Valuing the Past

Images From the Start of the 2013/2014 School Year
August 21, 2013
Global Community at CLC
September 20, 2013

Below is a post by one of our founders, Betsey Brown about the K-8 school she attended as a child. Her experiences there shaped who we are today.  Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 2.03.44 PM

During Cornerstone’s last thirteen years, I’ve led hundreds of tours over the core virtues painted on the sidewalk, up the boardwalk, and through our classrooms.  I realize now that somewhere along the way I began to talk more about CLC’s future and less about its history, its early influences, and the collaborative effort it took to start the school.

Cornerstone grew out of a series of visioning meetings in 1999.  Teachers and administrators from Tallahassee’s Advent School and interested parents met with Tony and me in our home to envision a different kind of school for Tallahassee.  Everyone brought an important piece to those meetings and to the school’s founding values.

Tony and I are a package deal most of the time, but we brought different pieces, too. Our joint goal was to find a school that was a good fit for our children. We knew what we were looking for, what the research proved to be “best practices” and we knew it existed, just not here in Tallahassee.

Tony was the educator in the family but I had the personal experience of attending a school like CLC.  Manhattan Country School (MCS) in New York City was my Cornerstone. Born out of the civil rights movement, MCS’s mission highlights academics, equality, activism, community and a farm program.

  • No classroom had a majority of children from any race, religion or socio-economic background, and this diversity deepened our experiences.
  • Teachers created a safe, hands-on, student-centered, collaborative learning environment, which allowed all the diverse voices to be heard.
  • Activism projects taught us we had a voice outside the classroom.
  • The Farm – Three times a year each class went to the school’s farm in upstate New York where we lived, as a family, with one another for a week. Living and working on the farm deepened our friendships, showed us where our food comes from and how we affected the environment.

The above is just a snapshot of Manhattan Country School, but my experience there and its mission are what came with me to the early Cornerstone visioning meetings. I knew that what we were looking for in a school for our children was possible and that it really worked.

MCS is just one part of CLC’s history. If you attended today’s Café Cornerstone, you heard about the Basic School movement, the project approach in early childhood education and the development of our service-learning curriculum.  Just as we are exploring IB, Cornerstone will always seek out the most innovative practices to best prepare our students for the future. However, we must never lose sight of our history and early influences that made Cornerstone the school it is today.

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