Diablo Valley School
My Daughter has been a student at Diablo Valley School for 4 years, this has been an absolutely magic experience, we have seen a girl who dreaded going to school blossom into a young woman, mature and wise beyond her years, who leads by example and is delight to everyone.
Outside of school she takes on responsibilities and leadership roles with a "Can do" attitude.
In hind sight we should have put her in this school from day one and not waited until traditional compulsory school broke her joy of learning.
Warning - While this school is right for every student, it is not right for every parent: If you are a helicopter parent with a project child, both you and your prodigy will suffer.
The school fosters individuality in the student, where each student intuitively knows when it is time to learn a specific skill. The students correct internal timeline will never match your ambitions on your child's behalf.
If you can trust that your child knows what is best for him/her, then your child will grow at his/her own pace to make you proud. If you cannot do this, then you as a parent will experience nothing but disappointment in a Sudbury School system and are better off in compulsory schooling. The student will sense your conflict and will be torn between pleasing you and doing what is right for him/her. Better not to put the child in this dilemma.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I saw the archived post about DVS and I wanted to respond to it, since my son attends the school and so far it seems like a perfect match for him. The review noted that her brother had to repeat a grade after spending a year at DVS. I think this misses the entire point of a Sudbury School, which is not to teach material at a particular grade level, but to allow the child to indulge his/her curiosity.
At DVS, a kid could spend all of 5th grade learning about Greek history/culture/language if they chose (as well as the the social learning that takes place just being part of a Sudbury community), and needless to say they'd have missed what other kids learned in 5th grade. The point is that kids learn, over time, what interests them, how to manage their time, what they want to do with their life, and what knowledge/skills they need in order to accomplish their goals. If what they want to do requires college, they can choose to learn what they need to to score well on the SATs. At any particular point in time, a kid could be way behind in some subjects and way ahead in others, but they finish school with the knowledge and life skills they need, which are acquired in a spirit of curiosity and the based on the child's own motivation, rather than by following an imposed curriculum and doing one's work to get a good grade and/or please the teacher.
Having a kid who is very bright, has consistently been at grade level or above, and has always hated school and gotten terrible grades, I think it's the right choice for him. It might be the right choice for a lot of other kids, too. I have two other kids who are thriving in the public schools, but I think that the same approach does not work for all kids. A happy DVS parent
Re: Looking for democratically oriented schools
There is a democratic/Sudbury type school in Concord called Diablo Valley School. I don't have direct experience with it, but a close friend has her kids there and they all really love it. It also sounds like they are pretty flexible with their tuition rates too. The school is located about a block from the downtown Concord BART station. Their website is www.dvschool.org Good Luck CJU in Concord
There is a ''Sudbury school'' in Concord called Diablo Valley School. You can check out their website at www.dvschool.org. I'm not sure where you are coming from, but I commute to Concord from Oakland every day and it's not a bad commute (20 minutes). Plus the school is a few blocks from BART. Tara
I wanted to respond to the posts regarding Diablo Valley School. I would be VERY careful in checking this school out before deciding to send your child there. The school that this school is based on (Sudbury Valley School)is very successful and based on a wonderful idea. In my opinion, Diablo Valley School is very different. My brother (10 years younger) attended this school for a year when he was in 4th-5th grade. He had to repeat that school year at another school, while also having to remember all that he had forgotten while attending Diablo Valley School. Not an ideal situation for a kid who didn't like school in the first place. His experience there was about 10 years ago, so things may have changed; but the owners/directors seem to be the same. I am just relating our family's past experience and encouraging you to REALLY check it out if you are looking at it for your child. Please be cautious. '