The Circle School Blog

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The Circle School Blog

February 14, 2015
FROM: The Circle School
Contact: Jim Rietmulder 717-564-6700


The Circle School of Swatara Township announced today its plans to relocate to an 8-acre site a mile away in Susquehanna Township, and launched a capital campaign seeking public support.

90% of the school’s students have already made individual contributions to the campaign (in addition to 100% of trustees and 100% of school staff). An 11-year-old girl makes milkshakes for sale at school twice a week, and donates all of her proceeds. Three boys (ages 13, 13, and 14) are doing other students’ daily chores for $1 apiece, and donating their proceeds.

The Circle School’s democratic program calls for architectural features that are unusual for schools, such as an absence of classrooms. A “courtroom” accommodates hearings within the school’s judicial system, and a large “public commons” facilitates sessions of the school’s democratic governing body and interactions among students of all ages, 4 to 19.

The school’s government includes legislative, judicial, and executive branches, similar in function to Pennsylvania and national government. The school’s program of self-directed education requires that the space be adaptable over time, dictated by majority vote of the “School Meeting”, to accommodate science experiments, reading, discussion groups, changing technology, quiet study, social interaction, free-market commerce, music and fine arts, card playing, hanging out with friends, and much more.

Founded in 1984, The Circle School is governed by students and staff together. The school has outgrown its current facility and will build an expanded facility for increased enrollment. The new campus will incorporate high-efficiency heat pump technology, LED lighting, solar tubes, recycled materials, flyash concrete, clerestory windows, minimal site disturbance, and other sustainable features.

The school’s coming “Meadow Campus” is designed by architect Richard Gribble of By Design Consultants (Camp Hill). The builder is Pyramid Construction Services (Wormleysburg). Groundbreaking is planned for late spring, with construction scheduled to take about seven months.

ATTACHED: 3-page PDF with site plan and two renderings by artist/architect Richard Gribble

Jim Rietmulder
The Circle School