Back at the last assembly meeting, I committed to hold a series of discussions with kids–and open to parents–to elucidate a graduation process. The goal was to have a proposal ready for the the next assembly meeting (tomorrow), where it could be amended and [hopefully] approved so it can be presented officially in September.
The first meeting was reasonably well attended. It got so much done that only a handful of people showed up for a second meeting…which was predictably short.
The process we came up with draws from the suggestions of the kids, the Colloquium process at NYU Gallatin (which I went through as an undergrad.), and the mission of this ALC (supporting independent learners in intentionally creating their lives).
A student wishing to graduate from ALC-NYC needs to notify the school of this intention at least 6 months in advance. The intended graduate communicates that they have identified their Next Step, are beginning preparations to take it, and request community support in beginning the graduation process.
At this time, the school community chooses 2 of its members to support the student in preparing to graduate and to sit on the student’s Colloquium panel. The student chooses 2 additional community members to request the same support and panel membership from. Finally, the school community and student collaborate to find an individual whose experience or position is related the the student’s intended Next Step. The student invites this person to also join their Colloquium panel.
In the months leading up to graduation, the student works to prepare for their Next Step. They compile documentation of their preparation process into a portfolio, and this portfolio becomes what they present to the panel at their graduation. The panel members will review the portfolio and engage the student in a conversation, with the aim of determining whether the student is ready to graduate. After an hour of portfolio review and discussion, the student will step out and the panel will get clear on whether or not the student is ready to move on. When they have decided, they will relay their decision to the student.
Graduating students are also encouraged to throw themselves a party. They plan the kind of party that they want, and the school community gathers after their Colloquium to celebrate with them.
I expect the numbers of the members of the panel to change as the school grows in upcoming years. Personally, I like that the proposal addresses what I felt to be the two weak points of the Gallatin Colloquium process–the focus on ground covered rather than steps forward, as well as the lack of a reintegration phase of the ritual.
Thoughts? I’m presenting this to the assembly tomorrow…