At The Highland School, students have the rare opportunity to face real life problems, create solutions, share their ideas with other children and adults alike, and see what happens when their decisions are applied everyday. Students learn to be responsible community members by having equal voices in making complicated choices.
Children put their best efforts into their freely chosen, self-directed activities. Children may spend days, weeks or months, acquiring skills. Creative, unstructured play is a large part of daily life for students. At The Highland School, children have the opportunity to play from the time they enter at 4 years old until they graduate in their late teens. The type of play may change over the years, but an attitude of playfulness toward solving problems and social interactions remains.
Age mixing enriches the lives of both older and younger students. Since younger and older students have equal rights, children can learn easily from the experiences of others. Sharing ideas, debating beliefs, or asking questions is a big part of daily life. Because we are a small school, children have the opportunity to serve as leaders in a variety of special interest groups and school committees. Students who were initially very shy have become leaders of the General School Meeting or smaller groups.
At The Highland School, students can spend time alone, have individual tutoring, join in group projects, start classes, participate in apprenticeships, take community college courses in later years, and learn through the democratic process of group decision-making at any age. Staff members are available as resources when students request their help.
Overall, daily life at The Highland School is a process of individual growth, interactions with others, thoughtful decision-making, and communication with fellow school members. Each day is different, but opportunities for play, skill development, and decision-making abound.
The Judicial System enforces the rules we make and protects each individual’s rights. When a rule is broken or someone violates another’s rights, a complaint is written. Even the youngest child learns to write a complaint, often with the help of another school member.
Judging takes place within 24 hours of a complaint being written and due process rules are followed. Rights to appeal to the General School Meeting safeguard each individual's rights within the judicial process. All school members are responsible for enforcing the GSM's rules.
General School Meeting
The General School Meeting (GSM) is a fundamental part of our democratic process. Each person - student or staff - has one vote.
The GSM creates all the rules. Rules are made by majority vote and can be changed at any time. If a meeting member doesn’t like a rule or thinks a new one needs to be made, the individual brings up the issue at the GSM. School members have ownership of the rules because they take part in making them.