How students and staff relate
Staff and students are continually engaged in genuine relationships with each other—as mentors, teachers and friends. Students and staff members play cards, read aloud, or sew together. The options are unlimited. Students have the opportunity to work with staff on all school projects, learning new skills as varied as policy making, gardening, and painting walls. People of all ages treat each other with an openness that defies most cultural norms. Conversations on any imaginable topic take place daily. Long-lasting friendships are forged between students and staff of all ages.
Clearwater's model works because students take primary responsibility for their education and their school environment. Each day, students make decisions about how to spend their time, how to reach their goals, and how to get along with other members of the community. Through this process, they gain skills that are essential in the workplace, family, and society. Students graduate prepared to take on the challenges they will face throughout their adult lives.
Clearwater students leave school ready continue their education, pursue their careers, work or live in community, and be happy. Most students choose to complete a high school diploma as a final step of closure of their Clearwater education.
Clearwater offers a Washington State high school diploma to students who demonstrate that they have prepared themselves to assume adult responsibilities in the greater community. Diploma candidates engage in a year-long process, creating and meeting regularly with a Diploma Committee comprised of staff members and students. Committee members act as mentors, advisers and friends, as each candidate creates and carries out a self-defined diploma project.
At the end of the year, candidates can choose to present their projects to the school community. Past candidates have written papers, given performances, created art works, produced movies and made video games. These projects honor the accomplishments of the students and demonstrate their readiness for graduation.