Archive for December, 2012

Cinderelly, Cinderelly: Age-Mixing at Fairhaven School

 

The cast of “Cinderella” after the play.

After Theatre Corp’s recent production of Hamlet, some of the younger students began forming their own play in the Kid Nook. On Monday those students put on their adaptation of Cinderella.

I have to admit while watching them I could not help but think of how proud I am of all of them. They wrote the play themselves (with some staff support), went to School Meeting to get permission for the space, and produced the play. All of this was completely independent of Theatre Corp.

I was also proud of the older students who helped out. It reminded me of how valuable age mixing is at a school like Fairhaven. The younger students were not limited to their own usual suspects of friends. They expanded, reaching out for help, and the older students gave it to them. The result was a production where everyone had fun and learned. (See the links below for video footage of the production.)

Simply put, it was one of those days at Fairhaven School you just wouldn’t want to miss. Sometimes the magic of a Sudbury School is hidden within a complex context, but sometimes it stares you right in the face!

Richard Morris

Staff Member

Class of 2007

Cinderella Part 1

Cinderella Part 2

 

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Can You Measure an Education? Can You Define Life’s Meaning?

First "education" (as occurs in schools) was about obedience training; then it was about learning a bunch of subjects; now it's about passing standardized tests. These are all measurable. But what really IS education, or what should it be, and is it measurable?

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Can You Measure an Education? Can You Define Life’s Meaning?

First "education" (as occurs in schools) was about obedience training; then it was about learning a bunch of subjects; now it's about passing standardized tests. These are all measurable. But what really IS education, or what should it be, and is it measurable?

read more

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Discovering the Power of Their Voices

by Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member When I was seven years old, I was a chatty person--so chatty, in fact, that my 2nd-grade teacher told me over and over again to stop whispering to my friends in class. My chattiness was such a problem that she pointed it out on all four of my report cards that year. When I was 10 years old, I helpfully corrected my 5th-grade teacher when she said

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Graduating from Rising Tide School

Rising Tide School is designed as a container for a meaningful, useful, education that will serve a student well as they transition into adulthood.  The container we offer is an open space through which each student blazes a new trail in pursuit of their individual interests.  When the time comes to leave the school, each student is equipped with a unique toolkit—the experiences, skills, and internal resources that they have worked hard to gain during their time at the school.  During these years of free exploration, no assessment at all is provided.  Each student is solely responsible for evaluating their own progress.   Yet when students reach age 16-18, the school offers the opportunity to earn the school’s diploma, a process that necessarily entails an evaluation of the student’s education.  With each student pursuing a different constellation of interests, the questions arises— how do we design a graduation process that honors the diversity of each student’s experience while also measuring the quality and depth of their work?

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At Rising Tide School, students have the opportunity to earn a diploma by writing and defending a thesis paper on the question “How have I prepared myself to carry out my plans for entering the larger community?”  Each student answers the question in a different way, but each student must prove that whatever path they’ve taken, it’s been sufficient to prepare them for their next steps.  During the year leading up to the thesis defense, the student chooses a group of thesis advisors and meets with them regularly.  The thesis advisors provide support and also engage the student in questions designed to help students see what they have accomplished, what they still need to accomplish, and how they can best convey their experience to the community.   In short, it is a year-long process of conversation and mentoring culminating in a thesis defense before the entire school community.  The diploma is awarded (or not) at the thesis defense by vote of the School Meeting and Trustees.

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As with all of the structures at Rising Tide School, graduation is personal, meaningful, and deeply useful.  The mentoring process provides accountability and support for students making big decisions and long-range plans.  Ideas for college entrance, work, or other experiences are discussed and come to fruition over the year.  The thesis defense itself, with the public celebration and examination of a student’s education, is a real challenge, and a real acknowledgement from the student’s community.  Seeing how students grow and mature even more as a result of seeking a diploma, it’s clear that participating in the process is a learning experience of its own and a valuable element of a student’s Sudbury education.

I enjoy that the diploma process goes straight to the relevant question: Are you prepared?  All schools attempt to prepare students for life, but I think that Sudbury schools do exceptionally well at holding a space that ensures a high likelihood of sufficient preparation.  The many, many accomplishments students gain through their years, and the confidence and power they exude, is usually extremely impressive as a well as a wonderful reflection of that person’s spirit.  As one student said: “Rising Tide School prepares you for life because it is life.”

Photos of a student meeting with thesis advisors.

Posted by Abbe


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Graduating from Rising Tide School

Rising Tide School is designed as a container for a meaningful, useful, education that will serve a student well as they transition into adulthood.  The container we offer is an open space through which each student blazes a new trail in pursuit of their individual interests.  When the time comes to leave the school, each student is equipped with a unique toolkit—the experiences, skills, and internal resources that they have worked hard to gain during their time at the school.  During these years of free exploration, no assessment at all is provided.  Each student is solely responsible for evaluating their own progress.   Yet when students reach age 16-18, the school offers the opportunity to earn the school’s diploma, a process that necessarily entails an evaluation of the student’s education.  With each student pursuing a different constellation of interests, the questions arises— how do we design a graduation process that honors the diversity of each student’s experience while also measuring the quality and depth of their work?

IMG_1369

At Rising Tide School, students have the opportunity to earn a diploma by writing and defending a thesis paper on the question “How have I prepared myself to carry out my plans for entering the larger community?”  Each student answers the question in a different way, but each student must prove that whatever path they’ve taken, it’s been sufficient to prepare them for their next steps.  During the year leading up to the thesis defense, the student chooses a group of thesis advisors and meets with them regularly.  The thesis advisors provide support and also engage the student in questions designed to help students see what they have accomplished, what they still need to accomplish, and how they can best convey their experience to the community.   In short, it is a year-long process of conversation and mentoring culminating in a thesis defense before the entire school community.  The diploma is awarded (or not) at the thesis defense by vote of the School Meeting and Trustees.

