[Discuss-sudbury-model] Networking for Growth and Support

From: Isaac Graves <isaacgraves_at_gmail.com>
Date: Wed Feb 1 00:24:00 2006

Networking for Growth and Support
Isaac Graves

On Saturday, January 29th four democratic schools in New York State
met for the first time ever. This event, spearheaded by director
Alan Berger of the Brooklyn Free School, was designed to network the
schools and discuss ways in which they can better support each
other. In addition to the Brooklyn Free School, The Free School
(Albany), Hudson Valley Sudbury School (Kingston), & Longview School
(Cortlandt Manor) were present at the gathering.

In a large common area inside of Hudson Valley Sudbury School nearly
thirty staff members met for this significant seven hour
event. Topics ranged from public relations, fundraising, and
enrollment issues to the discussions of parent roles, admission ages
and criteria, rule enforcement, meeting structure, and responsibility
versus entitlement. The real heart of the meeting came when each
school gave a brief overview of their "average" day followed by
questions and answers. This was made especially intriguing by having
four schools in very different cultural and socio-economic settings:
urban, suburban, and rural. What also brought on many engaging
conversations was how each school approached similar situations. For
example Hudson Valley and Longview are Sudbury model schools which
handle conflict resolution through a judicial committee while The
Free School in Albany has an all-school meeting and the Brooklyn Free
School has a small meeting system to hand conflict
resolution. Information on each of their meeting systems can be
found through www.educationrevolution.org/lisofdemscho.html.

During the discussion of enrollment, many experiences and ideas were
exchanged, such as the sharing of positive news articles to help
promote the schools, while one such idea has already been
implemented. It was suggested that AERO host a list of schools with
current student openings for prospective parents and students to
review. That listing can now be found at
www.educationrevolution.org/stop.html and AERO member schools are
able to list their openings for free.

Despite a number of small differences between the schools, many
participants made mention of how incredibly similar they were and how
they would likely be considered one and the same to the general
public. One staff member commented after the gathering, "Before this
meeting, I didn't realize how much our schools had in
common." Through this kinship that seems to have developed, the
meeting ended with discussion on how they can continue to network,
give support, and exchange ideas. Teacher and student exchanges seem
likely in the near future while an annual event involving all of the
staff and students of each school is currently under discussion. A
special listserve was set up so this dialog can continue.

[This event was made possible through AERO's organization and
assistance. It is our belief that such events involving similar
educational alternatives in common regions around North America will
give unrivaled knowledge and support to all involved. If you are
interested in having such an event in your area, contact us by phone
at (800) 769-4171 or e-mail at info_at_educationrevolution.org and we
can help organize and coordinate the event.]
Received on Wed Feb 01 2006 - 00:23:25 EST

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