Staff Initiatives Update
The Circle School Blog
by Cody Unger
6M ago
Circle School staff continue to advance our staff initiative as adopted in fall 2022: Increase the quality of life for Circle School students and staff, particularly through three initiatives: Increase students’ access to resources. Increase staff’s student-facing time. Build community. Following a written update in August 2023 and an verbal update at our recent Pizza & Chat event, this update shares some recent highlights and what we’re working on now. Increase students’ access to resources Our new Resource Committee is responsible for allocating funding and supporting students in con ..read more
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Finding Happiness In School
The Circle School Blog
by Jim Rietmulder
1y ago
I want children in school to find happiness. Not momentary fireworks, but the saturating joy of purpose and meaning in life. Not someday, but now, as children. I’ve noticed that kids who live fulfilling lives as kids tend to build fulfilling lives as adults. I think personal fulfillment is a learned way of life. It may be easy or hard to learn, but once you do, you never want to stop. You live to capacity, and then you discover more. Fulfillment in one moment tends to lead to fulfillment in the next. It becomes an outlook, an expectation, and a demand on self and life. Wishing happiness for ch ..read more
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“Get to” vs “Have to”
The Circle School Blog
by Cody Unger
1y ago
When I was 13 years old, I didn’t want to attend The Circle School. My mom and stepdad had fallen in love with the school, and found my two younger siblings required no selling on the idea, but I wasn’t buying. I was mostly happy in public school, though in hindsight it’s clear I was finding the external validation of good grades increasingly empty. School was so easy, so unchallenging and demotivating that, in my boredom, I was finding silly ways to challenge myself and impress others. What’s more challenging and impressive than getting straight As? Getting straight As without studying. I lea ..read more
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Chickens with missions
The Circle School Blog
by 007
2y ago
Concealed in a shipping container, six secret agents arrived in April — unarmed, disarming, and charming. Their handlers, the Cool Things Outside Corporation, commandeered a lavatory and quartered the agents in an improvised barracks. Dozens of locals peeped in on them each day, and they were surveilled 24/7 in a public livestream. On weekends, a dedicated corps of volunteers smuggled in food and assisted in their care. Now that the agents have been exfiltrated to an undisclosed location (for the summer), their missions and other intel can be revealed. [Code names and known aliases only. Seque ..read more
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Community in Committee
The Circle School Blog
by Ellen Abbott
2y ago
Over the past year, I was a member of The Circle School’s ad hoc Anti-Racism Committee, formed by the Board of Trustees in February 2021. I’m so grateful for the perspective I gained through this work, and in conversations with my fellow committee members (Kirsten Reinford, Michelle Loucas, Hladini Mensah, and JD Stillwater). At our weekly ad hoc committee meetings, the five of us began by checking in with each other, and sharing information about our days and lives. Over the course of the year, we celebrated each other’s birthdays, new jobs, and small victories. We empathized with each other ..read more
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From Founding Furnace to Post-Curricular
The Circle School Blog
by Jim Rietmulder
2y ago
With retirement on the horizon, I’m feeling reflective. This morning I’m thinking about how different The Circle School is today from the way it was in its founding years. And how much the same it is. I’m thinking about changes to come, and how the cherished sameness can remain. The original and still current idea of The Circle School was captured in the first sentence of its founding document in 1983: “We believe in the wisdom of each person to know what’s best for him or her.” That “wisdom” has two parts: an inborn impulse to grow and a subtle compass to point the way. A child may not be abl ..read more
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I feel peaceful here, Mommy
The Circle School Blog
by Faith Brooks-Carr
2y ago
Faith and family Hello Circle School Family! I became interested in the school many years ago when I started my family. I had begun delving deeper into research regarding what successfully existed globally based on the personal criteria I held. My personal criteria were heavily influenced by both my experience teaching in alternative education and my gut reaction to the state of affairs in public education. So naturally (when the time came), The Circle School was on my radar. By the time my children were of age to attend, I had researched the school heavily, and we had visited and toured sev ..read more
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No, Kids Don’t Rule the School
The Circle School Blog
by Jim Rietmulder
2y ago
At first glance, you might get the wrong idea from the title of my book, When Kids Rule the School. You might think kids are in charge in some sort of absolute way. It’s not that simple. The publishers didn’t like my working title: “Kids Practicing Life,” which I have to admit is dull. My subtitle was lame, too: “Inside self-directed democratic schooling.” Theirs is so much better, they even put it in all caps: THE POWER AND PROMISE OF DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION. (Yes, that IS a good representation of the book and the school.) In reality, the “kids rule” title is a bit true, a bit provocative, and a ..read more
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Marina’s cardboard spinning wheel
The Circle School Blog
by Marina Reinford
3y ago
Sometime back in March, I made a cardboard spinning wheel at school. If any of you are wondering what type of school I go to where I can make a spinning wheel out of cardboard, it’s called The Circle School, and it’s a self-directed democratic school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a pretty interesting school, and if you’ve never heard of it, I recommend checking it out. Anyways, one day at school, I was talking with some of the staff members about the mechanics of spinning wheels and fiber, and showing them a book I had that explained the basics of spinning, and the thought came up of makin ..read more
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Arbitrary Milestones: a graduation speech
The Circle School Blog
by EvaMarie Adame
3y ago
EvaMarie: Bolder at the hilltop One of the most popular human figures to come out of Greek mythology is, arguably, Sisyphus. For those who don’t know his story, basically, he was a king who cheated death in his youth, and when he eventually died of old age and had to go back to the underworld, he was given the punishment of eternally rolling a boulder up a hill, as soon as it reaches the top, it rolls back down, so he’s stuck doing a meaningless, impossible task again and again. Even unto this very day, if it’s to be believed. Rock and roll This myth, like a lot of myths that persist in po ..read more
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