The Circle School Blog

An occasional thing

The Circle School Blog

Explaining The Circle School Made Easy (or Less Hard)

Explaining The Circle School Made Easy (or Less Hard)

Even now, after 35 years as a founding staff member, I half dread being asked by a newcomer to explain The Circle School. It could be a neighbor, the friend of a friend, or recently my dental hygienist just before she asked me to open wide. My anxiety arises not from...

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Trained at 12, saved a life at 15

Trained at 12, saved a life at 15

2019 My aunt and uncle are so cute! I was at the kitchen sink dying my hair, while they ate dinner at the kitchen table. He was holding a fork near her mouth, trying to get her to try the chicken parmesan he had made. She doesn’t need to be fed; he was just being...

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Curious, playful, sociable, willful, planful

Curious, playful, sociable, willful, planful

Last week I traveled to Philadelphia to hear a talk by research psychologist Peter Gray, founder of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Dr Gray spoke at Philly Free School, which is, like The Circle School, a self-directed democratic school. Dr Gray starts from...

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Groundbreaking!

We did it! Today, with builder Pyramid Construction's vehicles and earth-movers in the background, Circle Schoolers ranging in age from 5 to 50+ (and then some) donned hardhats, picked up golden shovels, and broke ground on The Circle School's new home. Construction...

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Camping in the Schoolyard

Camping in the Schoolyard

I’ve gone on many field trips this year, but week before last was the first time I went on a "field trip" without leaving the campus. It was in the school’s backyard, with ten students ages eight to fourteen, and two staff members. Planning began in February, when...

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Field Trip to Another Democratic School

Field Trip to Another Democratic School

Last week I went on a school field trip. Unlike the majority of field trips this year, the planning for this trip didn’t unfold over the course of a few hours or days. This trip was weeks in the planning. Also, unlike most other trips this year, which have been within...

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The Noble, Humble Rag

The Noble, Humble Rag

I am inspired to write a bit about the noble, humble Circle School rag. Rags at The Circle School get used for everything from sanitizing doorknobs to soothing minor burns. They are implements of routine cleaning, but then they are also sporting goods (for Capture The...

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Circle School Graduates in College

Circle School Graduates in College

Today The Circle School releases a study of its graduates, casting the school in a very favorable light. Our graduates go to college at high rates: 84% of those who were here for 4 years of high school, and 91% of our "lifers." Nationwide the rate among same-age peers...

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Fanning a Flame at Millersville University

Fanning a Flame at Millersville University

After 30 years of answering questions about The Circle School, new ones don't come along very often. Last night I answered a new one. At Millersville University's Alternative Education Forum, I delivered the keynote address. The event organizer, Dr. Scott Richardson,...

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The Commons Area — The “Heart” of the School

The Commons Area — The “Heart” of the School

The latest renderings from architect Rich Gribble show some interior views of what the "Commons" could look like, our large "town square" room in the heart of the school. How did we get from the sketches shown in the last post to these detailed...

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Media Release: NO CLASSROOMS IN NEW SCHOOL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 14, 2015 FROM: The Circle School Contact: Jim Rietmulder 717-564-6700 jim@CircleSchool.org CIRCLE SCHOOL TO BUILD A SCHOOL WITH NO CLASSROOMS The Circle School of Swatara Township announced today its plans to relocate to an 8-acre site a...

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The Evolution of Our Design

The Evolution of Our Design

Wondering how you go from an idea of a new school to making it a reality? Here's everything you ever wanted to know about our design process. Part I: Research & Preparation By April of 2013 the Property Search Committee had progressed far enough to warrant...

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