DSM: RE: Re: RE: Fairhaven Questions

Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Tue, 9 Jan 2001 17:57:41 -0500

Hey Cindy.

> Wow! You had to start a church! Silly that you can do it all
> but you have
> to walk through so many back doors.


> Why don't they just let us do it!?

It's just an deepset institutional mindset in the MDE that there's one best
way to educate a kid.

> Anyway, how do you set up a church? Who regulates that?

My understanding is that nobody can regulate churches unless they are doing
something illegal. In MD you simply incorporate as a Maryland bonafide
church. The articles of incorporation state things like meeting times and
location, creed, etc.

> Are there groups involved in the church that aren't involved in
> the school?

Yes and no. For instance the book club, which has become hugely popular, is
about half Fairhaven parents and half not. Talkabouts are some parents,
students, staff and many prospective parents.

> Is it just on paper or do you have to do anything for this church?

It's not on paper. Honestly the main intent of many people that started the
church, including me, was to create a neutral, albeit active, partner for
the school. We have to have business meetings and take minutes and file
property returns and electo officers and open and close accounts and perform
the administrative housekeeping. And through the small groups, it has
evolved into a really nice thing. Plus, we occasionally do assistance funds
unrelated to the school (recently a fire victims' assistance fund raised
over $5k for a family whose house burnt).

> I was confused by the .com instead of a .org Why is it a .com?

I want to preface this one by saying it was a few years ago; things were
probably then. One reason was that at the time you had .com, and you had
.everythingelse, we thought that as a PR site .com would be easier for
people to find. The other reason was that we really did not like
fairhavenschool.us.k12.etc.org (or whatever it is).

> > whole time. In retrospect I think Crossroads was a really great way to
> keep
> > our core together while the school was being planned and built. I think
> > that at least one other founder feels differently, though...
> I think it would be a great way to hold it together too. How did 20 kids
> work in one house and not get on each others nerves?

Well, I'm sure plenty of nerves were got on! But it wasn't in anyone's
house, it was in a house we rented for the purpose of the coop.

> Was space a problem?

Having 20 kids and two staff in 1600 sq feet isn't much less crowded than
Fairhaven (40+ kids and four staff in 2400 square feet). I think we're just
a cozy group. But seriously, many folks in FHS feel reeally crowded a lot
of the time, and that is one of the prime reasons we are building our new
4800 sq ft space.

> I have thought about this but just can't imagine that number of people
> peacefully exploring in my house. If it is appropriate, do you
> know why one
> member didn't think it was a good idea?

Romey thought the coop was not a good idea for several reasons, my memory is
cloudy and I know she's not keeping up with this list right now, but the
main reason might have been that it did not fully represent the model thus
misleading the kids and parents as to what the real school would be like. I
think she also thought that the coop took too much of Founders' time and
energy away from the planning and building process.

I really trust Romey and I think her ideas might be of value to you, so
maybe you might email her directly at mailto:maybe you might email her directly at mailto:dodon@erols.com.

> How in the world do you raise $650,000!!! I've done small stuff before,
> Girl Guides, cookie sales, auctions, raffles etc... How many car washes
> does it take to raise $650,000?!? ;)

It takes selling about 8 or 9 carwashes... Seriously, though, $650,000 is
our fundraising goal. Will we make it? I don't know, but we would rather
overstate our goal than understate.

Setting a fundraising goal is a really strategic thing. You want it to be
attainable, and you want to be in a situation where when you ask people to
donate it's not riding on them, we just need help to cover the gap. So you
don't go too high.

But going too low is worse if you do really well. The goal should be driven
by a combination of how much money is needed and how much you think you can

> The "Building Again" section says that you have already secured
> $100,000 in
> advance leadership gifts. What are advance leadership gifts?

"Advanced Leadership Gifts" is fundraising-speak for the amount we have
raised from the innermost concentric circle of fundraising prospects. Like
staff and some parents and boardmembers and their parents and grandparents.
In this case they are mostly pledges, as we have actual receipts of about
$40 - $50,000.

> In the article "Parents and Fairhaven", it states that the
> Assembly decides
> who gets a diploma. How did Fairhaven get authority to grant
> diplomas? Do
> the kids have to do a thesis like at SV?
> I really like the idea of a thesis. I think it's great.

This is the question that would take an entire thread to answer (and will
possibly trigger one...).

OK, "authority to grant diplomas". Many people feel like the word "diploma"
does not belong to governments. Many do. But our school decided that we do
not accept conventional education's definition of the word "diploma" (much
as we reject their definition of the words "teacher" and "school") So I
guess the answer to your question is that we offer a diploma at Fairhaven
School on the authority of School Assembly.

We do not specifically require a thesis. Students must write a "Graduation
Statement" describing the significance of Fairhaven School to their
education., Additionally, students must, in a manner and medium of his or
her own choosing, make a presentation to the Graduation Assembly about a
subject of personal importance.

By completing these tasks and meeting all deadlines and other criteria, the
student is eligible to receive their diploma.

> I really appreciate the time you are taking to help me by answering all my
> questions and I thank you a thousand times over. I am learning
> and gaining
> confidence that I can do it. If it's been done, I can figure out
> how to do
> it too. Thank you.

Hey, my pleasure!


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