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Marlboro College - Wikipedia
"Marlboro College is a small, private, academically rigorous liberal-arts college located in Marlboro, Vermont, United States, with an enrollment of 195 students. The College received a perfect academics rating of 99 from The Princeton Review in 2014.[1] Students at Marlboro create an individualized course of study in collaboration with faculty members and participate in a self-governed (self-run) community. Students pursue a self-designed, often inter-disciplinary thesis, the Plan of Concentration, based on their academic interests that culminates in a major body of scholarship.

Marlboro was ranked #117 (out of 1,611 institutions) among liberal arts colleges in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.[2]

The College's unique facilities that can be used by students include an organic farm, a solar greenhouse, Marlboro's own nature forestland preserve, and an aviary. Weekly "town meetings" are held to vote for and change the College's bylaws."
marlborocollege  smallschools  colleges  liberalarts  progressive  democratic 
august 2018 by robertogreco
creeksidelearninglab
"Creekside Learning Lab is an independent private school offering a blended 4th and 5th grade program in Portola Valley, CA.
 
We may be a small school, but we have big ideas.  We invite you to discover more about our innovative teaching philosophy and to see the amazing things that happen both in and beyond our classroom."
portolavalley  bayarea  smallschools  schools 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Small Schools: The Edu-Reform Failure That Wasn't - Education Week
[paywalled, available in PDF here: http://www.holycross.edu/sites/default/files/files/education/jschneider/small_schools_commentary.pdf ]

"But were small schools really the problem? A decade later, we have fairly robust evidence suggesting otherwise. A 2014 study by the nonpartisan research organization MDRC, for instance, found that graduation rates in New York City improved by 9.5 percent at small schools, with effects across every student group—a tremendous increase that also led to higher college enrollments. Another study, by a team at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, found similar increases in high school graduation rates in Chicago's public schools, despite the fact that small schools generally served a more disadvantaged population in the city.

As it turns out, small schools do exactly what you might expect. Smallness can create more opportunities for young people to be known, both by one another and by the adults in the building. The relative intimacy of small schools can foster trusting, caring, and attentive relationships. Deborah Meier, the godmother of the small-schools movement, consistently made this argument in the 1980s and 1990s when explaining the importance of size. As she put it in a 1989 op-ed essay, small schools offer young people better opportunities to learn forms of participation" necessary to becoming a member of a democratic society." But they are, at best, only one piece of a complex puzzle. And early proponents of small schools were clear about that. As Meier, who also writes an opinion blog for Education Week, prudently observed: "Small schools are not the answer, but without them none of the proposed answers stand a chance.""
small  slow  smallschools  education  educationreform  edreform  2016  via:lukeneff  jackschneider  deborahmeier  smallness  reform  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh 
february 2016 by robertogreco
A sentimental education: inside the school that Tilda built | Film | The Guardian
"Late last year, Drumduan Upper School received its first government inspection. In an era of merciless performance targets and obsessive testing, any school administrator would naturally feel apprehensive. Drumduan’s head teacher, Krzysztof Zajaczkowski, a working-class son of Polish immigrants who has an instinctive distrust of authority, expected to be shut down. He had not forgotten his last school inspection, 10 years earlier, which he compares to a visit from the Gestapo, and he worried that Drumduan’s radical ideals – no exams, no tests, no hierarchies, no sitting at desks whenever possible – would count against the school.

That is not what happened: the inspectors sat in the classes and watched the students. And if you watch the students at Drumduan, you soon notice they are confident, articulate, highly motivated and respectful. These are, in fact, the words used by the inspectors in their subsequent report. You might even believe the students at Drumduan wanted to be there. The inspectors clearly felt so, but it was when they had retired to an office to confer that Krzysztof, a master of the spontaneous gesture, delivered the coup de grace. He sang to them.

Music is something of a hallmark at Drumduan, where children participate in regular workshops – often on instruments like a wheelie bin – and start each day singing in four-part harmonies. “We were rehearsing in another room, and I said: ‘This song is terrific, we have to show these inspectors,’” Krzysztof recalls. “So we burst into their office – they were a bit alarmed – and I said: ‘I’m sorry, we’ve just got to sing this song to you.’” The song was “Media Vita”, a medieval score of haunting beauty that reduced the inspectors to tears, according to Krzysztof. Bowled over by their praise – he is a man whose emotions are close to the surface – Krzysztof asked if he could give them a hug, probably a first for all of them.

I first heard about Drumduan from the actor Tilda Swinton, who cofounded the school in 2013 with Ian Sutherland McCook, a fellow parent at the Moray Steiner School, where their children were in the same class. The two sought to persuade the trustees there to take on the project of creating an upper school, as students at Moray Steiner must graduate at 14. When that failed, they decided to go it alone.

“There’s no grading, no testing at all,” Tilda had explained to me earlier. “My children are now 17, and they will go through this school without any tests at any time, so it’s incredibly art-based, practical learning. For example, they learn their science by building a Canadian canoe, or making a knife, or caramelising onions. And they’re all happy 17-year-olds. I can’t believe it – happy and inspired.”

