I Dream of Building Such a School One Day, Part II

Remember, money is no object.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

In my last article, I listed the following priorities, among others. I will address them one at a time.

View at Medium.com

Why build yet another school? What is the mission statement?

The mission of this school would include statements about what our students should learn, how they should learn, and why the learning is important.

First, we should graduate students who can think critically. So, blah. So what? What does that even mean?

In my opinion, that means students should be able to question everything. They should not accept things at face value, but be able to articulate their acceptance or rejection of an idea or concept after evaluating facts and synthesizing the arguments posed. They should also be able to evaluate the concept by interrogating it using their own experiences. It is our duty to help them learn how to master that, so that it comes automatically.

Second, students should be able to problem solve. Therefore, they should have a solid grounding in math and science, as well as philosophy. Using their knowledge of math, science, and philosophy, supported with history and literature, they should be able to innovate solutions to problems and articulate those solutions in writing and verbally. Our learning process should synthesize these skills and concepts so they seem natural, automatic, and empowering.

Third, they should understand their contributions to service make all the difference. Students should complete service projects to demonstrate this understanding. Our commitment as educators toward service should shine through in everything we do. In the end, service to others is all that matters, which is why we teach.

Critical Thinking. Problem Solving and Innovation. Service. That is why our school exists, and why we want students to join us and learn with us.

That sounds like a good start.

Should the school be a day school or a boarding school?

I would like the school to be a boarding school. I love this idea, and my research into boarding schools has intrigued me. I love the idea of dorm parents (teachers and administrators). I love the idea of helping students learn to live and thrive on their own.

I have watched my son go through college and learn to live on his own. At 21, I could not even have dreamed of living on my own. Yet, there he is, my hero, sharing an apartment all because he has had three years of experience being independent. He knows (as does his wonderful girlfriend) what to do, how to manage, and how to thrive. Why not help younger students discover that so they can go off to college or career confident in their ability to help themselves?

What benefits could each student look forward to (clothing, nutrition, healthcare, wellness services, ed-tech, dormitory, etc.)?

Keeping in mind that money is no object, then each student who attended the school would have access to uniforms for school, sleep clothing, athletic clothing, outerwear, and whatever else they need. They would have to do their own laundry, of course! Remember, they need to be self-sufficient!

Students would have access to all personal hygiene materials they need, according to their needs. For example, if someone has sensitive skin, we’re going to provide what they need. I remember teaching at a residential facility that did not consider those needs and seeing the results. It was heart breaking.

Students would have access to meals and snacks from 5 in the morning until 9 at night. Fluids, of course, would be available around the clock.

Students would have access to healthcare and wellness services around the clock.

Each student would receive a computer, printer, paper, and the office supplies they think necessary. (As a girl who loved the stationery section of every store, I would keep the pantry stocked well with everything they could ever want, even stickers. Kids love stickers. Oh, let’s face it, everyone loves stickers.)

Each student would have a comfortable dorm room. They would have comfortable sheets, comforters, cooling blankets, shag rugs… whatever they need. They would share their room with a roommate, so they could learn to live with someone else. They would learn how to care for their room using appliances provided by the school.

Every student would have clean and sanitary facilities for personal hygiene. I say this because I worked in a residential facility that made residents use portable toilets most of the time. That’s a story for another time.

Upon request, other student needs would be addressed. Almost nothing would be denied.

What age range would be accommodated at this school?

I am a secondary school teacher, so at this time, this school would accomodate students aged 12–19. I would eliminate grade levels, however. That’s for another post.

What are the entrance requirements?

Students need to prove they want to work hard. They can come to this school tuition and board free if they can prove their desire to develop the skills of critical thinking, problem solving and innovation, and service, as stated in the mission statement.

How can they prove that? Well, that would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, honestly. Here are some quick examples:

  1. Eagle Scouts who applied for dues sponsorship and worked on their project despite personal hardship. (Note: scouting isn’t just for boys anymore, and girls can now become Eagle Scouts, too. It’s thrilling, really.)
  2. Youth who have lived under challenging circumstances and have met their obligations.
  3. Those who can articulate a dream and how they want to fulfill it.
  4. Those who have recommendations from several teachers and community leaders.
  5. Youth who have the drive and determination, and need assistance fulfilling their dreams for whatever reason.

What parental and community obligations should we establish?

Parents and community members should understand that we need them. They will work with their students to ensure that what they learn at the school will translate to sustainable initiatives at home.

For example, if a student shows interest in clinical services in the community, then parents and community members can work with that student to launch a project. We can help the student develop the plan, share it with the parents and community, and then ask the community and parents to find the funding. We can help with that too.

There are so many service projects we could help students develop and parents/community members launch. Imagine the difference these students could make? What a lovely idea.

In the next article, I will address the following questions.

  1. Who would make the perfect head master? Who would do well in our administration?
  2. Who would make the perfect educational professional?
  3. Who would make the perfect school medical professional?
  4. Who would make the perfect nutrition specialist and all the other wrap around services a school needs?

Thank you for reading.

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