Monday, April 29, 2013

What if there were no grades in school?

At The Clearwater School, children are trusted with the freedom and responsibility to direct their own education. Without grades, groupings by age or mandatory tests, children engage wholeheartedly in their passions, and find their own standards of success. Students spend years setting and achieving their personal goals, becoming resourceful, self-confident and skilled adults with a commitment to their own success.

Post by David Linder, Clearwater parent

Imagine at the end of every day at work, your employer handed you a card with a list of everything you’d done wrong and everything you’d (in their eyes) done right. 

Every PowerPoint presentation greeted with a thumbs up or thumbs down. All your email corrected for perfect grammar and sent back to you.

In a very short time, you’d learn exactly what your employer wanted and what they didn’t want.  After a while, you might even be the perfect employee, knowing exactly how to please them. 

And then you change jobs. Or get a promotion. Or quit to start your own business. And all of a sudden, you have no idea what’s right – there are different people to please, different rules to follow. You find it impossible to improvise, to be flexible, to be creative. Without the immediate feedback, you’re stuck.

This is the environment we often put children in. We evaluate their homework, their tests, their attendance, their attentiveness--even their effort. 

Grades teach kids how to react to someone else’s judgment. In a typical school, we grade kids for almost 20 years.  Then we send them out in the world and complain that they don’t know what they are doing, that they aren’t independent enough.

David is the dad of three Clearwater students and co-owner of Sublime Media in Seattle. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Clearwater Students Star in Professional Music Video

by Shawna Lee
photos by Matt Garrity

In January, Clearwater staff member Matt Garrity, also a musician and 17th Chapter front man, heard from friend and music producer, Christian Hansen, that he needed two young people  to perform in a professional music video for the London-based duo, Still Corners. Matt offered to find a boy and girl from The Clearwater School to be in the video. He asked Lily and Arlo, both 13 years old, who enthusiastically agreed. Matt took some photos of Arlo and Lily and sent them to the director who approved them for the project. The shoot was two days later on a school day.

 Lily with her fancy skates

Matt drove Arlo and Lily to the set (Skate King in Bellevue), where Christian Hansen, producer, director and camera man, introduced himself and the two members of Still Corners, songwriter Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray. Lily said, "When we went there, we didn't know whether we'd get a big part or a little part. We thought we might just be background. It was a huge surprise when I found out I was the star of the video."

Christian took Lily and Arlo over to the costumer who had them try on a variety of clothes. Arlo tried on a pair of pants and a few sweaters, before he was ready. Lily reported, "we brought a bag of clothes, but the costumer only had me use one thing of my own--my socks. I tried on a few things he brought that were so uncomfortable that I said I didn't want to wear them. It took about an hour to find something that worked. The clothes they put on Arlo looked better than the clothes he usually wears."

Lily and the costumer putting together her video wardrobe

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trust, Spirituality & Raising Kids - Public Conversation

The Clearwater School presents a free public presentation and discussion, "The Practice of Parenting: Trust, Spirituality and Raising Kids."

The presentation will be Saturday, April 13, 2013, 6-8pm, at Two Dog Yoga, 12549 28th Ave NE, Seattle, in the Lake City neighborhood.

In practices ranging from Christianity to Qigong, we work to stay present, are challenged to let go, strive to be compassionate. Trust plays a key role as we open to the situations our lives bring. By taking trust into the parenting relationship, we allow our kids the opportunity to know themselves deeply--thus engaging in their own spiritual journey.

This lively presentation and discussion features Martha Hurwitz (qigong instructor and Clearwater parent), Stephanie Sarantos (developmental psychologist and Clearwater staff member), and Benji Janapol (musician, poet and Clearwater student).

Join us and invite your friends, neighbors and coworkers to this fascinating conversation. For more information, email or call (425-489-2050) The Clearwater School.