Governance of a Sudbury School
Like all Sudbury Schools, Tallgrass Sudbury School is run as a democracy. Below are a few concepts to become familiar with regarding how Sudbury schools are organized.
The School Meeting
Day-to-day operations at Tallgrass are handled by the School Meeting, which is a weekly non-mandatory meeting where each student and staff member has one vote. The School Meeting agenda includes announcements, the judicial committee report, and motions to seek approval for funding, field trips, corporations, or any other topic a student or staff member wishes to discuss. To learn more about the school meeting you can watch this video from Sudbury Valley School.
The Judicial Committee
The rules created by School Meeting are enforced by the Judicial Committee (JC). The JC is comprised of several students of different age groups and one staff member. School Meeting members can write complaints when they believe a rule has been broken. The JC meets daily to investigate the complaints, gather testimony from witnesses and determine whether a rule was indeed broken. If it finds that a rule has been broken, it determines the consequences (sentence) for the offense. To learn more about the JC you can watch this video from Sudbury Valley School.
Parents, students, staff, and approved outside members make up the Assembly. The Assembly meets to discuss broad issues, such as budget approval, giving the school general advice, setting tuition and fees, and awarding diplomas. Each member of the Assembly has equal voting power on all issues. The Assembly meets a few time each year typically in the fall and spring.
School Meeting members are eligible to run in for clerkships in an annual election. Clerkships include School Meeting Chairman, School Meeting Secretary, Admissions Clerk, Office Clerk, JC Clerk and Elections Clerk. The Lawbook details specific duties that each clerk is responsible for attending to for one year following the election.
The Law Book
All students and staff are expected to abide by the Law Book. If anyone feels like a law or rule has been broken they can write a complaint, often referred to as "writing someone up." It will then be taken to the Judicial Committee for further investigation.
The Law Book allows for committees such as the Room Use Committee, the Committee on Staffing, the Marketing Committee, Sewing Committee and the Admissions Committee.
Activities that require knowledge of equipment or safety rules require School Meeting members to become certified. They must demonstrate that they are qualified for that level of activity. For example, we have an open campus certification which allows students to go off-campus when they meet certain qualifications. We also have certifications for sewing machine use, use of the microwave oven, and use of the art supplies.
Diplomas are awarded to students who successfully defend a thesis to the Assembly in which they share how they have prepared themselves to pursue their future plans. In order to obtain a diploma, students must have attended the school for at least two years, and must receive Assembly approval.