It was day three of a two-state tour to visit schools breaking the mold when it comes to how to educate students for the 21st century. A colleague and I recently traveled to Denver, where we visited two schools and then to St. Paul, MN, where we met with students and staff at The Avalon School, a charter school serving grades 7-12.
Avalon has several features distinguishing it from traditional public high schools. Some are obvious, others less apparent. The most glaring difference is when a visitor tries to find the principal’s office. There isn’t one. The school has no principal nor does it have a formal administration of any sort. The teachers serve as the school’s leadership in a democratic model, reaching consensus and voting on matters of school policy. All teachers’ votes carry the same weight.