Essays

Friday, April 1, 2011
How do you parent a child who is having a school experience totally different from your own?1 I can't really refer to William as a child anymore, now that he is sixteen. We actually went test driving pickup trucks over this past weekend. He has… Read more ›
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
An Insider’s View of Student Directed Learning I want to start with a bit of background on why I am making a presentation here.1 My name is Debra Sivia Sadofsky. I am a 39 year old professional in the high-tech industry. I work as an e-learning… Read more ›
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
We grow up making assumptions, which are derived from our culture. We build on these assumptions to form our view on how the world works. Many are self-correcting because of new information. But some of these assumptions are so obviously true, so… Read more ›
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Note: Edited version of a talk given in Portland, OR on March 9, 1991. It's very difficult to begin a discussion about Sudbury Valley School, because it takes a certain fundamental change in mindset to grasp what we're trying to do. We're not… Read more ›
Monday, November 1, 2010
The uniqueness of Sudbury schools is the value we place on choice rather than control. That is the new paradigm! Most adults associated with the Sudbury schools grew up in homes and schools where the adults who cared for and educated us decided what… Read more ›
Friday, October 1, 2010
Every year, word gets around that certain students in the school are receiving outside tutoring arranged by their parents in subjects that their parents think are important for them to know - subjects that the students are not pursuing on their own… Read more ›
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This is a confession: It took me many many years to learn how not to pounce and use what are called "teaching moments" at home with my own children and here at school. Like most people I like to tell stories, to talk about things that I know and… Read more ›
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Note: This is an edited version of a talk presented to the 2002 Workshop for Staff of Sudbury Schools and for Startup Groups about to open new Sudbury Schools, held at Sudbury Valley School in July 2002. I For a long time I've held that as soon as… Read more ›
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
During a School Meeting debate in the late spring of the year 2000, someone made an oft-repeated point: "If the people involved in this activity really cared, they would be here and promote their cause." It is a refrain that I have heard often from… Read more ›
Saturday, May 1, 2010
A young girl of nine or ten asked me to teach her math. I gave her some problems which she enjoyed doing. Next day she came to me with many sheets of paper covered with similar problems which she made for herself and then solved. She is obviously… Read more ›
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Note: This was the second part of a session delivered by Dan Greenberg and Mimsy Sadofsky at the Spring 2000 meeting of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association. The first part placed the idea of college in today's world in an economic and… Read more ›
Monday, March 1, 2010
Shortly after the oral thesis defenses were completed one of the students who participated in this new procedure suggested to me that I should sit together with all the students and talk about their experiences. They agreed to have the conversation… Read more ›
Monday, February 1, 2010
Note: This essay is based on a talk given at Framingham State College in November 2007. I When people write about schools, they usually talk about curriculum, program, management, pedagogy, and other such matters. I’m not going to do that at all.… Read more ›
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Note: This essay is an edited version of the transcript of a talk given at the school on November 19, 2008. It is a question that people ask all the time. We hear it at Open Houses, we hear it when we meet people outside, we hear it at interviews,… Read more ›
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does. ~Margaret Mead I For me, the promise was this: that the ideal expressed in our Declaration of Independence—“all men are created… Read more ›
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The indispensable ingredients for establishing and maintaining a Sudbury school as a viable entity1 I. The Core Group The seeds for having a sustainable school are planted at the very beginning. How you start, how you set the place up, are largely… Read more ›
Saturday, August 1, 2009
An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted. ~Arthur Miller I Undergirding any educational program is a set of assumptions that are often believed to be so self-evident that they do not need to be stated. But are they so self-… Read more ›
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
When I dropped out of high school at age 16, I had no idea that Sudbury Valley existed. I just wasn’t going to do what THEY told me to do if I didn’t see a good reason for it. Life is too short to sit in a stuffy classroom taking multiple choice… Read more ›