Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] schools in the boonies (was: Erik's post about starting a school)

From: Tay Arrow Sherman <tay_at_anatomyofhope.net>
Date: Fri Apr 28 16:47:01 2006

Doesn't SVS have a huge waiting list? Maybe you could start with some
of the people on that list.

-Tay

On 28 Apr, 2006, at 14.17, Erik Haugsjaa wrote:

> Thanks Stuart and Melissa,
>
> So how do we get lots of seed money and people on board?!
>
> I'm most interested to hear from schools with 40+ kids that
> are in the boonies, out of reach of megalopolis families.
> There are very few people in Western MA -- everyone is
> out east.
>
> Actually it amazes me that even in the Boston-area with
> 6+ million people that SVS is as small as it is!
>
> So, anyone care to comment? Hudson Valley? Who has
> been able to get their numbers up to the point of not
> feeling like a "small" school despite being in the
> middle of nowhere?
>
> (Just reading and reading thru the archives and Collection
> packs from the starter kit for thoughts from founders...)
>
> And yes, if it comes to this...
> I think we will move closer to Framingham rather than
> subject ourselves and kids to 1.25+ hr drives.
>
> Erik
>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
>> [mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org] On Behalf Of
>> Melissa Bradford
>> Sent: Friday, April 28, 2006 11:45 AM
>> To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
>> Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Erik's post about
>> starting a school
>>
>> I agree with Stuart, although I would add the following:
>> "unless you have A LOT of seed money and A LOT of people on board."
>>
>> Melissa Bradford
>> formerly - Liberty Valley School, Prairie Sage Sudbury School
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
>> [mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org] On Behalf Of
>> Stuartwwms_at_aol.com
>> Sent: Friday, April 28, 2006 10:17 AM
>> To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
>> Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Erik's post about
>> starting a school
>>
>>
>> Hi Erik,
>>
>> This is Stuart Williams, a founder of Cedarwood Sudbury
>> School in Santa Clara, CA (but no longer a Sudbury school
>> staffer), responding to your post about starting a Sudbury
>> school an hour's drive from Sudbury Valley School. While I am
>> proud of starting a school and have the highest respect for
>> those who pull it off (or even try), if I were in your
>> position I would think twice about your plan. I know the
>> driving time to SVS seems daunting, but starting a Sudbury
>> school is daunting as well: I spent perhaps 3000 hours
>> starting one, and others in our founders group contributed
>> maybe 500-1000 hours more. Let's not even try to count the
>> hours--mostly unpaid--spent keeping the school going once it opened!
>>
>> Furthermore, the school you found will simply not be as
>> good as Sudbury Valley School. The advantages of SVS over a
>> small Sudbury school are numerous:
>>
>> --More choice of friends and activities.
>> --Established school culture.
>> --Experienced and highly qualified staff (the
>> average staff tenure at Sudbury Valley is maybe 20 years; at
>> Cedarwood it averaged less than two).
>> --A lower percentage of "desperadoes" in the student
>> population.
>>
>> Regarding my last point, parents and students have
>> various reasons to be attracted to the Sudbury model. One of
>> them is desperation, because the child's experience in
>> conventional school is so terrible. While many students who
>> are enrolled out of desperation work out fine, a fairly high
>> percentage do not. I think many parents would view enrolling
>> their children in a small startup Sudbury school to be
>> riskier proposition than enrolling them at SVS, and the ones
>> most likely to take the leap will be the most desperate. A
>> small startup school will allow most of these students to
>> enroll, motivated by hope, idealism, lack of bitter
>> experience, and a need to increase enrollments; also, schools
>> often don't know what problems a student is bringing with
>> them (and parents typically don't say).
>>
>> If I listed the problems some of our students had, you
>> might suspect that I founded an atypically dysfunctional
>> school, or else conclude that small Sudbury schools are a bad
>> idea. I don't think either is true. I'll let people from
>> other Sudbury schools speak up to say that my comments about
>> desperadoes aren't true, but I personally saw them wreck
>> several schools (in cooperation with staff members who were
>> too tolerant or out of touch).
>>
>> As for whether small Sudbury schools are a good idea at
>> all, I think they are the best option for a variety of
>> students. Cedarwood served many of these students well.
>> Generally, though, students left us after 1-3 years. They had
>> many reasons for leaving, some better than others. My guess
>> is that students at SVS stay there a lot longer than they did
>> at Cedarwood, which I think is a good measure for how good
>> the schools are meeting their students' needs.
>>
>> Take care,
>>
>> Stuart
>>
>>
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>>
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>>
>
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-Tay

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Received on Fri Apr 28 2006 - 16:46:47 EDT

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