We begin by knowing our students as unique individuals: What are their passions? What motivates them? What creates meaning in their lives? We donʼt seek to change students; we know how amazing they already are. We facilitate their growth by traveling alongside them. Our curriculum is the practice of freedom and responsibility. Together, these gifts inspire a life-long love of learning.
Our students are allowed to spend their time however they choose. They are free to live according to their own conscience and interests, and design their own daily routines. Staff do not assign work, teach classes, give tests, or insist that students learn anything in particular. This gives students the opportunity to pursue their own passions, discover their unique learning styles, and truly know themselves.
Freedom comes with great responsibility. Our students are responsible for their own bodies, time, environment, possessions, and educational outcomes. With such great responsibility, students learn how to achieve their own goals using their own motivation, as well as how to take care of themselves and their community.
We do not segregate students by age. We respect that no two children are the same and that different children learn things at different ages. Our students are free to associate with whomever they like. This enables younger students to learn from older students by watching them, and allows young students to participate in more sophisticated games which they would not be able to conduct by themselves. Meanwhile, exposure to young children gives older students the opportunity to cultivate gentleness, compassion, and leadership.
The Open School is governed entirely by the School Meeting, in which each student and staff member gets one vote. The School Meeting makes all decisions for the school, including administration, budgeting, rule creation, and election of staff. Every individual in the community, whether five years old or fifty, has the same power to advocate for his or her interests. Our students know that they have a valued voice and that they are truly capable of changing their world.
Conflicts are handled by a Civics Board consisting of students and staff. This body conducts investigations and votes on sentences, making sure that all individuals are heard and tried fairly. Our aim is to address the needs of victims as well as offenders, and to use creative problem solving to prevent further conflict.