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Continuous Growth - 2022

  • March 2022 Spring Break marks 2 years of COVID-19.  Based on the recent CDC recommendations, we find ourselves hoping to begin Spring Term without mask requirement.  While grateful for some ease and peace regarding Covid, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine (and the globe) looms large in the collective landscape.

  • The young folks have rebranded the Schooly Thursday as simply another SDE day, namely Thursday.  Given the choice, folks started opting out of the adult implied requirement of showing up for each class offered on Schooly Thursdays.  Noticing this shift, this conversation about continuing was brought up at the community meeting.  A quick conversation shifted how Thursdays would be viewed (and attended) in the future. 

  •  There was continued interest in debate.  It also served as a useful tool to have critical conversations and expansive thought processes regarding theoretical topics and those applicable to HGEC, such as the language used between friends, the responsibility of safety on the property, and such.

  • Many in the group went through the .b program of MiSP with a stipend for their volunteer effort.  At this juncture we have a common language and understanding of mindfulness.

Awareness Moments - 2021

  • Folks chose to establish a school day experience on Thursdays.  Starting with homeroom to offerings such as Fitness, including Boxing, Science, Biology, Mathematics, Writing, and Debate are explored and desired!  When people are free to choose their learning pace and content, the degree of engagement and joy is boundless.

  • For some, it felt easier to navigate pre-planned schedules than to find oneself with open time.  Setting real-time intentions versus following organic and emergent activities in the company of others is another interesting dichotomy.  While there are those that are single-minded in pursuing their desired activity, most folks lean towards their friend community as a game or project emerges from group dialogue.  

  • Brainstorming solutions and dialoguing about issues present in a community is taking shape with young people chairing community meetings and having dialogue around challenges. 

  • COVID-19 and its variants have become a "normal" part of life scape.  Masks are worn inside and not required in outside spaces.

Lessons Learned - 2020 

  • Self-Directed Education (SDE) Thursdays were a hit for the learners!  The ability to set an intention to play, cook or learn to make a YouTube channel was liberating for most.  

  • Supporting SDE is challenging and messy.  It requires a mix of care, intention and conscientiousness.

  • PBL module days, if too structured, continue to challenge the attention span of learners not particularly interested in the topic at hand.  There is a disconnect between the degree of interest by the learners (generally surface) and the level of depth (complex) provided by the facilitators. 

  • COVID-19: Getting together in person is far superior to distance learning.  Children miss the energy of being with each other regardless of the degree of friendships established.

Lessons Learned - 2019

On Social-Emotional Learning

Although we began because of a desire for academic centered cooperative learning, our greatest challenges and celebrations have been in the social-emotional learning realm. 

  • Adults and kids continue our learning on how to navigate friendships and social norms. 

  • We strive for our kids to be true to themselves, use their voice and be kind to others.  Feelings get hurt and we work through those and unveil mental constructs that cause reactivity.  

  • As adults, we have conversations about our differing world views.  We dialogue about the world we want to create while being pragmatic about the world as it is. 

Excerpt from an interview with Maya Angelou in 1973 (retrieved from Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown):​


"Moyers: Do you belong anywhere?

Angelou: I haven't yet.

Moyers: Do you belong to anyone?

Angelou: More and more.  I mean, I belong to myself.  I'm very proud of that.  I am very concerned about how I look at Maya.  I like Maya very much.  I like the humor and courage very much.  And when I find myself acting in a way that isn't...that doesn't please me-then I have to deal with that."

Lessons Learned - Spring 2019

Our initial semester was an exciting journey!  Along the way, we learned a few lessons, some new and some reminders:


On Modules:

  • Repeating learning experiences is not desired.  A few of our modules were repeats for families that overlapped on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Example: Performing Arts

  • Additionally modules in sequence, under the same category, need to have significantly different content to be engaging for students; or the second module should be a continuation of, or build on, the content of the first.  Minor variation between two consecutive modules is not enough to hold interest.  Example: Science –Fabric

  • Purchase new experiences on a monthly basis depending on continued interest, with no extended commitment.  Example: Tai-Chi & Qi Gong

  • Age appropriate education is more engaging for the Focus Group (Branches) and the younger Sibling Group (Buds).  Example: Entrepreneurship Modules with EYE Founder, Dora, working with the Branches and Sabrina guiding the Buds.

  • Building modules on Tuesday and Thursday were well received as one focused on Architectural Studio model making, and the other geared towards real construction through wood shop projects.

On Human Factors:

  • Finding your tribe within the larger tribe is a sensitive process that requires open communication, coaching and guidance. 

  • As is true of construction problems, same holds for relational issues, the longer it lingers the bigger it gets.  Address percolating tensions and issues sooner than later.  

  • Future Action: Call a bell circle (ring the bell) for all parties necessary to have sociocratic dialogue around relational or other human factors.  (Reference documentary: School Circles)

On Finances:

  • Families would like to know total semester cost, including material costs, in so far as possible.  

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