It was this image of “happy and inspired students,” so foreign to the popular conception of school, that brought me to Drumduan. I wanted to see for myself this miracle of happy, boat-building, onion-caramelising teenagers. Tilda suggested I join them on a school trip to the tiny island of Colonsay (population: 120) where, deprived of their mobile phones, the students would be at the mercy of their own initiative. Some activities were planned, including a day studying the island’s protected black bee colony, but the week was left relatively unstructured. Tilda felt it was important for children to have the freedom to be bored. As the only award I ever won at school was for my services as secretary to the beekeeping club, I felt uniquely qualified to join the expedition."



"“We’re just doing a little chillaxing,” Tilda says one evening as everyone sits around eating wild garlic and nettle soup, the ingredients foraged earlier that day. Chillaxing is, in its way, the purpose of the trip – an opportunity for the students to find a measure of stillness. “We wanted Colonsay and Oronsay to be a settling of all that has happened, a distilling and digesting of the events and the hard work of the year,” Krzysztof explains.

This is the reason for the ban on new technologies and the emphasis on old – the group games, the sing-a-longs, the campfires. Tilda has brought a poem called “Happiness”, by the Gaelic-speaking poet, Meg Bateman. It describes two old friends, crofters “who after a brief murmured greeting, will stand wordlessly together, side by side, not facing each other, and look out on the land, whose ways and memories unite them.” The poem’s sentiment speaks to a hope and expectation that here, away from the mainland, the students will discover the power of silence, not in place of tumult and noise, but as a balance to it.

Of course for teenagers who have learned to make longbows, knives and canoes, a rocky, mossy, grassy island like this is paradise. There is a lot of room to run wild, and they do. Watching the lean, feral boys somersaulting off the dunes one evening, I imagine William Golding, somewhere, rubbing his hands in delight. But he based Lord of the Flies on Marlborough College, his alma mater, where children were bred and bullied to become the repressed defenders of Empire. The students of Drumduan are not they. On their first night in the backpackers’ lodge, overlooked by a giant bison’s head, they drink tea and sing “Media Vita”, while Tilda butters doorstop sandwiches for the next day. At night we listen to the corncrakes in the dark."



"We get to see the island’s famous bees on a rare, sunny day, with the island shimmering in the morning light. Andrew Abrahams is a local hero, having succeeded after many years in securing the Scottish government’s backing to have Colonsay and Oronsay declared a sanctuary for his beloved black bee, genetically pure and free of the Varroa mite. When the students hear him talk about the bee’s sad plight, the subsequent debate among them is lucid, smart and illuminating. They dissect capitalism and market economics; they talk about the challenge – and necessity – of creating altruistic societies, and occasionally they come up with a really great idea. Like creating a super bee, which Eliot, the impish daredevil of the group, is sure must already be under way in America. Tilda leans over later, and says: “Don’t you think the world would be a better place if we had a government of teenagers like these?”

Drumduan is still a very small school, just 17 students, so it doesn’t take long to develop an easy familiarity with everyone – which must also be characteristic of attending the school. (Students are encouraged to develop social lives outside.)

I’d suggested to Arran one afternoon that the conundrum with model enterprises like Drumduan was finding a way to grow them without diluting them, to which he shrugged and said, “Why grow them?” Abrahams had told us how bee colonies divide and separate when they get too big, the catalyst for swarms. “I don’t think these things can work worldwide,” Arran says."



"For eight hours they walk the island in the company of RSPB wardens, yet another lesson in the delicate equilibrium of the planet, and then Krzysztof sets them all a novel challenge: go and find a place, alone, no more than five paces in diameter, and stay there for an hour. An island on an island. Later, I call Angus in Forres, and ask: “How did you manage?” It was boring at first, he replies. “But you had to adjust to a different setting. You had to look at it in a different way.”

Imagine teenagers, taking an hour to be with themselves, no modern distractions, just the beat of their heart, the tick of their brain, the sweep of the sea. The students are asked not to talk about how they spend the hour, but I’m curious, and ask Angus to describe his time. He says he found a space on the sand, and set himself down to watch the waves. “At first, I thought, What am I doing here, but as I sat there, I started to think about lots of different things, like life, relationships, dreams that I’d had, family – I felt homesick at one point, I welled up a little bit, it was quite emotional.” When it was time to return to the group, he found it hard to believe that an hour could be so brief.

Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian founder of the Steiner schools movement, wrote: “To be free is to be capable of thinking one’s own thoughts – not the thoughts merely of the body, or of society, but thoughts generated by one’s deepest, most original, most essential and spiritual self, one’s individuality.”

