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NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

Perfect School

Alliya (Grade 10 / Northfield School of Arts and Technology) Posted April 09 2007

Editor’s note: Alliya, a sophomore at ARTECH in Northfield, wrote this essay on her vision of a perfect school after reading The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. See also her classmate’s perception of an ideal school.

When I think of a perfect school, I fundamentally think of a community of self-motivated learners. I think of a stimulating environment. I think of teachers who are excited to help each student. I think of curious and enthusiastic learners who are ready for any challenge and welcomes them with open arms.

A stimulating environment would include all students working passionately. One student might be playing and instrument while another is writing a book in a loft full of coffee house-like furnishings. The building would be close to outside resources like the library, community center, or even a fabric store. Inside, there would be a place for everyone: music rooms, a writing loft filled with books, a video-editing studio. There would be a place for a garden if students felt so inspired. And, of course, it would be full of color.

There wouldn’t be teachers, or at least not traditional teachers. They would be adults that we could look up to. They would be great resources. If they couldn’t help, they would redirect you to someone who could. They would be interested in all students projects and give them full and passionate attention when talking to them. But most importantly, they would treat students equally. They would motivate students in positive ways. They would always keep all of the students’ best interests in mind when making decisions, not just a few of them. They would be mentors and they would love doing it.

Another thing that is really important is how the school is run – how decisions are made and how much involvement the students have. It is important that the students play a major part in the decision-making process. If students are going to love coming to school, they need to make the school their own. Students have their own opinions and, most of the time, those opinions are really good. A student should be on the school board, a student should go to the staff meetings, a student should be on any hiring committee, and a student should be giving tours and informing others about the school. This would make a huge statement to kids who are interested in attending the school. If the school is focused on helping each child, they should have that child be a part of as much of the educational process as possible.

Although the atmosphere, environment, and teachers are important, they still aren’t as important as the students. The students will produce the work, they will be attending the school, they will be the representatives. These students would be here because they want to be here. They would have a positive look on education and wouldn’t need motivation to become inspired. They don’t necessarily need to know what they want to do when they “grow up,” they just need to know their interests. They would have a positive attitude toward people around them and would always chose mature ways of dealing with conflict. They would want to help the students and adults around them. They would just be fun to be around!

I don’t know how possible it is to find a school like this. It sure is fun to dream, though.

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