[Discuss-sudbury-model] Big Rock Sudbury School -- a wonderful school !!

From: David Rovner <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Sun Jun 20 09:00:01 2004

You have a wonderful school Brian -- the place, the system, the people -- great !!

you should be proud,
~ David Rovner

you are invited:
for Spanish speaking defenders of education in freedom, see, read and participate
in the forum, education in freedom: SUMMERHILL

est?n ustedes invitados:
para los defensores de la educaci?n en libertad de habla espa?ol, v?a, l?a y participe
en el foro educaci?n en libertad: SUMMERHILL

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Brian King
  To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
  Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 1:31 PM
  Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Is there such a thing as a semi-democratic school ?

  Hi All,
  Here is my 2 cents. Big Rock Sudbury in the California North Bay area is 100% democratic. The kids have tested it and we passed.

  Some examples over the past year:

  Students (truly school meeting members which include students and staff, however, staff are out numbered 8 to 1 so I tend to say students) established our rule book. It took about three weeks, and a lot of long meetings, but they were up to the task. The rule book is a living document being changed by School Meeting (SM) as the need arises.

  The students set what holidays we were to observe. Outcome -- school was open for some national holidays but we took off for a week for both presidents day and thanksgiving. It worked out quite well.

  Students closed school for a camping trip. Outcome -- A great time was had by all, and it gives the kids more evidence that it is their school.

  A student moved to close school on Halloween but not a single student wanted to do that. The motion died with out a second. A 14 year old boy said "Why would you want to be at home when you could be here?" Outcome -- we had one of the best parties of the year.

  Some girls (mostly 10 and 11 year olds) wanted to use our storage shed as a news paper office (in fact a girls club house). Even though the boys out number the girls, the girls come to the school meeting in much larger numbers. Outcome -- I am now looking for an other storage shed and the girls have something that they are proud of. Some of the boys were unhappy, however, there are now more boys at the school meetings.

  Students felt that ending the school year on a Tuesday was dumb, so we closed school two days early. Outcome I presented it to the Assembly meeting because the number of contracted days is a Assembly issue. The Assembly ratified the change for this year.

  In an attempt to lighten up the School Meetings one of the staff, from time to time, would talk like a duck. One of the 10 year old girls took offence to this seemingly unprofessional behavior and passed a motion that talking like a duck was banned. Outcome -- It gave the kids more evidence that what they had to say was important, and that professionalism was respected my the majority.

  At our school meeting, over the past year, I never had to say "You can not make that motion". It did get said at an assembly meeting when adults were trying to make a school rule.

  The students are protective of the school and the outcome of the SM and JC have proved it to me. It is very cool to see preadolescent and adolescent boys and girls developing such good parliamentary procedure skills, calling for the question, calling for division of the house, point of order, etc. I never hear anyone say "I motion that..." It is always properly said "I move that..." The students are comfortable in telling a staff person that "You are out of order"

  I challenge any one reading this to go to some other meetings run by kids. Go to a FFA, FBLA, or 4H meetings. Go to a number of different local meetings some are great and some are poor. You will be able to tell where the students know they truly have a say in how their organization is run. It is reflected in how they run the meeting as apposed to when they know that the adults truly run the organization. It is inspiring to see how much better kids can govern themselves when they have the tools and the trust.

  A great staff person will encourage, give advise when the need arises, and let the kids make mistakes. Those things that we adults may see as mistakes may not be, and those that truly are mistakes will most likely help the students and the organization grow by having the students work them out.

  The following are some great tools for helping the kids with parliamentary procedure MS-Word / PowerPoint (1) (2) (3)
  If the above links do not work, the url is
  page down to (520) Parliamentary Procedure -- this stuff is made by FFA advisors to be used with their students.

  I find the following document much more useful then Roberts Rules of Order.

  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th Edition -- by American Institute of Parliamentarians, Alice Sturgis; Paperback

  Brian D King
  Big Rock Sudbury School
Received on Sun Jun 20 2004 - 08:59:09 EDT

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