Re: DSM: 1st meeting advice?

From: Allan Saugstad (asaugstad@vsb.bc.ca)
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 11:46:37 EDT


Laura,

I too am in the midst of helping facilitate meetings about opening a school here
in the outskirts of Vancouver, Canada (although our model is a little different
from SM ).

What we have found is quite interesting and has provoked great discussion.

First, I think you should be prepared to discover that there will be a very wide
range of perspectives and understandings regarding the idea. Most parents I have
talked to don't fully understand what the SM is all about - and it is a long,
difficult process to educate them. Acceptance of where they are and patience in
letting the model evolve I think is key.

What has worked for us is to work with a small group of people who do understand
it and develop a group vision of what you want the school to look like and go
from there. It's a great process to go through! I can share our vision statement
with you if you like.

What also has worked is to appeal to parents as parents. We have talked a lot
about the aspects of trust and respect, and have related that to the parenting
we have done since our children were born. This they CAN understand, and if they
see the school as a way to extend that, support that, and continue that, they
will be supportive of the idea. We avoid, if we can, trashing the system.
Negativity is rarely productive nor inspiring.

What we have also found is that there are two camps of people (with many
somewhere in between). On one side there are homeschoolers who usually have a
grasp of the concept but are hesitant about sending their kids off somewhere or
having them subjected to institutional expectations - if you have any. On the
other side, the bigger side, are the parents who really value school and want to
send their kids somewhere, but feel that regular school is a little too cruel -
they just want a kinder alternative. Be careful with this group because many of
them still want their child to "have to" learn.

The homeschoolers need to see the value of the community of learners their
children will be a part of and the resources which will be available to them,
and the other group needs to know that their children will have many
opportunities to flourish.

It's a fascinating process, I am finding. We have a big meeting on April 30th
and who knows how it will go? I am interested to hear more about how yours is
going and I will fill you in if you want on how things are going here,
especially after the 30th.

Allan

Alan or Laura Gabelsberg wrote:

> Hi all. Laura here. I am in the process of planning my first "information"
> meeting of people interested in forming a founding group to start a new
> Sudbury school in Houston and I thought now would be a good time to see what
> advice you folks on the list might have along those lines.
> So far I am viewing the purpose of this meeting as pretty informal - the
> purpose being to meet, to network, and to determine the level of interest in
> forming a founding group, and lastly to decide what steps may need to be
> taken next.
> I plan to talk very simply about what I know of the SVS model and what may
> be involved in forming a founding group. I also thought about opening up the
> meeting agenda for ideas from the participants if there is enough time, or
> maybe just a Q & A session.
> I am open to hearing any suggestions anyone may have on how to run an
> effective FIRST meeting like this (or how NOT to run one!) The meeting is
> planned for May 19th and so far I think it will have a good turn out. The
> local ads I have placed don't come out until May 1st and I already have
> appx. 20-30 coming just from word of mouth. So it may be a fairly large
> group of people if the ads bring out a good response as well.
> Thanks in advance for any tips or thoughts on this subject.
>
> Laura Gabelsberg
> Citizens for Enlightened Education



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