We live in an age when people talk endlessly about individuality, but I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen it as clearly delineated as in the contrast between the students of Drumduan with those of more typical schools, like the one where Angus had been enrolled for so long. I remembered his mother’s observation that the pupils there, even on the coldest day, would remove their coats “two miles before getting to school” because someone had determined it wasn’t cool. “There’s so much of a horrible clique to what happens in mainstream education, whereas it’s a safe space at Drumduan to say, ‘I’m into this sport,’ or whatever, and it doesn’t matter that nobody else is doing it.”"
education  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  waldorfschools  tildaswinton  scotland  2015  parenting  aaronhicklin  drumduanupperschool  krzysztofzajaczkowski  colonsay  tcsnmy  statism  anarchism  howwelearn  testing  standardizedtesting  cv  rudolfsteiner  individuality  individualism  technology  freedom  criticalthinking  howweteach  deschooling  unschooling  small  smallschools  intimacy  slow  iansutherlandmccook 
june 2015 by robertogreco
What if high school was a decentralized network of...
"What if high school was a decentralized network of storefronts throughout a city supported by a shared mission of catalyst-teachers, community and creative collaborators?"
designschoolx  eastbayhighschool  2015  davidclifford  schools  education  distributed  freelanceducators  freelanceteachers  teaching  learning  uban  cities  cityasclassroom  highschool  smallschools  decentralization  networks 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Mini-Schools: A Prescription for the Reading Problem by Paul Goodman | The New York Review of Books
"For ages six to eleven, I propose a system of tiny schools, radically decentralized. As one who for twenty years has urged democratic decentralization in many fields, including the schools, I am of course interested in the Bundy recommendation to cut up the New York system into sixty fairly autonomous districts. This would restore some relevance of the culture (and the staff) of the school to the culture of the community. But however valuable politically, it is an administrative arrangement; it does not get down to the actual pedagogical operation. And it certainly is not child-centered; both poor and middle-class communities have their own ways of not paying attention to children, according to their own prejudices and distant expectations. By “tiny school,” therefore, I here mean twenty-eight children…with four teachers (one grown-up to seven children), and each tiny school to be largely administered by its own staff and parents, with considerable say also for the children, as in Summer-hill. The four teachers are:

A teacher regularly licensed and salaried. Since the present average class size is twenty-eight, these are available.

A graduate from the senior class of a New York college, perhaps just embarking on graduate study. Salary $2000. There is no lack of candidates to do something interesting and useful in a free setting.

A literate housewife and mother, who can also prepare lunch. Salary $4000. No lack of candidates.

A literate, willing, and intelligent high-school graduate. Salary $2000. No lack of candidates.

Such a staff can easily be racially and ethnically mixed. And it is also the case, as demonstrated by the First Street School, that in such a small setting, with individual attention paid to the children, it is easy to get racially and ethnically mixed classes; there is less middle-class withdrawal when the parents do not fear that their children will be swamped and retarded. (We have failed to achieve “integration” by trying to impose it from above, but it can be achieved from below, in schools entirely locally controlled, if we can show parents that it is for their children’s best future.)

For setting, the tiny school would occupy two, three, or four rooms in existing school buildings, church basements, settlement houses otherwise empty during school hours, rooms set aside in housing projects, store-fronts. The setting is especially indifferent since a major part of activity occurs outside the school place. The setting should be able to be transformed into a clubhouse, decorated and equipped according to the group’s own decision. There might be one school on every street, but it is also advisable to locate many in racial and ethnic border areas, to increase intermixture. For purposes of assembly, health services, and some games, ten tiny schools could use the present public school facilities.

The cost saving in such a setup is the almost total elimination of top-down administration and the kind of special services that are required precisely because of excessive size and rigidity. The chief uses of central administration would be licensing, funding, choosing sites, and some inspection. There would be no principals and assistants, secretaries and assistants. Curriculum, texts, equipment would be determined as needed—and despite the present putative economies of scale, they would be cheaper; much less would be pointless or wasted. Record-keeping would be at a minimum. There is no need for truant officers when the teacher-and-seven can call at the absentee’s home and inquire. There is little need for remedial personnel since the staff and parents are always in contact, and the whole enterprise can be regarded as remedial. Organizational studies of large top-down directed enterprises show that the total cost is invariably at least 300 percent above the cost of the immediate function, in this case the interaction of teachers and children. I would put this 300 percent into increasing the number of adults and diversifying the possibilities of instruction. Further, in the conditions of New York real estate, there is great advantage in ceasing to build four-million-dollar school buildings, and rather fitting tiny schools into available niches."



"FURTHER, I see little merit, for teaching this age, in the usual teacher-training. Any literate and well-intentioned grown-up or late teen-ager knows enough to teach a small child a lot. Teaching small children is a difficult art, but we do not know how to train the improvisational genius it requires, and the untrained seem to have it equally: compare one mother with another, or one big sister or brother with another. Since at this age one teaches the child, not the subject, the relevant art is psychotherapy, and the most useful course for a teachers’ college is probably group therapy. The chief criterion for selection is the one I have mentioned: liking to be attentive to children. Given this setting, many young people would be introduced to teaching and would continue with it as a profession; whereas in the New York system the annual turnover approaches 20 percent, after years of wasted training.

As I have said, however, there are fatal political and administrative objections to this proposal. First, the Public School administration does not intend to go largely out of business. Given its mentality, it must see any radical decentralization as impossible to administer and dangerous, for everything cannot be controlled. Some child is bound to break a leg and the insurance companies will not cover; some teen-ager is bound to be indiscreet and the Daily News will explode in headlines.

