The Many Paths to Learning
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Marc Gallivan
1M ago
Let's talk about learning. When you, a savvy adult, want to learn something new, what's your go-to strategy? Let me share a personal example. Recently, the hydraulics on my van's lift gate started acting up, turning every trip to the trunk into a risky adventure. Time to roll up my sleeves and tackle this myself! First, I called up my dad, the ultimate car guru, to make sure this was a DIY-worthy project. With his green light, I dove into YouTube, watching tutorials featuring cars just like mine. Armed with knowledge, I headed to Napa Auto Parts, where a friendly rep helped me pick out the per ..read more
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A Unique Education: How AVS's Self-Directed Learning Led Me to a Career in Tech
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Guest Post
4M ago
Meet Gina Mancuso, a trailblazer in the truest sense and the very first student of Alpine Valley School. Starting her journey at the tender age of six, Gina embraced the unique educational ethos of AVS, where students are empowered to take charge of their learning journey from the outset. Now a successful data protection analyst in the field of cyber security, Gina reflects on how her time at AVS, with its distinct self-directed learning model, laid the foundation for her impressive career and life skills. I started at AVS when I was six years old. Even though I was one of the youngest studen ..read more
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Honoring the Heart's Voice
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Marc Gallivan
11M ago
Yesterday, I found myself deeply engrossed in a talk by Light Watkins, a renowned meditation teacher. He was discussing a concept that resonated with me on a profound level - the idea of the "heart's voice." This is the authentic voice within us, the one that guides our actions and lets our true selves be known. Light pointed out that children are often the most in touch with this voice. It comes naturally to them, like breathing or laughing. Yet, as they grow older, the clamor of societal expectations begins to drown out this voice. In our Western society, children are often told to get serio ..read more
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The Journey From Student to Staff: Four Stories
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Marc Gallivan
1y ago
As students grow at Alpine Valley School and other self-directed democratic schools, it's not uncommon for them to express a desire to return, only this time as an employee of the school instead. In this post, four Sudbury students who lived exactly that experience tell their stories and what they learned in the transition from student to staff. Katy Alpine Valley School - Denver, CO My name is Katy Cure. I’m a former student, graduate, and current Staff Member at Alpine Valley School in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. I was a student at AVS from 2010-2017 and have been a Staff Member since 2019. As a ..read more
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What Do Staff Members Actually DO?
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Guest Post
2y ago
This blog post comes to us from Cara DeBusk of the Houston Sudbury School I arrive around 8:00 am. Several students are already at school, having arrived before we even officially open, but this is the quiet time, the calm before the beautiful storm of kid energy and activity. A student is playing Minecraft in the game room, another noodling around on the piano, a 3rd is talking to a staff person about solving ring puzzles. I make coffee, talk shop with another staff person, answer a few emails, and sit down in the dining room to drink my coffee and watch “Pick Up Sticks” while 2 students and ..read more
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Questioning Authority at School
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Larry Welshon
3y ago
Over the past 25 years, just like every student and staff member, I’ve taken turns serving on our Judicial Committee (JC). This scaled-down version of the American judicial process is how we handle alleged rule violations. The rules are developed and approved by students and staff at School Meeting, the deliberative body that handles the school’s day-to-day business. At a Sudbury school like ours, respect for the authority of JC and School Meeting is strong, because we all own these processes and can make changes when needed. But it is not unquestioned.  Two incidents recently occurred t ..read more
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Making the Dream Work
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Marc Gallivan
3y ago
Before coming to work at Alpine Valley School, I spent five years employed as a project manager. Working for a large international corporation, it was my job to ensure that multi-million-dollar projects were completed on time, within budget, and with all promised features. As you might guess, a large part of my job function involved working as part of a team and, through much trial and error, I got pretty good at it. To this day, I have retained the skill of asking someone tactfully if they expect to meet their deadline (ask my spouse!).  Working as part of a team is challenging. When di ..read more
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What the Pandemic is Teaching Us About Schooling
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Guest Post
3y ago
by Beth Stone, co-founder and staff member at The Circle School in Harrisburg, PA I love finding silver linings. When I followed the link in a recent Circle School newsletter and began reading The Atlantic magazine article, “School Wasn’t So Great Before COVID, Either,” I realized I had discovered a treasure trove of them. In the article, Erika Christakis, author, and early childhood educator, suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic, while laying bare many deficiencies in the traditional model of education, has also presented us with an opportunity to rethink how we educate our children. We have ..read more
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Our Arrogance and Wisdom
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Guest Post
3y ago
I grew up at the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham Massachusetts (1985-97). It is one of the oldest and best known democratic schools in the world. This experience provided me not only the happiest childhood I could imagine, it also gave me an unshakable confidence in the ability of children to educate themselves and create meaningful and fulfilling adult lives for themselves. Sometimes I wish I could magically impart this confidence to parents who want to be able to trust the process more and to give their kids more freedom. I wish they could see that their kids are no different t ..read more
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Strength in Struggle
Alpine Valley School Blog
by Marc Gallivan
3y ago
 Is there anything worse than watching your child struggle? I suppose there must be something, but it doesn't immediately spring to my mind. I know that personally, those moments where I've watched my son struggling to navigate a friendship have been some of the most challenging of my life. Despite my involvement with self-directed education for the past two decades, even I find myself wanting to step in and smooth things over. If only so that I don't have to feel my own discomfort anymore.   There's a strong temptation to intervene when someone we love is struggling, and it's ..read more
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