In Sudbury schools, every decision is made through the weekly School Meeting (SM). At the Kansas City Restoration School, we will use sociocracy or "governance by consent". Sociocracy governance is organized in double-linked circles. The School Meeting is considered the "executive director" of the school.
Those meetings are not mandatory but each student and staff member has an equal voice and vote, regardless of their age.
The role of the School Meeting is to manage the day-to-day school affairs and to modify rules if needed. Other responsibilities include motions to seek approval for purchases, field trips, or any other topic a student or staff member wishes to discuss.
Click here to watch a video of a student explaining how the sociocracy process works for the School Meeting Circle.
School Meeting Circle
Typically the rules created by School Meeting are enforced by the Judicial Committee (JC). KC Restoration School is currently writing a different story about how we manage situations where rules and agreements are broken through restorative justice and conflict resolution that is peer-mediated. The Restorative Circle (RC) Process is a Trauma-Informed Practice, one of the many ways that the KC Restoration School is creating a unique expression of community learning.
The RC is composed of a group of students of different ages and one staff member. They meet daily to help school members solve their issues and make sure that the school community remains a safe and nurturing place for all by enforcing its rules.
Whenever a school member (student or staff) is dealing with an issue with someone that might need more than a five-minute conversation or when they believe a rule has been broken, they can write a complaint about it to the RC.
The RC is a process of calling-in the parties involved for a supportive accountability session. All community members rotate through the RC process as another embedded learning opportunity at KCRS.
"Clerks are basically administrative officers. For example, there is an Attendance Clerk who supervises attendance records, after hours use of the building, keys, etc. There is a Grounds Clerk who takes care of the grounds, a Buildings Maintenance Clerk who takes care of the buildings, and so on.
When the School Meeting creates a Clerkship, it spells out the officer's exact powers and duties and confers its authority on the Clerk within the domain it has defined."
Committees have a more permanent nature than Corporations. They basically fulfill functions that help the school run smoothly.
"Committees take care of broader tasks.
For example, the Aesthetics Committee takes care of all matters relating to the school's appearance, interior and exterior design, furnishing, exhibits/art work, cleanliness."
Other examples of committees would be: Public Relationships & Marketing Committee, Social Committee, Diploma Committee, Source Committee.
The functions of Corporations are of a more impermanent nature. They are run by a director and approved by the School Meeting.
"School Corporations are formal interest groups. They are Sudbury Valley's equivalent of Departments at other schools.
For example, there is a Woodworking Corporation which takes care of all woodworking activities; a Photolab Corporation; and so forth.
Corporations are chartered for a specific set of purposes by the School Meeting and given certain powers. Funds are channeled through the Corporations to support various educational activities.
The great advantage School Corporations have over Departments is that the former can be formed and disbanded according to the needs and interests of the students, while the latter, unlike old soldiers, never die or fade away, but just keep rolling along.
Other examples of corporations would include: Music Corporation, Field trip Corporation, Cooking Corporation, Yearbook Corporation, Electronics Corporation, Ceramics Corporation, Toys & Games Corporation, Plants Corporation, etc.