The United Federation of Teachers will find the proposal to be anathema because it devalues professional perquisites and floods the schools with the unlicensed. Being mainly broken to the public school harness, most experienced teachers consider free and inventive teaching to be impossible.

Most fatally, poor parents, who aspire for their children, tend to regard unrigidly structured education as down-grading, not taking the children seriously, and also as vaguely immoral. In the present Black Power temper of Harlem, also, the possible easy intermixing is itself not desired. (Incidentally, I am rather sympathetic to black separatism as a means of consolidating the power of black communities. But children, as Kant said, must be educated for the future better society which cannot be separated.)

In spite of these fatal objections, I recommend that, instead of building the next new school building, we try out this scheme with 1200 children."
paulgoodman  smallschools  tinyschools  education  unschooling  1968  deschooling  learning  children  schooldesign  classsize  openstudioproject  history  lcproject  minischools  small  literacy 
july 2014 by robertogreco
On Small School Networks & Democracy - Bridging Differences - Education Week
"I've been trying to imagine a "system" that could work for the kind of liberty within the context of democracy that we both seek. What kind of compromise is possible that meets each of our minimum requirements—and promotes democracy and liberty? What would a public system that puts "citizenship first," but supports many ways to get there, look like? What's the "key" to our differences, and how does it play out?

We agreed on democracy and liberty as the primary public ends we treasure, although no doubt we hold other expectations of good schooling. Given the title of your institution (Democracy Prep), maybe we agree on this. But what would constitute evidence of a successful education on behalf of democracy and liberty is where there is disagreement. Sometimes quite deep disagreement.

It even includes our definitions of democracy and liberty. "Government of, for, and by the people" seems pretty straightforward. But who constitutes "the people"? At the time that our Constitution was signed and sealed most of our founding fathers favored exclusions. And we still, de facto and de jure, exclude many residents' right to vote. Some we don't even argue about—such as the rationale for some minimum age restriction for voting.

But what "of, for, and by" might mean remains elusive, hard to define. Certainly schools don't explore this very thoroughly. Liberty is never an absolute, so where do we draw the lines?

The trouble is that there's an unfinished project—to create conditions in which Abraham Lincoln's slogan can be taken seriously. Democracy, as Winston Churchill noted a half-century ago in the midst of a war for democracy, is a flawed idea—except for the alternatives. It's not possible to get it perfectly right, but we're a long way from that "danger."

Democracy presumes, I'd argue, something the founding fathers acknowledged by who they excluded from full citizenship. They recognized that democracy presumes some level of equality of condition, power, skill, and knowledge that it is, in turn, designed to promote! Property and freedom before the law are and were musts. Ergo: Our founders excluded women, slaves, and minors. They also excluded those without a "stake" in society. Ergo, the property-less. Having dropped those requisites we are still far from equal in the various powers we can exert on behalf of our beliefs. This in turn affects how we view the road forward."
smallschools  deborahmeier  democracy  education  teaching  schools  policy  publicschools  tedsizer  2014  inequality 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Middle School: Not So Bad - Hilary Conklin - The Atlantic
"Yes, it’s true that young adolescents are navigating profound and often complex changes—new bodies, new brain capabilities, and new social realms. But as a former public middle-school teacher who once taught more than 100 young adolescents each day, I have seen firsthand that middle schools can be constructive, happy places. When there are teachers who understand young adolescents and are prepared to teach them, smaller schools and classes that facilitate meaningful relationships, and an intellectually challenging, engaging, and relevant curriculum, middle school can be some of the most inspiring and enlightening years of a young person’s—or teacher’s—life."



"We seem to be at a crossroads, sometimes defaulting to old stereotypes, at other times, embracing more creative possibilities. Glass’s This American Life episode included the perspective that “you're sort of wasting your time trying to teach middle school students anything,” but juxtaposed it with the generous outlook that, “kids that age are fun, interesting, and self-reflective.” A middle school teacher quoted in Gootman’s Times series captured the range of views about teaching in middle schools: “Middle school is like Scotch. At first you try to get it down. Then you get used to it. Then it’s all you order.”

Given the bad rap middle school gets, it’s not surprising that very few future teachers have the goal of working with young adolescents. Research studies have shown that three-quarters of teachers enrolled in secondary teacher education programs (certifying them to teach in grades 6 through 12) preferred teaching at the high-school level to middle-school level. In my work training novice teachers, I see how their stereotypical views of middle school shape their beliefs that not only is it undesirable to teach young adolescents, but that it is actually difficult to accomplish anything intellectually meaningful during the middle school years. And yet, when I have these future educators conduct interviews with young adolescents to learn more about middle schools students’ views on the world, the novice teachers are often astonished to find that kids at this age are capable thinkers who are deeply interested in learning more about—and contributing to—the world around them.

