Clearwater's unique approach to education:
When children are free, their learning is limitless.
Clearwater students explore the world guided by their own interests and moving at their own pace. They are free to think about who they are and independently determine how they spend their time. They play, talk openly with friends, investigate the world, and dream. Student resources are unlimited; they can collaborate with staff, use school resources, or turn to the greater community and world.
Without grades, age separation, or mandatory tests, children engage wholeheartedly in their passions—discovering and creating their unique place in the world.
We trust that all human beings possess a powerful drive to learn and grow.
Infants teach themselves to roll over. Babies fall and fall again before eventually walking. Toddlers work endlessly to master the two-footed jump. The drive for learning is inherent, part of human nature. Whether Clearwater students are passionate about performing Shakespeare, mastering soccer, building computers, painting, or monitoring spawning salmon, we make a point of not intruding on their natural drive to learn. We trust that they want to grow, want to thrive, and want to become like the people around them: literate, articulate, and compassionate.
Freedom is always accompanied by responsibility.
At Clearwater each individual is required to take responsibility for their actions. From the earliest age, children make decisions about how to spend their time, gaining a sense of authority over their education and lives.
The democratic structure of the school gives students a direct say in how the school is managed. Students and staff members each have a vote in School Meeting, where rules and policies are created, and in Judicial Committee, where rules are enforced. Clearwater students directly experience how their actions affect others and the community.
Like adults in the greater community, Clearwater students each have a vote. When kids use their vote, they learn how to make decisions that affect their lives. In our weekly School Meeting, students have the opportunity to democratically create rules and policies that affect the entire school. From developing a budget, to choosing the newest music equipment, to creating rules to enforce safety; students' voices are always front and center.
Clearwater students and staff serve as a consistent community for one another. From 4 to 19 years old, all students have the opportunity to mix, play, and learn together. Students from a variety of backgrounds learn to support each other, make compromises, and resolve conflict. Through our School Meeting and Judicial Committee, students learn what it means to be held accountable by their community.
Over the years, responsibility and freedom become habitual. Through self direction, Clearwater students internalize a sense of mastery. By graduation, they are prepared to take on challenges in the world at large, equipped with essential skills that are sought in today’s ever-changing workplace. They are confident in influencing the course of their own lives.