Published on 11/01/2019
I attended and presented at the National Alternative Education Association conference in Tampa this past week. I met some remarkable educators from around the country- New York, Utah, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky, to name a few. There are dedicated, innovative people everywhere who care deeply about kids and families, and are doing extraordinary work. Some of the common threads among us I noticed were a deep and abiding care for each student, a strong belief in the dignity and ability of each student, and prioritization of healthy relationships in a learning community.
I gave a presentation about our program called, “Engagement, Flexibility, and Community: Parent Partnership Programs”. Although I focused specifically about how we do K-6 education, I also summarized the history of the alternative education movement and the advent of homeschool co-ops (PPPs) in Washington, the evolution of the Alternative Learning Experience rules, and how we are part of a larger, generative movement in our state. I also shared In Lak’ech (You Are My Other Me, which we use to begin many classes and meetings), the tribal land acknowledgment, and other features of our school and district.
The reception was really positive, and educators who were able to attend the session were impressed by what we do and how we impact our students. They remarked about our school as a safe learning environment, and about how it is an innovative solution to personalizing learning. They also could see how it is a great place for diverse learning needs, various cultures, and students with unique scheduling needs.
Our program is unlike any in our nation. Very few other states or districts have programs like this codified in policy or law, and Washington leads the way in providing for using public resources in this unique way in service of families. We have created an amazing place for our students, and I feel honored to be part of such a community.