
our inspirations, but we do not plan to necessarily adopt every aspect of
the model. We see the Living School as a community in which the participants
decide what forms are used. So, we may not end up with decisions made by
majority vote in a School Meeting, or with a JC, or an Assembly. Or, we may
end up with something very much like all of those particular forms.

We definitely do not "have something specific in mind we want to teach the
kids." In spirit, I think we are very much like a Sudbury school, and in
fact I often refer to the Sudbury model when I talk to people about the
Living School. But as we are not adopting the model wholesale, it would not
be accurate to call ourselves a Sudbury school.

-Connie Shaw

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Joe
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 8:17 PM
Subject: RE: DSM: Interest increasing?


I am curious as to why the Living School ( has
chosen not to open as a Sudbury Model School. They apparently know about the
model but have chosen not to put themselves in league with SVS and the rest
of us.

Oh, well. I don't think that automatically means that there's elements of
coercion or external curriculum planned for Living School. There's a couple
of schools around which are quite strict about self-initiated learning &
democratic governance that choose not to call themselves Sudbury Model
schools, New School in DE and Tutorial School (formerly Community School of
Santa Fe) in NM come to mind.

However I would be wary. On their links page there's links to conventional
coercive/grading/testing schools like Northern Virginia New School right
under Sudbury Valley. That seems a bit strange to me. They call their
staff "mentors", which gives me the heebie-jeebies.

It would be really disappointing for you to invest time and energy with
these folks only to discover they got something specific in mind they want
to teach your kids...

Yes, Alpine Valley's here to stay. An amazing group of people.

And Blue Mountain is a SM charter school outside of Eugene. It's quite
large (close to 100 students and staff), publicly funded, and located on
about the most beautiful campus you could imagine. It's so pretty there it
almost makes you sick. And they are run by some fantastic folks as well.

In response to the thread heading, I think I have heard more folks say they
are interested in starting a school in the last 10 months than normal, but
not ever - there's kind of an ebb & flow.

-Joe Jackson
Fairhaven School in Maryland

> Hi Heidi,
> Good idea about involving the local media. I was going to start
> putting up
> flyers on the bulletin boards in the health-food stores around here, which
> I may still do...but actually just my plea to other Boulder parents that I
> posted here rewarded me with the information that there is already an
> incipient school here! Oh joy. Connie here in Boulder is involved with
> starting the Living School, slated to begin un-classes this fall.
> ( I have visited the Denver school, and that's
> an option for us, but I'm not excited about commuting and I guess I
> personally had more of a wilderness setting in mind. But the
> people there,
> students and staff, definitely seem committed to what they're
> doing--they've made it past the excited-about-starting-a-school stage.
> They just bought their own location and they have about 25-30 students, I
> think. ( And as for Blue Mountain School, it's
> in Oregon, about 20 miles south of Eugene, and you should probably read
> about it yourself so I don't give any wrong information.
> ( I ended up writing to the contact address
> there for clarifications.
> Where do you live, Heidi? Maybe there's one closer that you haven't heard
> about yet!
> C.
> By the way, it was the Mothering article that set me off too. I
> had pretty
> much decided on unschooling (depending on what my son wants to do, of
> course) before hearing about all this.
> At 11:12 PM 1/3/01 -0900, you wrote:
> >Hello all,
> > I certainly appreciate any and all talk about starting a
> school. Cindy
> >K asked Lisa to email her directly to tell her about the Canadian
> >experience. Couldn't you have your discussion here so we could listen in
> >and learn too? Seems to me the experiences of others is one of the best
> >places to start such an endeavor as starting a school. The
> clearinghouse of
> >contact information for people starting a school sounds useful, but how
> >about a forum where those with experience can impart advice to
> those who are
> >earlier in the process?
> > What is the Blue Mountain School in Oregon? Is it a charter
> school that
> >gets funds from the state, but still can be a SVS-type school?
> That's very
> >interesting to me, because charter schools and state money
> redistributed to
> >homeschoolers are happening alternative school options in my
> state, Alaska.
> >"Lovely little loophole," indeed. By the way, anybody out there
> an Alaskan
> >interested in the SVS model?
> > Karen, about being thought insane. Don't you feel comforted
> when this
> >pronouncement crops up? I don't ever feel like my thoughts on children,
> >education, healthcare and the like are on the right track unless they are
> >non-mainstream. What an insighful comment about adults being jealous of
> >kids in democratic schools! I know I've spent some time wishing
> I had been
> >treated to such a school.
> > Your comment, Malc, about emphasis being on consolidating
> communities,
> >rather than starting new schools is truly forward-thinking, but
> that sort of
> >changing-the-world seems so much more a daunting task than starting a
> >SVS-type school. So, thanks for making starting a school sound like the
> >simpler of two undertakings! But, of course, the comment about
> "moving to
> >an area with a school and finding a new home and/or job being easier than
> >starting a school" puts the magnitude of the task of starting a
> school back
> >into perspective.
> > About the question of finding like-minded people, I think
> media coverage
> >is helpful here. There are perhaps a certain number of people
> out there who
> >are "ripe" for these ideas, they just need to hear about them. Thanks,
> >Mothering Magazine, for putting them out from time to time. I read their
> >article about democratic schools in the most recent issue and I'm off and
> >running. The idea struck a chord, I was ready for it without having any
> >idea I was ready for it.
> > Cathy from Boulder, you ask how to get in contact with others who are
> >interested. Could you get the local paper to do an article on this odd
> >democratic school model idea, then mention an open discussion of
> the idea at
> >a certain time at a public place? Can you call up even one
> other person you
> >think might be interested and ask them if they are and if they know of at
> >least one other who might be and so on and get a list going that
> way? This
> >is where it would be handy to hear how other groups generated interest in
> >their areas.
> > Cathy, do you know there's a democratic school in the Denver
> area? Have
> >you gone to visit yet? I'd love to visit a school, it's just that for us
> >it's two hours by car, then five by plane to get to the nearest one, in
> >Seattle.
> >Heidi Barker
> >
> >
> >
> >

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