A sense of community and family is a fundamental aspect of life at Watershed School and an important part of the education itself. You will spend a significant amount of time with your fellow students and staff. Together you plan and carry out Learning Expeditions, work on projects, teach each other in formal and informal settings, and assess each other’s work. You trust, support, and rely upon each other, learn to move beyond conflict into understanding, and create a nurturing, family-like environment.

Your educational community does not end at the school doors but branches out to include all of Boulder County and beyond. You will spend a great deal of time interacting with local residents and visiting homes, businesses, schools, and other organizations. This is all part of your classroom and therefore your school community.

Participation

In some schools you can sit back and go through the motions and fade into the masses. At Watershed this is impossible. You will be an essential member of the community and your participation will be of utmost importance. You are expected to be an active participant in your education and that of your peers. This requires being prompt, prepared, and engaged in all activities. Excellence requires wholehearted participation from you and all members of the Watershed learning community.

Advisory

As a Watershed student you will be part of an advisory group that meets every week. This is a time to discuss student or advisor generated questions and topics and for peer support and feedback. An advisor’s role is to provide guidance, support, and a long term mentoring relationship. Every student will have a member of Watershed School staff as an advisor for their entire school experience. Students will meet with their advisor individually on a regular basis to discuss academic and personal goals and challenges.

Family Involvement

Your family will also be an essential element of your Watershed education. As a student you will have one or two adult mentors – parents, guardians, or family friends who are committed to supporting you and playing an active role in your education. Periodically your mentor(s) will meet with you and your advisor to help you set goals and assess your progress. Your mentor(s) also attend your Presentations of Learning and other school events. Family and friends are encouraged to become active members of the Watershed community through sharing their skills and expertise as Visiting Educators, providing support on expeditions, or joining us for lunch and special events when appropriate.

Decision-making

At Watershed School, you will become a skilled decision-maker and facilitator. Your ability to listen without the interference of your conditioning, resolve conflict, and effectively solve problems will increase dramatically as you help build a community based on respect and trust. As the community gains skills and expertise in these processes, you will be given greater responsibility in making decisions about your education. The vision is that by the time you graduate you will develop the skills, knowledge, and experience to take a leadership role in a professional capacity at Watershed School.

Restorative Practices

Resolving conflict and helping people create a common vision and come to peaceful resolution is a skill that the world is in desperate need of. Watershed School will prepare you with valuable tools that are relevant to school life, your family, the workplace, your community, and the world at large. Students will become trained mediators and facilitators and will be able to help individuals and groups come to greater understandings about the nature of conflict and how to resolve it.

Student Groups

We strongly encourage all students to take an active role in the school community through participating in student committees. Some examples include the community and leadership council, a curriculum committee, or an intersession planning group. Much of your education at Watershed School will take place outside of the time designated for Learning Expeditions when you grapple with real questions related to education, personal responsibility, and community.

Commitment

In order to bring the vision of Watershed School to life, everyone involved (students, staff, and parents) commits to serving and supporting each other. Deciding to come to Watershed School means that you are willing to commit yourself to: creating a safe, healthy, trusting, and inspiring school environment, dedicating yourself to your learning, caring for yourself and others, and having fun.