Jazz for Education

A fundraiser from the founder: There is always one goal in mind and everything I do is geared towards funding the work of the Living Water School. My mind is NEVER off of that. Years ago, I sang jazz. I finally have gotten around to putting it on SoundCloud. The music is all set for listening and purchasing. Our hope and prayer is that this can provide another stream of income to support this work. I pray you’ll support and spread the word. This stuff has been in my basement for over 10 years, collecting dust. I hope God can use it to bless the school somehow. Purchases of my music go towards supporting The Living Water School.

Meet Our First Graduate!

She is our first graduate this year. She has been with us for both years of our existence. She’s been working hard to discover her passion. She found it. Beauty and fashion. She tried community college thru the dual enrollment program but fashion and beauty calls for her. She spends her day doing students’ hair, makeup and sewing. She made her prom dress. I (the founder) wrote a letter to the Dudley hair school to let her take some classes last year. They let her and she aced them. She decided that she was ready to leave our little nest and has set her graduation date. Next year she will finish cosmetology school and then she says she will go to college for business so she can open her own studio. I look forward to watching her journey.

Following Their Tastes in Music

the_cross_movementMany of those may wonder, how does a Christian school practice the Sudbury model, and still uphold Christian standards.  If we are giving the students freedom to follow their interests, then how do we connect that with making wise choices in the music they listen to?

Last night I received a text from a parent who was concerned that her daughter came home singing secular songs a lot.  This morning I got to work, and she was enjoying YouTube (with staff nearby to monitor), and actually she had chosen Kids Bop.  I was impressed that she was not watching something inappropriate for her young ears.  I talked with the mom about what I discovered and let her know that her daughter was watching Kids Bop, so she was not looking at things that were inappropriate, but she was learning some of the words to secular songs through Kids Bop.

Later on in the day, the girl (she’s about 9) started talking and we had a great dialogue about her music choices.  This girl typically does not talk much, but on this occasion she told me, “Ms. Anika I LOVE rap music and I don’t know any Christian rappers!  I just love the beat!”  On my end, there was no fussing at her or anything as such, but I was just listening.  We have got to learn to listen to our youth!  Hear their cries and desires!  So, I asked her, “If I give you a list of Christian rappers to check out, would you be interested?”  Her face lit up!  Her mom came to get her and asked me to send her the list as well.  As the mom walked out the door, I encouraged her to look up The Cross Movement.  I felt like her daughter would like any of their music.  I also told her that most Christian rap that we hear today, is birthed from this group…much of the Christian rap we love today is influenced by them.  Now, I have to get my list together of Tripp Lee, LeCrae, and many others that this little girl can get her groove on with!

This was not a Bible class, or me spending hours preaching at her about how “bad” secular music is, but it was about she and I simply having a dialogue and me sharing my thoughts with her.  It was about me HEARING her hearts desire and respecting that. To me, this is how the Sudbury Model is played out in a Christian setting.  We simply guide them, share with them, and then step back to let their own free will learn to make the best choices.  But we as staff are ever watchful in order NOT to miss these teachable moments.

From the Founder

The story of Maya Angelou always keeps me motivated with the school. I was never mute, but oh did I struggle internally as a child. And just like her, in time I came out of the dark cloud. If given time, how many students can also RISE?
The thing is MOST students struggle with something, whether we think it is of any “importance” or not. School should be a safe haven, where ALL students can feel safe to work through their struggles so that they actually can learn.  I just want to encourage parents, students, teachers, administrators that every single child, no matter what their circumstance, even if they seem like they have the perfect family and are very smart or even if they have the most horrible family and they struggle academically or if they just struggle even though mom and dad are trying EVERYTHING to push them forward…every child should be looked at as an individual beautifully handcrafted by God.
Every single student should be given the chance to show that they can succeed. Even if it is at a pace that is too slow or too fast! It may not look like what the parent or teacher can imagine, but if they reach the goals programmed into them before creation, through the gifts God breathed into them, they are a success.
I did not feel successful in school for most of my school years and if it were not for my parents, I would probably have been at a very different place. Because of my journey, I have developed a passion for creating a school  where every child can succeed whether they have the ideal support system or not. Whether they fit the “mold” or not. Whether they walk to the beat of a different drum or not. My parents often felt frustrated and helpless, but they kept pushing me forward. I have worked with parents of students who sat in my office in tears, not knowing what to do with this child who was too smart they could not follow the prescribed program of the school or either they were not able to learn at the pace of the prescribed program of the school. They did not learn through lecture, or they learned through hands on.  Every child has to go to school! I can see the faces of those parents now as I write this, tears streaming down their faces, feeling trapped and hopeless.
It may not be the most conventional school, but through the Sudbury model, Biblical discipleship, and a nurturing staff, The Living Water  School is a place where every child is given the FREEDOM to design their path to success and we will support and cheer them all along the way.

Why the Big Hurry for Them to Read?

I am rarely impressed with kids who learn to read before 7 because most of the time they do not understand the process of reading comprehension. I am more impressed with a young child of 2 to 6 years old who can sit and HEAR a story and have a meaningful discussion about the text. Also young kids rarely understand the process of sounding out words. Teaching a child to read simply by memorization or calling out sounds they memorized really handicaps them from high level reading and understanding when they get older. It’s hard to teach a young child the different sounds of ow and ow, like in cow and low. They need higher level thinking ability to really know the art of reading. I know there are exceptions to this, but most kids I have encountered who learned to read young, grow up to be poor readers.

From the Founder

I finally finished a very long journey that looks at freeing up students to think in their educational journey. I feel this research for my PhD connects well with why this type of education is important for our children. My final chapter talks about why I opened an “evolving” Sudbury school and how my research drew me to this place of wanting to free up students within school. I brought some of my high school students with me to my dissertation defense, because you know that’s how we roll. My committee thought it so amazing that here were some 14 to 17 year olds engaging in an intellectual discussion at the graduate level. Because we talk so much and let them talk so much and we are all equal it was nothing new for them! When I was done, one of my students asked if they had to call me Dr. and I said “NO! We are all family here, I will be Anika to you thank you!” Just so you know that we DO take your child’s education very seriously, and our staff is very qualified to do what we do…even though we sometimes decide to have a dance party instead of an actual class.