Sudbury School News From Around the World

Back To School 2013-2014

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Wed, 08/14/2013 - 13:48

Summer is almost over, and that’s good news for Fairhaven students.

Fairhaven is a school kids can’t wait to get back to!

Fairhaven opens September 3rd.


Fairhaven School Buildings Update—Spoiler Alert

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Wed, 07/31/2013 - 11:51

Since the end of the school year, I have been busy with my building clerkship. My summer routine begins with thorough cleaning of both buildings during which time I make a list of what needs fixing. When school starts up again in 6 weeks, here are some changes that folks will see (or not see):


1. The hole (fist size) in the Lounge no longer exists.

2. Several of the walls in both buildings have fresh coats of paint.

3. New door stops and repairs to doors that always seem to opened and closed by humans with

superhuman strength.

4. New stairs in the New Building (NB). When the carpet was removed, the cracks in the risers

became visible.

5. At the time of this post, a new door is being installed in the NB by the computer room.


I am constantly amazed by how these physical structures endure the love and abuse that occur day inand day out of the school year. Additionally, I am aware of the reactions of School Meeting Members (SMMs) to change. The big changes (stairs and doors) had been discussed and approved by SM. Still, I thought a “heads-up” was in order. When we begin the next school year and celebrate our 15th year, I hope that these improvements will help the buildings to serve as a the wonderful learning environment that is and have been Fairhaven School.




Building Maintenance Clerk

Thank YOU!

News Article From: Rising Tide School - Wed, 07/24/2013 - 01:20


What an amazing year!  It flew by with so much fun, learning, hard work, friendship, and more.  The school is now officially closed and once again, we extend huge thanks to all of you who have supported the school with your interest, time, talent, and resources.  We had three spectacular graduates this year who showed us all just what is possible with a self-directed education—confidence, passion, skills, and preparedness to move out into the world and succeed.  It has been a wonderful adventure to share this learning community together, an experience to treasure forever.

In gratitude,

—all of us at Rising Tide School

The Specialists: One of the Ways Fairhaven School Works

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Mon, 07/08/2013 - 11:03

As we embark upon our fifteenth year,  in my mind, certain students flash before me: the skateboarder, the actor/director, the video gamer, and the dancer. All four of them have lived full lives at school, but their school-age years were consumed with their passions. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year the skateboarder practiced his tricks. The gamer played, learned computer programming, then designed video games. The actor acted in plays, then he wrote and directed his own. The dancer, still enrolled, spends most of her free time in the studio, training for the ballet.

While some students use Fairhaven School as a place to learn and experience a variety of activities and interests, some use the independence of a Sudbury education to become specialists. Unfettered by someone else’s idea of how they should prioritize their time (and liberated from homework), they discover and pursue something with a single-mindedness that is, to this observer, breathtaking. Their dedication and growth calls to mind the older construct of apprenticing with experts, of creating a relationship to an art form or a pursuit that is all-consuming.

It comes as no surprise, then, when we hear from the gamer that he is now pursuing his Master’s in Computer Science (having completed his Bachelor of Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation.) Or when we hear the periodic updates from the professional skateboarder about his accomplishments and sponsorships. We are even not surprised when the actor/director has now set his sights on environmental science. Their discipline, focus, and dedication translate into one thing: a life with purpose.

The other day in a radio interview I heard the director Steven Sodergergh talk about his high school years:

“High school, I never cracked a book. I mean, I got by just on the fact that I read a lot and ... Read More

Making the List: Understanding How You Came to be Educated

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Mon, 07/01/2013 - 13:55

(Here is another compelling post from Fairhaven School parent and writer Johnna Schmidt. Enjoy!)

In a bid to try to understand how my sons may come to be educated, I’ve been trying to understand how I myself have experienced education.  Always a list-maker, I’ve devised the following exercise and have found it clarifying:

Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper.  On one side list 4 or 5 of the most significant life-learning, non-academic experiences you’ve had. Don’t worry if you’re not sure you’re getting the very most impactful ones. You can do this again next year and you’ll have a slightly different list. Just think of things that have changed your life, have molded you into who you are.  These may be special projects or unexpected hardships, life challenges or opportunities, etc, any context in which that you feel you really learned a great deal.

On the other side, make a list of the 4 or 5 most significant teachers in your life, or academic courses that you’ve taken that have been the most important. Restrict this side to academic-context only learning.  Place an asterisk next to the teacher’s name if you consider that person a mentor instead of merely a teacher, that is, you had a one-on-one relationship with that teacher, or some kind of emotional connection, or received advice from them that was especially important.

