It’s 8:00 AM Monday morning and something special is happening on 38th Ave. North.
Car doors close, hands wave goodbye, and a small parade of children funnel into a place that is special to them.
It’s a school, but unlike any you remember or most likely attended.
This is Alfred Adler Charter School, and this morning there is something missing; the dread of Monday morning, the stress of unneeded expectations, of bullying, of all the things we thought were part and parcel of “school” as we knew it.
Alfred Adler Charter SchoolIn it’s place, there is happiness, respect, and an eagerness to learn and to participate in a community. A community where the children a respected not only by their teachers but by their fellow students.
Understand this is no “free-forall”. This is a place governed by strict democracy.
Where “Agreements” (as they are called) are law, and respect is given but also expected in return.
Personal responsibility is the primary lesson and failure to perform is not met by verbal threats but by natural consequences.
This morning happens to be the day of the Science Fair. Most are excited to show their work to their fellow students and the visiting parents. However, for those who chose not to participate, they will feel the exclusion that is the natural result of their decisions and will be encouraged by their friends and teachers to do better next time; a result that is almost guaranteed.
None will receive a grade, not an “A” or an “F”; this place doesn’t work that way. Progress is tracked by their teachers and by periodic testing, but the student is never labeled by a letter grade or as “gifted”.
Each classroom is a village with every student having a job (which they take very seriously). Each ‘Pet Monitor’, ‘Line Leader’, and ‘Whiteboard Cleaner’ has immense pride in their work and understands that their contribution is important to the whole.
They work hard all day and with the close of the school day, they exit into the world. Some go to after-care, some to karate, gymnastics, etc but none rush home to do homework; No homework. Ever.
This is by far the hardest part to understand. How can there be NO HOMEWORK? How will they remember what they learned?
Well apparently, homework is not all that we’ve been promised.
Children need time to be children, families need time as families, and it seems that the stress and misery caused by nightly homework corrodes the family time, so they never assign it! That’s it. Such as simple idea.
A simple idea that seems to be working. For the 2016 school year Alfred Adler Charter School earned an “A” grade based on the Florida standardized testing.
This place is truly a community of children, made up of child citizens, developing a lifetime love of learning, and we are all excited to see where they go.
Alfred Adler Charter School is located at 4515 38th Ave N, St. Petersburg. For more information, call (727) 329-9545 or visit www.alfredadlerschool.org.