[Discuss-sudbury-model] Voting on staff

From: Henning Graner <hgraner_at_gmx.de>
Date: Wed Apr 6 15:25:00 2005

Hi there,

my name is Henning Graner, I'm involved in a Sudbury start-up in Berlin,
Germany. Though I've never been student or staff at a Sudbury school and
therefore lack personal experience I completely agree with what Scott
David Gray said about the student's awareness of the great
responsibility they take, if they vote on the hiring or firing of staff.
I'm convinced that students feel the burden of this responsibility and
that they will excercise their power with care and concern.

Let's ask them!

Last summer Martin Wilke (also from Berlin start-up group) and I did
some videointerviews with two students of the Jerusalem Democratic
School, which is a Sudbury-modeled school in Israel. The students are:
Michael Sappir, then 16 years old, and Kelly Sappir, then 14 years old.

Here is what they said about staff elections*):

*Henning Graner:* /Did you kick out a staff member already?/

*Kelly Sappir:* We had one person in ... people that were in training
for staff that weren't accepted. And one woman that was put on probation
eventually quit herself. But she had gotten a shorter contract than the
rest of the staff. And she might have been eventually fired.

*Martin Wilke:* /How is it for you to vote on who is going to be a staff
member?/

*Michael Sappir:* That, I can say, has gotta be one of the toughest
experiences of my life 'cause we sat in a room for ten hours total,
discussing this with most of the staff present. And there were heaps of
suggestions, I think, when we finally got to the stage of actual
concrete proposals for the setup of staff for next year, I think we had
14, something like that, 14 proposals. And it was very tough voting on
them. It was very tough dicussing it before, it was very tough proposing
the proposals. But we did it, and we did it because it was important
that it gets done. We couldn't just say, "Oh, well, whatever," because
we had to reach a decision. We couldn't just leave it as it was.

*Kelly Sappir:* The fact that there is such a feeling that we're equal
to them, we respect them so much as friends and as people, that makes it
that much harder to sit there in front of the room and say, "I don't
think that So-and-so is appropriate staff for the school," because we're
so close to them, so friendly with them.

***

*) This is only a small excerpt of the interviews we did about "How the
staff is elected". The whole chapter is about 9:30 min and includes
statements from 9 people of different Sudbury Schools. The video as a
whole covers a broad range of subjects with respect to Sudbury schools.
"Learning" , "Classes", (non-)"Grading", "The School Meeting", "The
Judicial Committee", "Videogames", "Paying the Staff", "Financing the
School" - these are some of the subjects covered in 27 chapters. The
video totals about 3 hrs. of interviews with 14 people of different
Sudbury School - staff, students, parents, alumni, founders. Out soon.
Received on Wed Apr 06 2005 - 15:24:29 EDT

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