Meet Lexie!

Lexie joined The Open School’s virtual program in February of 2022. Throughout her years of being a student in both public and private school, she always questioned the educational system. She could see how that environment suppressed the freedom kids need to properly express themselves. Deep down she knew she wouldn’t be able to stay in conventional school until the 12th grade. When her 2nd semester of 10th grade began, she actively started searching for solutions to make school a happier place for her. She was open to just taking her GED and graduating from school early, however, something kept telling her that she shouldn’t settle for that path and to keep looking. She had no idea how or what was going to help her legally leave high school besides a diploma, but she kept the faith!

It took her eight days from deciding she was going to leave public school to stumble upon the Sudbury model. When she discovered The Open School she took the initiative and personally emailed the founder, Cassi Clausen, telling her she needed in as soon as possible! In the coming weeks, she did all the meetings and personally signed all the paperwork (with her mom present of course) to officially become an Open School student!

Lexie couldn’t wait to start her self-directed journey! Throughout her years in conventional school, she was always brainstorming ideas on what her own school would look like. She wanted to create an environment of inspiration that was led by children’s curiosities and passions. So when she became a student at The Open School, she felt as if her vision had come to life! During her two-and-a-half years here she intentionally put herself on a path to learn important life skills. She challenged herself to take on many projects and leadership roles to grow more in her confidence and her ability to lead a community. In her first year at school, she created the Virtual Community Development Committee, the Student Advocate role, and the Buddy System. All three additions play a major role in different aspects of the virtual program today!

Although she wasn’t a part of the Diploma Program, she still planned and budgeted a personal adventure to go on with a fellow student. They both are passionate about Self-Directed Education and wanted to visit and study other schools similar to ours. So in January 2023, they went to New York City for two weeks, and for the first week they visited Zena Democratic School in Hudson Valley. It was super exciting for Lexie to see how another free school functions and to make those connections with other like-minded folks. A future goal of hers is to visit every democratic school there is!

During her 2nd year at school, she became the first student chair for the virtual school meeting, served as a member for the schools board, was the virtual Law Book Agent, and was the chair of five virtual committees. Those committees are, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Welfare, Virtual Community Development, Engagement Committee, and Welcome Committee. She also spent a lot of time working on her own self-directed writing projects. She has published a series of blogs titled “A Journey of Self-Directed Education” that discusses how this form of education from a student’s perspective can be empowering for children of all ages. She also designed a “Meet The Staff” book for the virtual and in-person program! She interviewed each staff member and worked with them individually to create their own “About Me” page for people of the community to read. She had another project idea that was inspired by her staff book, which was to create a section on the school’s website dedicated to acknowledging the graduates of The Open School. Which is what you’re reading right now! All of these projects helped develop her writing skills and taught her the best ways to express her thoughts and connect with her community.

Throughout her time here, Lexie has experienced an abundance of personal growth in ways she wouldn’t have expected. By stepping into leadership positions, she learned the importance of using her voice to help support and grow the greater community. She has loved being a part of the bigger conversations regarding the school’s expansion and showing up for the students in a way that makes them feel heard and appreciated. She learned a lot about finding the healthy balance between being a student leader and friend for the kids of her community.

Lexie is the only student this year not graduating within the Diploma Program, and intentionally wanted to self-direct her own personal path. She learned to fine-tune her educational experiences according to what was important to her and what she believed would progress her in life. Everything she did at school was because of her desire to learn different forms of responsibility and push her to be the best leader she can be. This was not only for herself, but to show other students that there are many ways to challenge yourself and learn important life skills besides going through the Diploma Program.

With that being said, Lexie’s unique path has opened up the opportunity to come back as a virtual staff member/intern and she was voted in as secretary for the board for the 2024/2025 school year! As she gets ready to transition from student to staff, she is forever grateful for the amazing experiences, memories, and laughs she shared with The Open School community and cannot wait for more!