So couldn’t we tell the middle school story differently? Perhaps we should enlist Patterson’s Rafe Katchadorian—I’m confident that he would have the ingenuity to give middle school a whole new narrative."
middleschool  education  teaching  howweteach  smallschools  school  learning  adolescence  relevance  via:lukeneff  2014  hilaryconklin  jamespatterson  iraglass 
january 2014 by robertogreco
School One - Providence, RI - Home
"What is School One?
School One is a small, progressive, independent high school on the East Side of Providence that serves students with diverse backgrounds, learning styles and educational goals within a vibrant, safe and inclusive community. Our graduates successfully navigate the academic demands of competitive colleges and choose meaningful and creative careers.

What Makes us Different?
• our arts-based curriculum spurs creativity in both novice and serious artists
• our advising system and graduation requirements were developed over four decades and are now standard at top-performing high schools throughout the state
• our tuition is affordable relative to area private schools and we offer generous financial aid

How do students benefit from our program?
• our approach enables students to take an active role in their learning and become responsible for their choices
• our focus on writing and critical thinking promotes self-advocacy and solid communication skills
• our graduates can relate information across disciplines and work well in groups, essential to their future employment"
rhodeisland  providence  schools  art  independentschools  openstudioproject  lcproject  education  highschool  smallschools 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Maverick Colleges: Ten Noble Experiments in American Undergraduate Education (1993)
[Second edition (1996) of the book with some additional schools here in PDF: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-291-learning-seminar-experiments-in-education-spring-2003/readings/MITES_291S03_maverick.pdf ]

[Wayback:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130730023648/http://www.mit.edu/~jrising/webres/maverick.txt
https://web.archive.org/web/19961105162647/http://www.gse.utah.edu/EdAdm/Galvin/Maverick.html ]

"This book is a product of a University of Utah graduate seminar conducted in the spring of 1991: "Notable Experiments in American Higher Education" (Educational Administration 728). The contributing authors are professor of educational administration L. Jackson Newell and seminar students, each of whom selected an innovative, or "experimental," college for research and reporting."

"Common Themes:

As seminar participants exchanged findings about the ten selected colleges, several prominent themes emerged that had not been predetermined by selection criteria but appeared to indicate common postures among experimental colleges. These include:

• Ideals spawning ideas. In most cases, the ten colleges appeared to start with the ideals of visionary founders. For some, the ideal concerned the citizens who would emerge from the learning experience …

• Emphasis on teaching; retreat from research. The vast majority of experimental colleges are liberal education colleges where the art of teaching and the development of students are values of high esteem. …

• Organization without specialization. Not unexpectedly, these experimental colleges also tended to turn away from the disciplinary organization of scholarship that had sprung from the German research university model. …

• Administrative innovations. Freedom from traditional higher education bureaucracy and hierarchy have been common pursuits of the colleges studied. …

Divergent Approaches:

Just as common themes instruct us about the aims and aspirations of various experimental colleges, so too do their divergent approaches. Two notable areas of difference among the colleges focus on who should attend and how their learning might best be organized during the college years."

[Bits from the section on Black Mountain College:]

"Its educational commitment--to democratic underpinnings for learning that comes from "human contact, through a fusion of mind and emotion" (Du Plessix-Gray 1952:10)-- was reflective of a larger liberal environment that managed a brief appearance before the 1950s ushered in fear of Communism and love of television."



"Rice and his colleagues had stronger convictions about how a college should operate than about how and what students might learn. Democracy would be paramount in the administration of the college, and structure would be loose. Students and faculty joined in marathon, long-winded decision-making meetings with decisions ranging from a faculty termination to a library acquisition.

Particularly prominent, and vital to the democratic underpinnings envisioned by Rice, was the absence of any outside governing body. Rice had determined that control exerted by boards of trustees and college presidents rendered faculty participation meaningless, limiting faculty to debate, "with pitiable passion, the questions of hours, credits, cuts. . . . They bring the full force of their manhood to bear on trivialities. They know within themselves that they can roam at will only among minutiae of no importance" (Adamic, 1938:624).

The faculty did establish a three-member "Board of Fellows," elected from among them and charged with running the business affairs of the College. Within a year, a student member was added to the Board."



"The 23-year history of Black Mountain College was one of few constants and much conflict. Three forceful leaders marked three distinct periods during the 23 years: the John Rice years, the Josef Albers decade, and the Charles Olson era.

During the first 5 years of the College, a solidarity of philosophy and community gradually took shape. It revolved largely around John Rice's outgoing personality (much intelligence and much laughter mark most reports from colleagues and students) and forceful opinions about education. He was determined, for example, that every student should have some experience in the arts.

This translated as at least an elementary course in music, dramatics and/or drawing, because:
There is something of the artist in everyone, and the development of this talent, however small, carrying with it a severe discipline of its own, results in the student's becoming more and more sensitive to order in the world and within himself than he can ever possibly become through intellectual effort alone. (Adamic 1938:626)

Although he cautioned against the possible tyranny of the community, Rice eventually decided that some group activity would,
…help the individual be complete, aware of his relation to others. Wood chopping, road-mending, rolling the tennis courts, serving tea in the afternoon, and other tasks around the place help rub off individualistic corners and give people training in assuming responsibility. (Ibid, 1938:627)



"Rice soon discovered what he would later call the "three Alberses"--the teacher, the social being and the Prussian. The Prussian Albers decried the seeming lack of real leadership at the College and the free-wheeling, agenda-less, community-wide meetings. Rice noted later, "You can't talk to a German about liberty. You just waste your breath. They don't know what the hell you mean" (Duberman 1972:69)."



