Archive for rising tide school

Learning all the time

Rising Tide School’s fourth year has begun wonderfully.  Everyone in the school is reaping the benefits of a school culture that has greatly matured over the life of the school.  The container for learning is stronger than every, as the students become blazingly confident in their own freedom, responsibility, and self-knowledge.  It is truly a privilege to learn amongst these young people!

This year I’ve been struck with how intense and full the days are.  Each person is truly learning all the time.  With zero time diverted to a required curriculum, each moment is fully, completely devoted to whatever is most interesting, challenging, and absorbing to each person.  The days are a continual flow of curiosity, exploration, and mastery as students seek out physical, mental, intellectual, and social challenges.

Margaret Wheatley, whose work is to explore how and why people can go on doing good work in difficult times, says that “Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.”  That’s why she finds that people are at their most heroic in a crisis, and also, I think, why Rising Tide School students have the energy and resolve to keep learning all day, every day.  They have time and space to find out what they care deeply about.  That deep caring propels them through all kinds of difficulties, bringing them ever closer to the selves they imagine being.  And they become so very strong, powerful, and impressive as they move through obstacles, absorb new information, and integrate new skills.  They are truly people who will be able to thrive in whatever world awaits them when they leave the school as young adults.

This year, there will be many, many opportunities to support Rising Tide School, to help us grow, to provide financial sustenance, to aid in our site search (more info to come!) and to help people find out about this extraordinary learning space.  The ideas behind the school, which were once simply the dearest hopes of the the founders, have firmly taken root in a wonderful community of families.  The three teens who seek graduation this spring (our largest group of potential graduates yet!) are a wonderful testimony to the value of the Sudbury experience, and we want to the school to grow many more empowered, capable, compassionate, and completely unique young people.  We think this world needs all they have to offer!  We hope that you will stay in touch with the school, and join us in sustaining this place for many, many more young people.  If you’d like to make a first connection with the school, please come to an Open House this Sunday, from 1:30-3:30 at the school.  Find information and directions here.  We’d love to meet you!

posted by Abbe


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A group of students, ages 5-10, planned a spontaneous field trip last week to enjoy the sun!  We go on many of these field trips to local parks and green spaces.  Any group of students can plan a trip during a school day, as long as a staff is available to accompany them.

During this field trip, I really enjoyed the dynamic between the students.  Students of all ages form such close relationships with each other, with older kids tending to younger kids, and younger kids being inspired by the older ones.

The students who have been here for a number of years have truly amazing friendships with people of all ages.  Some friendships have been the result of very hard, voluntary work on the part of two people who didn’t get along for a period of time.

I think that the friendships at the school are so strong and impressive because the students are free to choose the people they’d like to get to know, yet are required, by school law, to treat everyone with respect.

Eventually, people seem to discover that there is something to enjoy in just about everybody. Differences in beliefs and family culture (religion, politics, food, money, lifestyle and more) are discussed openly from a young age. But none of those things stand in the way of friendship. As students live, work, and play together in an environment of mutual respect, they create human-to-human bonds that are stronger than common interests or beliefs.

It’s good to live and learn among friends.

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Making the Leap III: Admissions FAQ

For our last Making the Leap post, here are the answers to some commonly-asked admissions questions.  We hope you’ve found these posts helpful, and we look forward to meeting you if you choose to explore the school for 2012-2013.

When do I apply?

Enrollment is now closed for the 2011-2012 school year.  If you are considering Rising Tide School for 2012-2013, you are encouraged to begin the admissions process well before the end of the 2011-2012 school year.  Our unique admissions process involves a full visiting week, so you are encouraged to plan ahead for the smoothest transition to a new environment.  New enrollments are accepted on a space-available basis beginning on April 16th.

Does it cost money to attend Rising Tide School?

Yes!  Rising Tide School is an independent school, funded largely by tuition.  We deeply value our position as an independent school, as our independence frees us from requirements and practices that run counter to our values.  By operating independently, we have are able to practice equality, democracy, and self-direction in a way that wouldn’t be possible within today’s public education paradigm.  We, the Rising Tide School students, staff, trustees and corporate members (many of whom are parents), retain control of the program and operation of our school.  We view education as the most important investment you could possibly make in your child’s present and future, and our tuition is intended to be affordable, to ensure that the school is available to families of all backgrounds.

Is financial aid available?

Yes.  Financial aid is available, and early application is highly encouraged.  For details, please visit our website.

Can I visit the school?

Yes, there are several ways to visit the school.

  • Make an appointment for an admissions visit, during which you can observe the school in session.  Please call or email to schedule.  Admissions visits are generally available M,Tu,W,F between 9am-2pm and Th from 12pm-2pm.
  • Attend an Open House.  Our next Open House will take place on Sunday, April 29, at 1:30pm.
  • Drop in at Office Hours.  Office Hours are an informal time to meet with the Admissions Clerk and to discuss the school and the student and family’s interests.  Office Hours are scheduled for April 12, 19, and 26th, from 3:45-5:00pm.  Just drop by!

Is your school only for self-motivated/gifted/talented kids?

No, the school can work well for all kinds of kids who want to experience freedom and responsibility.  Rising Tide School is a unique transformational learning environment in which many kids who have lost hope around education are able to thrive and recover their innate drive to learn.  Equally, it is a challenging and empowering environment for kids who already experience themselves as motivated and successful.  If you are wondering whether Rising Tide School might fit for your or your child, we encourage you to contact us and begin a conversation.  You can reach the Admissions Clerk, Abbe, at abbe (at) risingtideschool (dot) org, or at school at 360.753.0820.

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Making the Leap II: Is Rising Tide School right for you?