Take a moment to reflect upon your education as a whole. Looking at your list, what stands out to you?   What or who has been the most important?

I have done some version of this exercise with over 20 people at this point. What stood out to me immediately was the distinction between “mentoring” and “teaching.”  Very little impactful learning actually seems to occur in traditional classrooms.  Most people have had special relationships with ... Read More

What If Kids Could Swear at School?

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Thu, 06/06/2013 - 02:24
by David Linder, Clearwater parent Warning, the following post includes language some people don't like--and stories of kids using such language. One rainy day on our way out the door, I heard my 10-year-old yell, "Shit!" from outside. I quickly went to look what happened. Turns out he had been balancing two boxes of Yu-Gi-Oh cards on top of a binder. It was raining and the boxes slipped and

What If Kids Didn't Have to Wear Shoes at School? -- A Barefoot Mom's Point of View

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Wed, 05/15/2013 - 19:14
by Susan Milton, Clearwater parent   Barefoot Zoe with Jackie and Johnna One thing that makes me feel happy every time I arrive at The Clearwater School is that I don't have to put on shoes to go and find my kids, and that I often see at least one or two barefoot kids right away as I walk through the parking lot.    Maddy's walking feet Shoes are required at most schools,

Clearwater Mounts Its First Full-Length Play

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 16:25
Scene from an early rehearsal For the first time in The Clearwater School's 17-year history, a group of Clearwater students is producing and offering public performances of a full-length play. You are cordially invited to attend a performance, scheduled between Thursday, May 30 and Sunday, June 2.  Screenwriter (Jesse) and supporting actress (Lily) interact while the cinematographer (

News from the Mother Ship: Sudbury Valley School’s blog

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 08:29
mother ship:


a vessel or craft that services others operating far from a home port or center.

Fairhaven School, like all of our sister schools, calls itself a Sudbury school because we have always been affiliated with Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts (“SVS” to many of its students, a “mother ship” to all of us.) Theirs is the largest and the oldest institution operating like we do, and our adoption of their model has always been explicit. Our founders and staff members have attended numerous conferences at SVS over the years, and Fairhaven School staff members have served on SVS diploma committees.  We have hosted SVS exchange students, and we call the Sudbury Valley office often with questions.  In numerous ways, our fiercely independent school relies upon them. Indeed, we are among the “others operating far from a home port,” and that home port is Sudbury Valley School.

So it is with much excitement and pride that we announce that Sudbury Valley School now has a blog! We encourage anybody who is interested in Fairhaven School and its educational philosophy to follow the SVS blog. Already they have published lovely, insightful posts on a variety of topics, including one of our students’ favorite games, Minecraft, and the crucial idea of agency as it relates to education.

Link to the SVS blog here.

Whistlepig! This Weekend! Be There!!

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Fri, 05/03/2013 - 17:14
It's time again for Whistlepig, The Clearwater School's fundraising festival of music, food and games. And this weekend...there WILL be sun and heat! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo or the fact that it's a gorgeous day and join us on Sunday, May 5, 1:00-5:00 pm. There will be wonderful performances by students and staff, homemade carnival games, great food and the most delicious baked good you can

Fairhaven School Alumni Parents Podcast!

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Thu, 05/02/2013 - 15:43

At our recent Alumni Parent Panel, the panelists reflected not only on their children’s process, but on their own process. I left that evening’s discussion with a sense that choosing a Sudbury school education for your children requires a willingness on the part of parents to let go, to trust, to listen.  As alumna parent Pat Everret reveals:

“It did make me more aware. It forced me to be more accepting of what my daughter was the way she was… I wasn’t as bent on thinking my way was right, which, I’m guilty of. And I just had to step back and realize, step back and listen… you have to step back and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, it’s time for me to listen more.’ And I had to do a lot of that growing, I’m still trying to do it. But, you know, you’ve got to give them a lot more… I had to give them a lot more faith than I was inclined to at the beginning. I’m still working on it..”

Choosing Fairhaven School also requires faith and trust in your child, as alumni parent Robin Rice advises current parents:

“I would say, trust your child… I don’t want to sound overly fantastical, but I really believe that every child has a genius in them. And they know how to find it if they’re allowed to find it. And they will tell you what it is… they will tell you what they want and they will tell you what they need. And if you listen they’ll find their way… The more I tried to make my agenda the agenda the less it worked, and the more it worked to listen and follow and trust. And it is hard to trust sometimes, it is hard to trust what you see. But ... Read More

What if there were no grades in school?

