Archive for School Meeting

Clearwater Has A New Bus!

One week before Winter Break, our Blue Bird Mini Bird yellow school bus drove into the school parking lot in a cloud of smoke. Matt, our driver/staff member tried to drive it to the mechanic but gave up the attempt after a block or two because the smoke was so bad.

Matt driving our new bus

After our bus was towed to Earl's Garage, our great mechanics, they diagnosed the problem as cracked cylinders and recommended a brand new engine. In the 2-1/2 years we've owned and operated our 1991 yellow school bus, we've discovered just how problematic a high-mileage (over 270,000 miles), older bus can be. We considered replacing the engine, but it did not make sense to spend a lot of money to put a new engine into such an old vehicle.

For the past month and a half as we debated repairing our bus, we also scoured craigslist and dealers for available buses in our price range with adequate capacity. As of last week there were no good buses available and the families whose kids ride the bus daily continued to limp along arranging carpools to school as much as possible.

Then over the weekend, the clouds parted and the angels sang. Matt discovered a 2003 23-passenger shuttle bus for sale, in immaculate condition and well-maintained. The owner agreed to sell it to Clearwater for $10,500, instead of the $12,500 asking price, considering the $2,000 a nonprofit donation. Despite the large expense, School Meeting authorized the purchase, reasoning that having a bus is a major asset for the school and this bus's newer, high-quality body and engine will provide long-term reliability.

School Meeting has made a huge commitment to the bus as an investment for all Clearwater students. Clearwater has initiated a pledge drive to help us finance the bus purchase. Please consider a one-time or installment donation; contact us by email or telephone (425-489-2050).

Matt drove our new bus into the school parking lot for the first time yesterday to enthusiastic applause. The very first trip was to Mill Creek Sports Park for an ultimate frisbee game. The first trip for daily riders was from school to home yesterday evening.

As you can see from the photos, the bus is gorgeous inside and out. The windows are huge, the seats are comfortable for the driver and the passengers and the ride is smooth and quiet.

Here's a short video of the bus and the excitement surrounding it.

End of post.

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Gabe’s Diploma Presentation

Last Wednesday, Gabe Akin, declared that he is ready to take on adult responsibilities and leave Clearwater. Clearwater's School Meeting agreed and granted him a diploma. Gabe reflected on his experiences and what he learned during his many years as a Clearwater student.

Many students and Clearwater parents attended Gabe's diploma presentation.

Gabe has been intensely learning and practicing poi performance during the past six months, and plans to increase his skill and create performances.

(Click on "Read entire post" for more.)

He demonstrated his poi-spinning abilities as part of his presentation.

After the poi demonstration, he spent a lot of time answering questions and talking about what kind of life is important to him.

As with other Clearwater graduates, Gabe embodies self-awareness, insight and self-confidence. In addition to the knowledge he's acquired during his life so far, he knows he has all the creativity and curiosity he needs to accomplish current and future goals. I was especially struck by the strength of his self-knowledge and his comfort embracing exploration above attempting to ensure certainty in life.

Congratulations and may you have many wonderful adventures, Gabe!

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A Boy and His Garden

Recently, eleven-year-old Duncan came to School Meeting to request space at school to create a garden plot where he could grow vegetables and fruit. (Duncan's enthusiasm for plants has also led him to take up bonsai.) He and staff had already identified an area at the east end of the former peacock pen as a spot with good sun exposure, away from running, crushing feet. He requested that School Meeting permit him and his dad, Tod, to weed, dig and amend the soil in the plot. Duncan invited other School Meeting members to help him care for the garden and share in the harvest.

School Meeting unanimously approved Duncan's proposal, granting him authority to oversee volunteers and decide when and how much people can pick. Several students at School Meeting were intrigued by the garden project; one student brought seeds for Duncan the next day.

Soon after Duncan's garden was approved, he and his dad worked to loosen the compacted soil, digging out the weeds and adding compost to increase the soil's fertility.

Duncan and his garden

Over Spring Break, Duncan and Tod planted seeds and some strawberry plants. They planted seeds of snow peas, green beans, Swiss chard, lettuce, carrots and cucumbers.

Blooming strawberries

Soon, we will start to see seedlings emerge and watch the magic as the little plants absorb the sun's energy, and create many leaves and stems and eventually fruit. I'll document the growth of the garden over the next few weeks, so be sure to check in and watch everything grow.

The plot with row indicators

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