But Does It Work?


Some parts of our school intuitively make sense: parents can see that their kids would be happier in a model like ours, that their children are naturally curious, that kids learn better without piles of homework and endless standardized tests. But then the anxiety kicks in--do the kids really turn out okay? Can they go to college? Can they function in the workforce after spending their student years in an unstructured environment like Tallgrass?

It takes a lot of trust to send your kid to a school like ours. But when it comes to outcomes, you don’t have to take our word for it--you can look at the history of this type of education and the results reported by other Sudbury schools.

The Sudbury model started in 1968 with the Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts. In the almost 50 years since then, they and dozens of Sudbury-influenced schools have graduated thousands of students.

Sudbury graduates are:

  • Successful: Sudbury graduates go on to many types of careers and many types of postsecondary education. For graduates of the Circle School, a Sudbury-like school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the most common field of work is in science and technology (33%).
  • Independent: The Circle School also reports that about 13% of its graduates are self-employed, compared to a national average of 6-10%.
  • Happy: 80% of Sudbury Valley graduates reported that they are happy with what they are doing now, whether that’s employment, school, or another activity, like full-time parenting.
  • Satisfied with their education: In a study conducted by Prof. Peter Gray, 67 out of 69 respondents indicated they were “very” or “moderately” glad they went to Sudbury Valley School.

Sudbury graduates go on to college at equal or higher rates to those who attend more conventional schools, according to studies conducted by the Circle School and Sudbury Valley School. You can hear from some of our school’s graduates in this video featuring alumni who decided to attend 4-year colleges.

Sudbury students learn about real life by practicing real life. They make real decisions with real impacts. They learn about time management by managing their own time. They practice conflict resolution, learn to be part of a community by forming relationships with people of all ages, and work out the problems among themselves. And for our graduates, that translates into success at college, in work, and in life.

Want to see our school in action? Contact us to schedule a time to tour the school for you and your child.

For much more on the topic of college, check out clips from our alumni panel, where Tallgrass graduates discuss the details of how they got in and address hot topics like playing video games at school. We also did a one-on-one video interview with alumnus Claire Harper.  


1.      Circle School Graduates in 2015: College Attendance, Academic Degrees, and Occupations.
2.      Greenberg, Daniel, and Mimsy Sadofsky. Legacy of Trust: Life after the Sudbury Valley School Experience (Sudbury Valley School Press, 1992).
3.      Gray, Peter, and David Chanoff. Democratic Schooling: What Happens to Young People Who Have Charge of Their Own Education? American Journal of Education 94(2), 182-213.