"The war years ushered in a different kind of Black Mountain; one where students, and at least some faculty members, started lobbying for more structure in learning, but yet more freedom outside the classroom. Lectures and recitations were starting to occur within the classroom, while cut-off blue jeans and nude sun bathing appeared outside. Influential faculty member Eric Bentley insisted to his colleagues: "I can't teach history if they're not prepared to do some grinding, memorizing, getting to know facts and dates and so on…" (Duberman 1972:198). Needless to say, with Albers and many of the original faculty still on board, faculty meetings were decisive and volatile.

Overshadowing this dissent, however, was a new program that was to highlight at least the public notion of a historical "saga" for the College, the summer institutes. Like much at Black Mountain, the summer institutes started more by chance than choice."



"The summer institutes grew throughout the 1940s to include notable talents in art, architecture, music and literature. And it is probably these institutes and the renown of the individuals in attendance that contributed most to Black Mountain's reputation as an art school."



The excitement and publicity generated by the summer sessions, in addition to a general higher education population explosion spurred by the G.I. Bill, put the Black Mountain College of the late 1940s on its healthiest economic footing yet.

Still, Black Mountain managed to avoid financial stability. Student turnover negated some of the volume gains. Faculty salaries rose substantially, but grants and endowments did not. Stephen Forbes, for example, who had always been counted on to supply money to the College in tough times, refused a request in 1949 because he was disenchanted with the new emphasis on arts education at the expense of general education. The ability to manage what money it had also did not increase at Black Mountain, although Josef Albers proposed a reorganization that would include administrators and an outside board of overseers. In the wake of arguments and recriminations about the financial situation and how to solve it, a majority (by one vote) of the faculty called for the resignation of Ted Dreier, the last remaining faculty member from the founding group. In protest, four other faculty members resigned--including Josef and Anni Albers. By selling off some of the campus acreage, the remaining faculty managed to save the College and retain its original mindset of freedom from outside boards and administrators, while setting the stage for yet another era in its history [Charles Olson].



"What Albers lacked in administrative ability, he compensated for in tenacity and focus. What Rice lacked in administrative ability, he balanced with action and ideas. However, when Olson couldn't manage the administrative function, he simply retreated. His idea about turning the successful summer institutes into a similar series of year-long institutes fell on deaf faculty ears. So he gave up trying to strengthen the regular program."



"The vast majority of former Black Mountain students can point to clear instances of lasting influence on the rest of their lives. Mostly, this seems to have occurred through association: with one or two faculty members who made a difference, with a "community" of fellow individuals who were essential resources to one another, or with a new area of endeavor such as painting or writing or farming. Black Mountain, apparently, was a place where association was encouraged. Perhaps this occurred through the relatively small number of people shouldered into an isolated valley, perhaps by a common dedication to the unconventional, or perhaps to the existence of ideals about learning and teaching. At any rate, the encouragement of association with people and with ideas was not the norm in higher education then, nor is it now. Clearly, it is possible to graduate from most colleges and universities today with little, if any, significant association with faculty, students or ideas.

But at Black Mountain, as at other experimental colleges, association could hardly be avoided. Engagement with people and ideas was paramount; activity was rampant. It was social, and it was educational. As Eric Bentley would remark:

Where, as at Black Mountain, there is a teacher to every three students the advantage is evident. . .a means to … [more]
deepspringscollege  reed  reedcollege  stjohn'scollege  prescottcollege  bereacollege  colleges  alternative  alternativeeducation  lcproject  openstudioproject  experientialeducation  unschooling  deschooling  1991  ljacksonnewell  katherinereynolds  keithwilson  eannadams  cliffordcrelly  kerrienaylor  zandilenkbinde  richardsperry  ryotakahashi  barbrawardle  antiochcollege  antioch  hierarchy  organizations  ephemeral  leadership  teaching  learning  education  schools  research  visionaries  ideals  idealism  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  transdisciplinary  innovation  freedom  bureaucracy  universityofchicago  collegeoftheatlantic  democracy  democraticeducation  structure  ephemerality  popupschools  small  smallschools  josefalbers  charlesolson  johnandrewrice  lucianmarquis  highered  highereducation  progressivism  blackmountaincollege  bmc  maverickcolleges  evergreenstatecollege  experientiallearning  miamidadecommunitycollege  ucsantacruz  monteithcollege  fairhavencollege  westernwashingtonuniv 
may 2013 by robertogreco
San Francisco School Takes Experiential Learning to the Next Level - Education - GOOD
"Imagine receiving an electric drill to use at school—and the freedom to learn and explore while building things with it. That’s what happens at Brightworks, a year-old nonprofit private alternative school located in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The school is tiny—just 20 students between 6 and 13 years old—but it's building quite the reputation for its innovative learning philosophy. Brightworks takes its cues from the maker and tinkering movements, which do away with formal classroom instruction in favor of project-based experiential learning.

