To fulfill these goals, we have developed a non-traditional, comprehensive, nationally recognized high school program that includes a work-study component. Attention is individualized; the environment is nurturing; goals for each student are specific. The curriculum is tailored to a student learning style that tends to be more kinesthetic and visual than auditory. In addition to English, Math, Science, and Social Studies, Wood Shop (which also enhances both reading and math skills) is required each year a student is enrolled. Beyond the traditional classroom, we use our extensive grounds, school garden, and woods to teach environmental education and as a hands-on vehicle to support academic skills.
Students learn life skills by working alongside faculty to build trusting relationships. The community gathers for reflection every morning, sits together at lunch, and enjoys student-faculty recreational activities. They work together in the kitchen to prepare the food and clean up after the noon meal, tend the school garden, and serve as the building’s custodial staff. It is an intensive, expensive program, but it works.
A committed volunteer effort has allowed us to serve youth at risk for more than 4 decades. Teachers are volunteers that work for a monthly stipend and living expenses are provided by the school.