What if school looked like…
…building a boat and sailing it in the Chesapeake Bay?
…going on a weeklong trip to Charleston, SC where you spend a night sleeping in old slave dwellings or on a 48-mile walking trip from your school to the nearest city?
…creating a banjo from scratch through an apprenticeship with a local luthier?
…a group of teens and adults dancing together on a Friday afternoon?
…learning about racism through songwriting as well as community events and collaborations with a local African-American church?
This is what school looks like at Springhouse Community School.
Springhouse Community School is an independent school that is reimagining the purpose and practice of education in rural southwestern Virginia. With about 20 learners in its 7th-12th grade program, Springhouse is a small but powerful place of learning, community, and creativity.
Springhouse’s program is rooted in community and place, and relationship is at the heart of all that we do. Due to its unique curriculum design, Springhouse is a dynamic learning environment that strives to balance structure and freedom. If you are interested in experiencing a living laboratory of what education can be, visit us!
Programs and Areas of Interest
A Network visitor will get the most out of their visit to Springhouse if they are immersed in the learning environment for at least two days. The following are aspects of this environment that visitors can expect to experience during their stay:
Unique, Experiential Curriculum
At Springhouse, we understand that learning is a lifelong process. Thus, learning at Springhouse is competency-based rather than time- or content-based, allowing learners to focus on their own specific learning needs by strengthening and refining skills like collaboration, responsible decision-making, adaptability, public speaking, and mathematical interpretation. Learners do not receive grades or GPAs at Springhouse, nor do they earn traditional academic credits in siloed subjects.
Learning at Springhouse is interdisciplinary, experiential, and rigorous. During their time at Springhouse, learners are offered experiences in the following areas:
- Facilitated Courses in the Six Fields of Study
- Foreign Language and Elective Courses
- A Personal Finance Course
- The Community Internship and Apprenticeship Program
- Work Days
- Dance, Athletics, and Singing
- Friday Discovery Learning Program
- Three (3) Experience Week trips each year
- Three (3) Community Internship Program presentations each year
- One (1) Community Presentation Night each year
- Senior Capstone
To learn more about Springhouse’s unique curriculum design and to view a daily schedule, visit https://www.springhousecommunityschool.org/curriculum.
Discovery Learning Program
This program is only offered on Fridays. The Discovery Learning Program incorporates physical challenge, adventure, and movement to foster resilience and self-awareness. The guiding goal of this program is to provide opportunities for learners to draw from and get to know their inner strength. Fridays activities may include rock climbing, sailing, hiking, and swimming. This program is also open to teens in the greater New River Valley on a trimester or full-year registration basis.
At Springhouse, staff, as well as participants in our adult residency program, learn alongside the teens enrolled in the 7th-12th grade program. Course facilitators approach learning with as much curiosity as the learners, and they actively incorporate local community members, experts, and organizations/businesses into course activities. All who are involved with Springhouse see learning as a lifelong process and acknowledge that we all have something to learn from each other.
Singing and Dancing at Springhouse
The school week begins and ends with an all-school sing, and both teens and adults at Springhouse dance at least twice a week together (This type of dance is not technical, and no prior dance experience is required).
Springhouse is located just outside of the town of Floyd on about 11 acres of mostly forested land that is home to gardens, a large barn, and the main school building, which overlooks the lush Appalachian mountain landscape.
Living Arrangements and Travel
Network visitors are housed in the homes of Springhouse families and staff. If preferred, there is a hotel centrally located in the town of Floyd and various Airbnbs throughout the county. Network visitors who have family or close family friends in the area may elect to stay with them (parent approval required) but should take commuting distances into account. Springhouse is located 15 minutes north of the town of Floyd.
Floyd is a small town (under 500 residents in the town center) nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia. It has a rich Appalachian culture and is the home of the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store where people from all over the world gather to experience old-time music, flat-footing (a style of dancing), and southern hospitality. Over the years, Floyd has become a home to many artists and artisans, families interested in homesteading, and a range of farms and agricultural businesses. The sense of community here is strong.
The closest airport and Amtrak station are in Roanoke, which is about 45 minutes from the town of Floyd. Please contact the host family and Springhouse about arranging transportation to and from the airport/station; this is not guaranteed but likely.
Network visitors should complete the Network Student Information form and return it to their home school Network Advisor. All learners from 7th through 12th grade are welcome, especially if they are interested in experiencing a school that is doing things differently.
All visits are individually arranged throughout the school year for the duration of two days to two weeks depending on the visitor’s preference and availability. Please note that all Springhouse 7th-12th graders will be out in the community participating in internships on Thursdays; all Springhouse 10th-12th graders will be out at internships on Tuesdays. See Springhouse’s School Calendar for dates during which Springhouse is not in session or away on Experience Week trips.
|Advisor Name:||Haley Leopold|
|Title:||Head of Curriculum Design|
|Advisor Name:||Roni Sutton|