Re: DSM: Originality

Bruce Smith (
Sat, 3 Mar 2001 20:05:55 -0700

When I put together the Alpine Valley School website a couple of years ago,
my design included a variety of pieces I wrote for the occasion, existing
AVS PR materials, and one or two things which I lifted, with permission,
from other Sudbury websites.

I agree with Susan that getting the website up and running is a major
priority. This is not to downplay the importance of content and design:
they should be very well thought-out. But there's absolutely no reason to
wait until the website is finished -- since it never will be! -- to get
something uploaded. Even a minimal website, nothing but letterhead, logo
and contact information, will provide a web presence and begin to steer
people to your school. (btw, our website averages around 400 hits a month,
and is one of our top two sources of new inquiries)

As for originality, I would recommend the combination I used with the AVS
website. Even in my "original" pieces, I'd be hard-pressed to find ideas
that didn't come from some book, website, or conversation (designing the
website was quite the crash course in PR); the originality lay in how I put
all that together. I often feel as though I'm not very original in
promoting the Sudbury model, just trying to express what I've assimilated
in personal and interesting ways.

Finally, as others have said elsewhere (see -- I can't stop borrowing
others' ideas! :), there is a *great* deal to be said for generating your
own PR material: not only will it be more adapted to your unique situation,
but you and your group will gain invaluable experience from the effort to
put all this stuff into words.

Bruce Smith
Alpine Valley School

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