Students aren’t divided into traditional grade levels, either: The school allows kids to interact naturally across age groups—older students work on more sophisticated projects while younger ones learn primarily through play. And, instead of relying on tests to measure learning, the school's students create portfolios. …"

[Video embedded]
hybridskills  behavior  social  kidcity  learning  confidence  radicalschooling  alternative  radical  projectbasedlearning  mixed-age  smallschools  lcproject  video  sanfrancisco  make  making  learningbydoing  democraticlearning  democraticschools  democraticeducation  deschooling  unschooling  collaboration  schooldesign  schools  cv  education  lizdwyer  assessment  self-directedlearning  2012  brightworks  gevertulley  pbl 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Small School in The Big Apple - YouTube
"Urban Academy has just 150 students and is one of six small schools in the Julia Richmond complex, New York. Ann Cook, co-director, explains how it operates and what they do to appeal to young people."
curriculum  instruction  relationships  firstnamebasis  anncook  engagement  smallschools  learning  education  schools  nyc  urbanacademy 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Social ecology of similarity
"Social ecologies shape the way people initiate and maintain social relationships. Settings with much opportunity will lead to more fine-grained similarity among friends; less opportunity leads to less similarity. We compare two ecological contexts—a large, relatively diverse state university versus smaller colleges in the same state—to test the hypothesis that a larger pool of available friendship choices will lead to greater similarity within dyads. Participants in the large campus sample reported substantially more perceived ability to move in and out of relationships compared to participants in the small colleges sample. Dyads were significantly more similar on attitudes, beliefs, and health behaviors in the large campus than in the small colleges sample. Our findings reveal an irony—greater human diversity within an environment leads to less personal diversity within dyads. Local social ecologies create their own “cultures” that affect how human relationships are formed."
small  innovation  groupthink  diversity  deschooling  unschooling  learning  education  universities  colleges  humanscale  scale  humans  lcproject  toshare  tcsnmy  relationships  socialecology  smallschools 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Environmental psychology - Wikipedia
"Roger Barker…created the field of ecological psychology. Founding his research station in Oskaloosa, Kansas in 1947, his field observations expanded into the theory that social settings influence behavior. Empirical data gathered in Oskaloosa from 1947-1972 helped him develop the concept of the “behavior setting” to help explain the relationship btwn the individual & the immediate environment. This was further explored in his work with Paul Gump in the book Big School, Small School: High School Size & Student Behavior. One of the first insightful explanations on why groups tend to be less satisfying for their members as they increase in size, their studies illustrated that large schools had a similar number of behavior settings to that of small schools. This resulted in the students’ ability to presume many different roles in small schools (e.g. be in the school band & football team) but in larger schools there was a propensity to deliberate over their social choices."
rogerbarker  smallschools  groupsize  behavior  environmentalpsychology  paulgump  bigschools  schools  social  tcsnmy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Alternative 'Commie' High Mellows with Time : NPR
"Small, alternative high schools are like butterflies: They're unique and colorful, and they don't survive very long.

Experimental high schools are often born in a burst of enthusiasm, then disappear when the budget gets tight. But amid all the changing flavors of education reform, one school has hung in there. Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., has offered children in this progressive city an alternative to traditional high school since 1972.

For a high school, Community is small — 450 students housed in a well-worn former elementary school. But if you want a quick glimpse at what really makes Community different, don't go to a regular class. Go to what Community calls a "forum."

Teacher Robbie Stapleton uses the forum — an enhanced homeroom — to teach values and to encourage students to bond deeply with their peers, who will spend their entire four years in high school meeting with the same group."
education  alternative  communityhighschool  highschool  progressive  identity  annarbor  michigan  tcsnmy  lcproject  community  smallschools  2008  perception  unschooling  deschooling 
june 2011 by robertogreco
High School Teaches Thoreau in the Woods : NPR
"The Walden Project is an alternative program focused on environmental studies and on the teachings of Henry David Thoreau, who did some of his best thinking outdoors at Walden Pond.

Life Consists with Wildness

Matt Schlein, a New York native, is 50 percent of the staff at Walden. After years teaching in a traditional high school, Schlein started a foundation that raised the money to buy the 260 acres that the Walden Project uses as its classroom.

Two or three days a week, Schlein drives through the farmlands around Vergennes, Vt., parks his well-used Toyota next to a 200-year-old barn, grabs some vegetables from a garden he maintains and walks nearly a mile through the woods.

On one school day in early January, Schlein gets to a spot where 19 students sit on a motley collection of old chairs and benches. Schlein starts to read from Thoreau's essay "Walking."…"
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  2008  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Walden: Introduction « Willowell Foundation
"student…is asked to distill this info & create a cohesive picture of the world. While it is undoubtedly true that many students have achieved success w/ this model, it is also clear that this model does not work for everyone. Creating a sense of one’s place in world, through education, is a highly individualized affair. To that end, it is important that we offer students a variety of ways to wrestle w/ the important questions of learning, where there is a natural thematic connection linking the fields of study. There is a historical precedence for this type of interdisciplinary education.

