At Four Winds School, we hope to give students as much freedom as possible to learn, grow, experiment, have fun, and just be kids. Therefore, we have as few rules as possible. The expectations that we do have exist solely to ensure the success of everyone’s learning, physical safety of everyone in the community, and the safety of our building. Occasionally, situations arise during the school year that require us to set a new policy (for example, in a past school year we enacted a “no snow ball fights” policy). In most of these cases, teachers and students meet as a group to decide the new parameters. These rules are usually reset at the end of the school year, allowing us to begin anew in the fall. That said, the following rules and policies must be respected and followed in order to be a healthy, functioning school community:

Safe Learning Environment

Four Winds School strives to create a safe learning environment for students of any race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. Therefore:

1. It is unacceptable for a student to bully, harass, violate another’s stated boundaries, physically intimidate, verbally threaten, mock, or deliberately exclude another member of the school community.

2. It is unacceptable for a student to act in any way that is racist, ageist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, fatphobic, or to discriminate against anyone’s religious or cultural practices. We consider silence from bystanders in circumstances where such things occur to be consent.

Behavior in violation of rules 1 and 2 will result in a disciplinary notice called a “strike.” With each of the first two strikes, we will notify the student’s parents/guardians of the student’s probationary status and arrange to meet with the family. The goal of the meeting is to find a solution to avoid any further strikes. A third strike will result in separation from the school. A separated student may apply for readmission. A re-accepted student has no further “strikes,” and behavior resulting in one will mean permanent separation.

Note: Violation of rules 1 and 2 may be of a nature that a second or third chance is not appropriate. Bullying, hate speech, and intolerance may result in immediate separation of a student at the discretion of the faculty.

Smooth Sailing

Four Winds School’s self directed model only works if students opt into and actively choose to engage in our program. Therefore:

3. It is unacceptable for a student to refuse to cooperate with a reasonable request from a faculty member or any instructor for a school program. It is acceptable, and in fact encouraged, to ask clarifying questions or for reasonable accommodations in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time.

4. It is unacceptable for a student to refuse to use academic time productively or to intentionally disturb academic time for others. We understand struggling and frustration, and students may take needed breaks, but it is unacceptable to refuse to engage entirely.

Violation of rules 3 and 4 make running the school and functioning as a small community quite difficult, especially without support staff such as vice principals and school counselors. As of Fall 2023, violations of rules 3 and 4 will no longer warrant a strike, but may result in an email home or scheduling a meeting to find strategies that work for everyone involved. If a student continually violates rules 3 and 4, and no progress or improvement is made over the course of several months, we will work with the student’s family to find and transfer to a school that better meets the student’s needs.


As technology, social media, and artificial intelligence have become more advanced and popular, we have had to enact and maintain the following rules to ensure internet safety and a focused, fair learning environment:

5. Phones must remain in students’ backpacks during the school day. Students may ask permission from a teacher to use their phone briefly to contact a parent/guardian or to listen to school-appropriate music while working. If we find students using their phone without permission, we will ask that they hand it in to us for the remainder of the day. If this happens more than three times we will ask the student not bring their phone to school anymore.

6. Computers are to be used for academic purposes only. If we have to speak to students about appropriate computer usage more than three times, we may revoke their computer usage, or require that all computer usage take place in the direct presence of a teacher. Please note:

  • We have a class set of ChromeBooks (purchased new in Fall 2022). Students should use these instead of personal laptops from home.
  • If students want to bring a personal device from home for project time, permission should be gained from parents/guardians and Four Winds School teachers ahead of time.
  • Starting in Fall 2023, morning creative writing will be handwritten in notebooks instead of typed on ChromeBooks.

And last but not least:

7. No food on the couches! This is to avoid mice, and therefore mouse poop in the couches. The consequence for breaking this rule is … mouse poop in the couches! Ick!