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Approved as an independent, public charter school in December of 2000 under the sponsorship of Hamline University, Avalon School was created by a small group of parents and educators who had the shared vision of providing a different, more democratic learning environment for students in the Twin Cities.
Our founders felt that the traditional assembly-line methodology common in most secondary schools did not adequately prepare young people to become fully actualized members of their communities. In an attempt to meet these needs, Avalon’s starting teachers researched similar schools with progressive teaching models and political structures to find the right combination that would fit their vision.
After collecting data and visiting other schools with similar visions, the founders of Avalon decided to combine Project-Based Learning with a teacher-powered governance model. This innovative combination would later become the foundation for the Avalon School.
From the beginning, Avalon has been committed to creating a safe, supportive community within the school. We do this by remaining a small community, and by promoting strong student and staff relationships through advisory-based activities, service-learning day events, and field trips.
Avalon students develop strong relationships with both students and staff members through our advisory model; students remain with the same advisor for the duration of their tenure, in both the middle and high school.
Staff, students, and parents all help create and maintain a community that is reflective, adaptive, and renewing. All community members are learners. The school is run through collaborative leadership and shared decision making. This shared ownership and governance helps focus all stakeholders and fosters a spirit of commitment and dedication to making Avalon an ideal place to learn. Avalon encourages community-building processes such as circles and conflict resolution practices, giving voice to all participants.
Since our school opened its doors in 2001, Avalon has proudly implemented - and continued to fine-tune - its innovative teacher-powered governance model, in which all of our staff members assume administrative duties and have equal authority in all decision-making situations.
While this collaborative leadership model can be difficult and time-consuming at times, it allows for Avalon staff to operate with full autonomy and equity, as we share ownership for the decisions that are made regarding our programming and budget.
In the beginning of 2005, we pulled two teachers out of their advisories part-time, in order to fulfill the roles of Business Manager and Program Coordinator. Since 2006, two teachers have shared the Program Coordinator role. This strategy allowed for a few teachers and staff to increase the percentage of time they spent on administrative duties and decrease the percentage of time spent with students without compromising their authority or decision-making power.
Avalon School Values
At Avalon, we believe students must develop positive identities, understand their histories, and nurture their physical and mental health to build the skills and dispositions required to shape a positive future.
At Avalon, we believe in the interconnection between environmental justice and social justice. We value collaborating with others to create solutions that contribute to a sustainable world.
At Avalon, we know learning comes from engaging with diverse groups of people, in and outside of the school, in meaningful ways.
At Avalon, we believe we must actively work to be anti-racist: we must understand and dismantle the intersection of racist policies and ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities.
<br>At Avalon, we believe in equity as access, opportunity, and advancement for all people. We would achieve equity by actively dismantling systems of historical, intentional, and systemic oppression. We believe in a world where outcomes should not be predicted based on marginalized identities, including the color of one’s skin, gender, sexual identity, ability, income level, age, or immigrant status.
At Avalon, we believe the health of our school is dependent on the strength of our community - a community that values belonging, dignity, respect, and understanding. We believe that students and staff must actively nurture and practice the habits required to create a reflective, restorative, and equitable community.
Avalon School seeks to establish a just world by nurturing an equitable school community for students that inspires active learning, social justice, engaged citizenship, and hope for the future.