Welcome!  If you’re just joining us, this is the second in a short series of posts about the admissions process at Rising Tide School.

Today, we’ll consider what makes a student and their family likely to experience success and satisfaction at Rising Tide School.  I’ll offer some general thoughts on what makes Rising Tide School a fit for students and parents, and if these thoughts spark questions about your student’s specific hopes and needs, please feel free to contact me.

The short answer is that Rising Tide School is for anybody who wants to be here.  To be more precise, Rising Tide School is for any independent person, ages 5-18, who wishes to have responsibility for their own education and who wants to attend the school.  It’s for kids who want to know themselves, and to have the freedom and support they need to figure out life on their own terms.  And equally, it’s for parents who are ready to support their student in making their own choices and directing their own education.  The school requires a partnership between parent and student, based on the parent’s trust in their student’s ability to learn and succeed.  Without this core trust, it is very difficult for students to do well at the school.  So when we assess a student’s readiness to enter the school, we are looking for four things:

  • Is the student independent?
  • Are they ready to take responsiblilty for themselves and for their education?
  • Do they wish to attend the school?
  • Do they have the support and trust of their parents?

At the very core of Rising Tide School, there’s a belief about humans:  We believe that every young person has the ability, desire, and drive to learn.  The school is based on complete trust in the ability of each and every young person to successfully drive their own learning process.   It’s a trust that is borne from practical experience:  When we observe children in a free environment, it’s obvious that they are insatiably curious.  They are wired to learn.  They want nothing more than to learn to succeed in the world, and to master the skills they need to create that success.  Free children always move toward meaningful challenges.  That’s why anyone who can be independent can do well here–if they wish to, and if they are supported by their parents.  Everyone can learn.

Rising Tide School is a transformational space.  Students who enter the school with faith in their own ability to learn and succeed will continue to grow, learn, and become fully themselves, in wonderful ways that can’t be predicted.  But even if a student has been convinced by their prior life experience that they can’t learn, or are bad at learning, they may have a completely different experience of themselves at Rising Tide School.  Time and freedom are great healers, and self-connection can be repaired.  In other words, people are welcome here wherever they are in their learning journey.  The only requirements are the desire, willingness, and ability to take responsibility for oneself.

Have questions about your student and their unique needs?  I’d love to talk to you and help you explore how the school might fit for your family.  You can reach me at school at 360.753.0820, or at abbe (@) risingtideschool (dot) org.

posted by Abbe

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Making the Leap

I thought I’d do a short series of posts about making the leap to democratic education–otherwise known as the admissions process!  I’ve been the Admissions Clerk for most of our three years of operation, and I really enjoy working with the families and students who consider entering this new world of freedom and opportunity.  For many people, it is a leap that is exciting, yet a bit scary, as this new world is unfamiliar and very different from what most of us have experienced in our own education.  In this series, I’ll talk about how admissions works, who should apply, and answer some frequently asked admissions questions.  If you have a question to ask the Admissions Clerk, please email me at abbe (at) risingtideschool (dot) org, and I’ll address it here on the blog.  Also, please save the date for our next Open House, on April 29th at 1:30pm.  At the Open House, you can tour the school, ask your questions in person, and meet other prospective and current students and their families.

Today, I’ll speak to the question: How does admissions work at Rising Tide School?

First of all, congratulations!  If you’re considering admissions, you may have decided that you are ready for something different, and you want to see if Rising Tide School is the school for you.  Enrollment at Rising Tide School is open to any student, age 5-18, who is independent, ready to take responsibility for themselves and their education, and who wishes to attend the school.  The admissions process is a mutual interview process in which the student, their parent(s), and the school assess whether or not the school is a good fit for the individual student and their educational needs.  During admissions, students and parents have plenty of time to ask questions and come to a full understanding of the school’s philosophy and operations.  When students and their families decide to make the leap, they do so as informed participants in the school’s free, democratic environment.

The admissions process has 4 steps:

1.  Visit the School

  • We strongly recommend an initial visit to the school, either at an Open House, or during an Admissions Visit.  Admissions Visits are available by appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

2.  Application and Interview

  • Student and parent(s) complete an application.  The application is designed to help prospective families understand the school and assess their readiness and desire to participate within it.
  • After your application is received at the school, we will contact you to schedule an interview.  The interview typically lasts an hour, and is a time to discuss the student and family’s past educational experiences, your hopes and needs for a new educational environment, and to answer questions about Rising Tide School and Sudbury education.

3.  Visiting Week

  • After the application and interview are complete, students spend a full 5 days as visiting students at the school.  During the Visiting Week, students experience the school for themselves and decide whether they are interested in attending.
  • At the end of the week, the Admissions Committee makes an admissions decision.  If no concerns are noted during the Visiting Week, the student will be invited to enroll.

4.  Enrollment

  • Upon successful completion of the Visiting Week, students may enroll.  Enrollment is open on a space-available basis from September-March of each school year.  New family enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year begins in April.
If you are considering Rising Tide School for the upcoming school year, I look forward to meeting you and discussing the school with you.  And again, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

posted by Abbe

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Our March Open House is Here!

Hello Friends and Families!

Please join us for an Open House this Sunday at 1:30pm. Rising Tide School is a state-approved private school offering Sudbury education for ages 4-19. The school offers the option to earn a high school diploma. New student enrollment for the 2010-2011 school year opens on April 16th! Find out what a self-directed education looks like, get to know the Rising Tide School community, and get ready to set your learning free.

If you can’t make it…

You can schedule a tour for a time that’s convenient for you. Parents and students may spend up to 2 hours at the school observing and learning about Sudbury education. Call us at (360) 753-0820 to schedule.

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