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.
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.