On the following pages, you will read about TWP…a model based upon this idea…each academic discipline is discussed & its relationship to the VT Framework of Standards is detailed…program itself is designed so these distinctions are blurred. While students will undoubtedly gain the skills in each academic discipline, these skills will be developed as part of a broader mode of inquiry."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Outside In: The Walden Project Helps Students See the Forest for the Trees | Edutopia
"not school in the traditional sense. It is a community of 19 students & 2 teachers who use this former farmland for what the founder calls a "great, living template for education." They spend three days a week outdoors, through fall, bitter winter, and spring. On Tuesdays, for Field Sociology class and writing, the students visit government offices, nonprofit organizations, & other institutions in Burlington, a college town of 40,000 located 20mi away.

On Fridays, they work at internships in their areas of interest, such as Web design or photography.

Matt Schlein, who had taught English, drama, & psychology at VUHS for 6 years, founded the project in 2000 with a vision of authentic, student-directed learning based in nature. He created a small foundation, Willowell, and collected grants and donations to buy the 230 acres Walden Project participants call simply "the land" -- a swath of sloping fields spotted with woods & ringed by the Green Mountains."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  funding  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Walden Project
"The Walden Project is an alternative learning program through Vergennes Union High School. It focuses mainly on science and literature while exploring the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. Walden encourages students to take their education into their own hands and make it their own."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
BBC News - Shops into schools in five months
"Much of the previously-announced scheme to rebuild schools, Building Schools for the Future, has been cancelled.
schools  uk  schooldesign  popupschools  space  smallschools  lcproject  cities  retailspace 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Education Week: Small Schools Still In Flux
"But the results have been mixed, national and local research shows. Students at small high schools were more likely to graduate, have positive relationships with their teachers, and feel safer. Still, they did no better on standardized tests than did their peers at big schools.

In Philadelphia, where 26 of the 32 small high schools have been opened or made smaller in the last seven years, some schools have thrived. Their presence has transformed the high school mix...

Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford University who has done extensive research on small schools, said the movement was "still pretty vibrant," albeit more focused on small learning communities these days.

Small learning communities can work, Darling-Hammond said, but only if they have "a common group of teachers and a common group of students working on a common intellectual agenda.""
education  smallschools  small  lindadarling-hammond  chrislehmann  schools  philadelphia  tcsnmy 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Why Kids Are Losing The Ability To Argue Convincingly - Synthesizing Education
"My contention is that developing these types of relationships is one reason for why students spend so much time online and are glued to a computer. More importantly, they no longer feel a need to work diligently with each other to solve discrepancies in opinions simply because they have an endless supply of candidates that will agree with their point of view with no effort whatsoever."

[another reason I like the small school environment and morning meeting and ... — no choice but to resolve disagreements and appreciate others]
argument  tcsnmy  smallschools  facebook  twitter  society  resolution  social  socialcurriculum 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Crow Island School - Wikipedia
"Crow Island School is an elementary school significant for its architecture. It was a collaboration between Larry Perkins and Eero Saarinen.[3] It currently serves kindergarten through fourth grade students.[4]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1990."
eerosaarinen  schools  schooldesign  modernism  architecture  design  landmarks  crowislandschool  illinois  smallschools 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Save John W. Chorley Elementary
On December 18th, 2008 voters in the Middletown, NY enlarged school district passed a referendum (428 for, 238 against) to acquire additional adjacent property to build a new elementary school. At the last minute a provision was added to demolish John Chorley Elementary School and replace it with a parking lot, despite the construction of the new school does not require Chorley's demolition and without consideration of integrating the historic structure into the proposal or the possibility of Chorley's adaptive reuse. Unless action is taken, John W. Chorley Elementary will be replaced as soon as the 2011-12 school year."

[photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73172555@N00/sets/72157611232450831/ ]

[via: http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=95652_0_24_0_C ]
schools  schooldesign  architecture  history  preservation  paulrudolph  design  smallschools 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Bridging Differences: The Purpose of Small Schools - "A colleague and pro-KIPP’er friend acknowledged that their kids sometimes have difficulty in high schools that expect kids to be more independent, speak up, write well, and be intellectual explorers.
"Small schools are an attempt to re-create, intentionally, the best of the family dinner table, the town meeting, the public square, the legislative process, the team, and the academy of thinkers—with as much of the diversity of the larger community as
schools  schooldesign  education  learning  smallschools  lcproject  leadership  management  administration  community  tcsnmy  classideas 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: So You Want to be a School Reform Star?
"It is genuinely difficult to pick apart the overlapping tactics and rhetoric these two groups employ, and the Klonsky's do an excellent job of explaining the history and philosophy of the dueling "small schools" movements. [progressives vs neo-cons]"
smallschools  schools  schooldesign  reform  progressive  books  change  alternative  neo-cons  public  policy  privatization 
july 2008 by robertogreco

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