School Meeting is the governing body of SSA, it is held weekly and handles day-to-day operations of SSA. The meeting includes announcements, agenda items, discussions, and voting. Common agenda items may include new rules and approval for purchases or field trips. The meeting is attended by interested students and staff who each have one vote.
Mediation and Judicial Committee
When problems and conflicts arise, we use mediation and The Judicial Committee (JC) to find solutions. Mediation sessions are held daily as needed. Any student or staff member can request mediation with any other student or staff member. The mediation process is inspired by Nonviolent Communication (NVC). When mediation doesn’t solve the problem, the issue may be referred to JC. JC meetings are held as needed and are comprised of 2 students and 1 staff member. Every student spends time serving on the JC throughout the year. The JC helps facilitate conversation and find solutions. As Sudbury Valley School founder, Daniel Greenberg, says, “Peer justice is amazingly effective.”
Clubs are formed by students through School Meeting to support student interests. Some examples of clubs are the music club, electronics club, Lego club, animal club and art club. They take responsibility for materials, equipment and other items related to their club. They also create guidelines and determine certification procedures for using the equipment.
Rules and Policies
We currently have one overarching rule: “We are responsible for taking care of our school through actions that contribute to freedom, order, respect, and trust (FORT).” Specific policies are created, as needed, to support this rule. These policies are related to the functioning of the school and safety of our students. Some policies are created by clubs for the use of particular materials (like art supplies or electronic devices). Some policies are related to using equipment (such as the microwave) or keeping the space clean. Rules and policies are a work in progress and constantly evolving. Current rules and policies are challenged, removed, and amended, while new ones are proposed, discussed, and added with a majority vote. This is one of the many ways students are empowered at a Sudbury school.
Board of Trustees
As a non-profit institution, SSA has a Board of Trustees that helps conduct business according to standards. SSA’s Board consists of two members of School Meeting, “School Meeting Appointed Trustees,” and five Trustees elected by the Board, “Board-elected Trustees.” Our board is composed of community members who strive to create a safe space for School Meeting to operate, and who are passionate about the model and the freedom of SSA’s students.