DSM: New Internship Program Grant for Free School

From: JerryAERO@aol.com
Date: Sat May 12 2001 - 21:57:20 EDT

Dear Listmates,

Please let anyone you know who might be interested about the following




Thanks in part to a generous grant from the Edwards Foundation, the Albany
Free School is initiating a comprehensive, yearlong residential internship
program that will include valuable learning experience both in and outside of
the school.

The Free School is an independent, freedom-based, inner-city day school for
55 kids ages two to fifteen founded in 1969 by Mary Leue. It is housed in an
old parochial school building on a residential side street in a racially and
socioeconomically mixed downtown neighborhood. The student body is
extraordinarily diverse, with approximately half of the kids coming from the
inner city, one-fourth from uptown neighborhoods and the remainder from
suburban and rural areas. The school operates by means of a sliding scale
tuition and no one is turned away for financial reasons. Approximately eighty
percent of the students are eligible for a free or reduced price breakfast
and lunch.

The internship program has three main components, involving school,
community, and personal growth:


Interns will teach full-time in the school with the ongoing support and
guidance of a mentor, who is a member of the paid staff. Interns will not be
locked into any specific role, but will be free to work with kids of various
ages and to inspire students in the intern's areas of particular passion.
Codirectors, Nancy Ost and Chris Mercogliano, will meet with interns once a
week to talk over how things are going in school, answer questions, address
concerns, etc. Interns will also participate in a weekly seminar where they
can share insights and ideas, as well as discuss books they are reading
together. The seminar will be led by former intern Sandra Winn, who is basing
her PhD dissertation on field research she did at the Free School and who is
now working in the Office of Cultural Education at the New York State
Education Department.


Interns will participate in the Free School community's bi-weekly talking
stick circle -- our forum for community issues and safe space for getting
personal support. We've been doing this for over twenty-five years and it is
the glue that holds us together. Interns will also be invited to join in on
such community satellite projects as our nationally distributed magazine the
Journal For Living, our natural foods coop, our inner-city organic farm, our
wilderness, farm and ropes course project in Grafton, NY, and various
neighborhood political and environmental issues.

Personal Growth

The internationally known author and therapist Michael Murphy will be leading
Free School teachers, interns and community members through a powerful
nine-month training that he has designed for teachers, clergy, and medical
professionals. The process is based on the idea that until we learn how to
take care of our own selves we are in no position to take care of others. The
training, which Mike conducts throughout Europe and the US, is his gift to
the school because he believes so strongly in what we're trying to do with
children and with each other. We will spend two intensive weekends together,
one at the beginning and one at the end, and then meet regularly in between.

The Edwards grant has enabled us to set aside the school's largest living
space (four bedrooms) for permanent intern housing, and thus to offer room
and board to interns for the first time. Four interns will share a
wonderfully sunny 2nd floor apartment located at the center of the school
community. The apartment comes with a high-speed Hewlett Packard PC and cable
modem internet access, and has the school's farm with goats, chickens and
several gardens in the half-acre backyard.

The program will open with an introductory weekend retreat beginning Friday
evening, August 24, and will end Friday, June 14, 2002. For more information
or to apply, contact Chris Mercogliano at albanyfreeschool@yahoo.com or at


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