|Presidio Open Air School|
Head of School
|At PHS - The Center of Gravity: Kids|
|Relationships at the heart of|
Scott also points to a flat administrative structure as a contributing factor to the progressive spirit of the school. "Everyone has a job to do, and we are not very hierarchical at PHS. Our informality serves this dynamic - everyone is on a first-nme basis, even the students." (By the way, children being on a first-name basis with their teachers and school leaders is quite common among progressive schools).
When I asked Scott to identify the primary benefits and advantages of a progressive education, he was ready with a formidable list as the school had recently surveyed its alumni and asked them the same question. They articulated many: continued love of learning; creativity; finding their own voice; knowing how to advocate for themselves; critical thinking, and a host of others. These testimonials validate the work of the teachers and staff at PHS - the learning goes far beyond the academic.
Finally, Scott was also at the ready when I asked him what it takes to be a leader in a progressive school environment: vision based on progressive principles; openness to new ideas; willingness to delegate and share authority; flexibility and a non-anxious presence; intellectual curiosity and a growth mindset a la Carol Dwek; and a willingness to take risks. From my viewpoint, Scott embodies these attributes and the school stands as a model of what it means to hew closely to its founding progressive principles, even in these days of our societal obsession with normative standards. It's a happy place to be.