IMG_1353

As with all of the structures at Rising Tide School, graduation is personal, meaningful, and deeply useful.  The mentoring process provides accountability and support for students making big decisions and long-range plans.  Ideas for college entrance, work, or other experiences are discussed and come to fruition over the year.  The thesis defense itself, with the public celebration and examination of a student’s education, is a real challenge, and a real acknowledgement from the student’s community.  Seeing how students grow and mature even more as a result of seeking a diploma, it’s clear that participating in the process is a learning experience of its own and a valuable element of a student’s Sudbury education.

I enjoy that the diploma process goes straight to the relevant question: Are you prepared?  All schools attempt to prepare students for life, but I think that Sudbury schools do exceptionally well at holding a space that ensures a high likelihood of sufficient preparation.  The many, many accomplishments students gain through their years, and the confidence and power they exude, is usually extremely impressive as a well as a wonderful reflection of that person’s spirit.  As one student said: “Rising Tide School prepares you for life because it is life.”

Photos of a student meeting with thesis advisors.

Posted by Abbe


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Learning not to bust

By Bryan A game that's been making the rounds at school for the past week is Chinese Poker. I play a lot of card games with students at school, but I came to this one a little bit late. Gregory was the first student to teach me. Each player is dealt thirteen cards, all face-up (five cards to start with, then eight more one at a time) with which to make three poker hands (two of five cards

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Help Us Grow a Better World!

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Dear Friends,

We are so grateful to all of you who have supported Rising Tide School since its beginning in 2009.  Many, many community members have donated to and attended our fundraisers, given money to support low-income students, donated computers and other supplies, and offered their time and service to the school.  Because the school does not receive government or foundation funding, we depend entirely on tuition and community generosity to continue holding this space where kids grow up free.  We hope you will continue to help us hold this space in Olympia, and help us to keep it accessible to all children.  This is important work we are doing.  Public and higher education are shifting rapidly, and as a society, we need to keep learning how to do education better.  We see the school affirming our collective societal commitment to provide all children with a useful education that honors the human spirit within them.

We know that there are so many worthy organizations asking for your support this season.  Why become a financial supporter of Rising Tide School?  Simply put, because your donation does a whole lot of good!  Read on for 5 reasons to make a donation that helps locally and ripples around the world!

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5. Build the local economy

-Rising Tide School students start and apprentice in local businesses.  The school is a democratically-run nonprofit organization that emerges from the grassroots in Olympia.  We have no government or foundation funding, relying the support of others in our local community.  The school makes Olympia a more diverse and vibrant place to live and work!

4. Support worldwide learning about Sudbury education

-As we learn how do this type of education, our knowledge spreads far beyond the confines of the school.  We’ve hosted visitors from as far as China and Australia, sharing our growing knowledge of how to do education in the context of freedom and democracy.  We learn from and with our sister Sudbury schools in the US, Europe, Israel, and Japan.  We train future educators, therapists and others through our internship programs.

3. Strengthen democracy

-Because they have a vote in all decisions that affect them at school, democracy is the air that Rising Tide School students breathe.  Students naturally learn to participate, to voice their opinions, and to respectfully consider the positions of others.  These are skills that all citizens need, but too few have the chance to develop, in order that we all enjoy a thriving local and national democracy.

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2. Help the people in your community

-Rising Tide School students come from diverse backgrounds.  Many could not afford to attend the school without significant aid.  In these difficult economic times, children are bearing the burden of decreased services.  You can help!

1. Be part of creating a world-class alternative school to benefit everyone in Olympia

-We’re just beginning to learn what Rising Tide School can do to strengthen families. We’re creating a new model of what is possible as we learn concrete ways of living more respectfully and productively with young people.  As our community and facilities grow, we envision many possibilities for supporting healthy families and life-long learning.

Give now!

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This year, the school must raise $45,000 in order to continue supporting our current financial aid recipients.  About 80% of our students could not afford to attend the school without significant aid.  We’ve also set an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 to kickstart our campaign to secure a permanent location for the school.  A new location will allow us to attract more students and to offer increased access to nature.

Give online.

A donation of any size is greatly appreciated!  Please consider sustaining the school with a monthly recurring donation.  It’s an easy way to support the school year-round for as little as $10 per month.  Sign up online!  You may choose to give an unrestricted donation or you may direct your donation towards tuition assistance or the New Building Fund.

If you are an employee of the State of Washington, give through the Combined Fund Drive.  Our charity code is 1479945.

However you choose to give, know that your donation is making a positive difference in the lives of young people—and contributing to better learning conditions for children around the world!  We are so grateful for your participation in the life of the school.

With huge thanks for your generous support,

~all of us at Rising Tide School


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Lily – Composer & Lyricist

by Shawna Lee, staff member Lily, who is almost 13 and has been attending The Clearwater School since she was five years old, has been passionate about music for a long time. (Her other great passion is chickens!) Her dad, Matt (a staff member at Clearwater), is a musician and songwriter. For a few years she was an enthusiastic part of the Clearwater Singers, the small choir at school, but her

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Hide & Seek

By Bryan As I was leaving campus early one afternoon, I passed by a six-year-old student standing still, facing away from the school, eyes closed, counting aloud to a hundred. The unmistakeable sign of a game of hide-&-seek. Clearwater is an excellent campus for hide-&-seek, with more likely hiding-spots than you can possibly use in a day. The game combines so much: it's a back-and-forth between

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