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Perspective from an Alumna (Part 2)

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This blog is the second part of an Alumna's perspective on her HVSS education.  The first part can be read here: http://sudburyschool.com/blog/perspective-alumni-part-1.  This installment largely focuses on what Marina has done since graduating from HVSS.

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Perspective from an Alumna (Part 1)

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Associated School: 

I am not the kind of person who is good at sitting around doing, “nothing,” and when I was younger I was even worse. After enrolling I suddenly had endless amounts of time during the day to…choose what I wanted to do? What a strange concept. How wonderful! How incredible! Okay, so, what do I do? Hmm…. Um, can someone please just tell me what I’m supposed to do? There’s got to be something that someone thinks I ought to be doing. Someone? Please? Anyone?  No? Okay, I guess this means I really have to think for myself. 

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Giving

This week's blog is a joint effort from Staff Members Vanessa Van Burek and Matthew Gioia.  They both reflect on their recent experiences with gifts, giving and community.

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What do Staff do at HVSS?

A parent suggested an informational blog post on "what staff do at HVSS." He added that when he explains the school to people they often infer that, because no one has any formal teaching duties, the staff members are essentially "babysitters." That tickled me, because when I worked at a public school I used to joke that, due to bureaucratic restraints, sloppy scheduling, and copious testing, I was often merely performing a minimal social service akin to - yes - babysitting.   

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Uncommon Core

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One of the biggest ongoing stories in education today is the debate over the Common Core, a set of K-12 standards dictating what students should learn and which has been adopted by 45 states.  Objections to the rollout of the Common Core have been numerous and vocal, but one in particular was highlighted for me at our Gift Sale on Saturday: having a "common" curriculum built around intensive testing is an attack on creativity.

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Chase and Pursuit

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Recently, a staff member made a motion to put a defunct law called “Chase and Pursuit,” which forbids indoors chase games, back onto the books.  It passed to Second Reading, which means that it can be made into official school law at the following meeting.  But this law proved to be controversial, and the debate that followed revealed how in a democratic community even a seemingly simple proposition involves a complex web of implications.  In a small direct democracy, different perspectives inform and balance each other; it’s harder to get things done than in autocratic systems, but what’s done generally has more consideration behind it.

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Apprentice Learning

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One of the most effective ways of learning a new skill is through an apprenticeship.  This style of learning is essential to a Sudbury model school and is practiced naturally all day, every day.  This blog entry gives a couple examples of this style of learning in action.

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Open Letter (rant) to Those Who Advocate the “Tough Love” of Traditional Schools

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One criticism of the Sudbury model that comes up again and again is that it fails to “prepare kids for the ‘Real World’” because Sudbury provides too ideal an environment.  Sudbury spoils them by daring to respect children and teenagers as full-blooded human beings.  In contrast, the Real World is anti-human and is going to disrespect, subjugate, and crush them as soon as it gets its hooks into them.

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The Individual in Community at Sudbury

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Last week we had a trial that raised some interesting questions about the age-old problem of individual rights vs. community - an intense philosophical, political, and metaphysical problem that still vexes human society and makes the news every day.

In a certain respect, Sudbury is an experiment in finding the balance between individual and community; individuals have freedom, but that freedom is limited by the freedom of others.  Sudbury thus hangs - like the rest of nature - in a delicate balance, and that balance is protected by our justice system.

Here’s what happened: the Judicial Committee needed a replacement member, and the next student on the list was asked to serve.  He was in the middle of something and initially refused.  This is a clear violation of the JC policies; service is not optional.  After a minute or so of haggling, though, he consented, and reported to the JC room in an angry huff.  He stormed in, did not answer a friendly greeting, plopped into a seat, and glared.  He did not vote on the first item that came up, and when he was asked if “this is the way it’s going to be,” he responded, “yeah, I’m pissed off.” JC then decided to replace him.  Later, he was charged with violating JC rules and procedures, essentially because he disrupted their process and ultimately refused to participate.  He plead Not Guilty.

 

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Chemistry at Sudbury

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Every day, somewhere on the Sudbury campus, students are engaging in scientific pursuits. In the last couple of days this has included cooking in the kitchen, making homes for wooly bear caterpillars, tending the garden, pulling out a magnifying glass to get a closer look at “diamonds” discovered in an old broken brick (“No, that’s QUARTZ!”…“No, it’s a diamond!”)...

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Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12401
 
Phone: 845-679-1002
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