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Mon, 04/29/2013 - 17:07
At The Clearwater School, children are trusted with the freedom and responsibility to direct their own education. Without grades, groupings by age or mandatory tests, children engage wholeheartedly in their passions, and find their own standards of success. Students spend years setting and achieving their personal goals, becoming resourceful, self-confident and skilled adults with a commitment to

Clearwater Students Star in Professional Music Video

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Thu, 04/18/2013 - 01:20
by Shawna Lee photos by Matt Garrity In January, Clearwater staff member Matt Garrity, also a musician and 17th Chapter front man, heard from friend and music producer, Christian Hansen, that he needed two young people  to perform in a professional music video for the London-based duo, Still Corners. Matt offered to find a boy and girl from The Clearwater School to be in the video. He asked

Trust, Spirituality & Raising Kids - Public Conversation

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:26
The Clearwater School presents a free public presentation and discussion, "The Practice of Parenting: Trust, Spirituality and Raising Kids." The presentation will be Saturday, April 13, 2013, 6-8pm, at Two Dog Yoga, 12549 28th Ave NE, Seattle, in the Lake City neighborhood. In practices ranging from Christianity to Qigong, we work to stay present, are challenged to let go, strive to be

Clearwater Profiles - Emma

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:17
by Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member Eighteen-year-old Emma is relatively new to The Clearwater School; she has attended since January 2012. Before that, she attended Woodinville High School. One day, in Emma's English class, her teacher talked about different educational philosophies, including Clearwater's Sudbury philosophy. [Her public school teacher was Christine Traxler, whose 9-

Free To Learn: An Essential New Book

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Wed, 03/13/2013 - 19:01

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Peter Gray, research psychologist and Sudbury Valley School board member, has published a book that collects many of the insights and posts from his Psychology Today blog, Freedom To Learn.

Throughout the book, Dr. Gray champions that most essential human learning activity: play. He captures what Fairhaven School students so ably demonstrate day after day, year after year. To learn, we must play.

Check out his book here.


Fairhaven School Staff

March, 2013

Build it and they will come!

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Mon, 03/11/2013 - 22:26
by Matt Garrity, staff member Gregory demonstrates how to build a really tall tower during Clearwater's Play Group program. The part time program is designed for younger students and is a great introduction into the school environment.

Family Information Nights at Clearwater

News Article From: The Clearwater School - Mon, 03/11/2013 - 18:27
If you're curious--or know people who are curious--about how Clearwater students learn anything and become confident, capable and skilled adults when they are free to decide how to spend their time at school, Family Information Nights are for you. The Clearwater School has scheduled two Family Information Nights this spring. The first is this week: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 6:00-8:00 PM. The

No Bullies Here: A School Culture of Respect

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Thu, 03/07/2013 - 11:24

Three adolescent boys enter the back door and head into the Shop. They are talking a mile a minute, and they are on a mission to build or repair  something, maybe a shield for their swordplay game. Their presence is loud, physical, and energetic. Here at Fairhaven School, the moment is insignificant; however, in the landscape of American schooling, the moment embodies much, and warrants unpacking.

A first element to appreciate is  the boys’ liberty. No one has directed their activity, nor will it be measured, evaluated, or assessed by anyone but themselves. Instead, like many grownups in our post-industrial society, they are following a thread, an interest in combat reenactment that is rooted both in play and in history. Although their passage into the shop on this day is ephemeral, it also exists on a continuum, as their play and relationships span years. The late educator and process philosopher Don Oliver wrote about “concrescence,” naming the constant coming together of disparate parts to create a life form, in this case a person. Here at Fairhaven School, individual freedom enables concrescence.

Another aspect to consider is the larger, egalitarian cultural matrix of the school. We are a transparent, respectful democracy where we value all pursuits and activities. Again, the young men are going to the shop to work on their reenactment weapons, yet they are not derided for being nerdy or dorky at school, and they are not relegated to some isolated social rung. In short, nobody is shoving them up against the proverbial locker.  Likewise, the best athletes and elected school leaders here garner no special adulation, nor do the stars of the school play. I recently read a lengthy article in New York magazine that deconstructs the experiences of adolescents in mainstream American high schools. Here is a typical ... Read More