The Sudbury Model of Education

The Sudbury model of education can be viewed as a fusion of democratic education and self-directed learning, but also includes aspects unique to the Sudbury model as well. For instance, not all democratic schools allow for self-directed learning and not all self-directed learning environments incorporate democratic aspects of education. All Sudbury schools, however, include a unique brand of democratic education and self-directed learning, while also incorporating aspects of other educational models as deemed appropriate and determined by the school body, school culture, and sometimes the overarching culture the school resides within. Some of these features include complete autonomy, mixed ages, free-range learning, gradeless systems, and highly social aspects of human experience such as play.

Autonomy

A sense of autonomy is a central aspect of every Sudbury student’s experience. This is often described as freedom of personal expression and belief, self-direction, and a self-determined way of being.

Mixed Ages

Students of all ages may interact with other students, staff/teachers, or members of the community of any age. Students of any mix of ages can participate in the same engagements

Gradeless

This allows for a continuous experience within the same school from kindergarten-age through high school-age, and no grades based on arbitrary markers of academic achievement

Decentralization

Because their is no central authority within the school, power is decentralized and therefore shared among all students and all staff. The school meeting serves as the governing body. 

Relationship

Time is often spent talking, playing/learning together, and ultimately receiving the social feedback necessary to develop relatedness, and the bonds developed are often lifelong.

Life

Engaging with friends and staff, starting their own businesses, and taking on official positions within the school, students feel they are able to their own lives.

Leadership

Due to the decentralized nature of the school, everyone is a leader, all students and staff are teachers, and all have the opportunity to take official positions within school.

Play

Because students of all ages maintain their autonomy, they are able to follow their passions, and “play” often becomes a central aspect of their Sudbury experience. 

Competence

Students have ample time at school and at home to achieve competence in as many areas of exploration as they are called to pursue. Students achieve competence in learning itself.

Empowered Through Democratic Education

The specific form of democratic education in the Sudbury model of education is best described in the preamble of the school meeting, one that is shared among many Sudbury schools:

All School Meeting members are responsible for the general welfare of the school, through actions that contribute to preserving the atmosphere of freedom, respect, fairness, trust, and order that is the essence of the school’s existence.

Responsibility

All students, staff, and teachers are responsible for the general welfare of the school through upholding the five principles of the preamble of the school meeting

Freedom

Students are completely free within the bounds of the overarching limits of society, with the freedom to choose what to do with their time, thoughts, and ways of being.

Respect

At Boulder Sudbury we have fostered a culture of mutual respect among the diverse community of students, staff, and teachers. All members have the right to exist at peace.  

Fairness

We implement our own brand of inclusionary and restorative justice through the Judicial Committee, and all votes are kept fair by keeping students informed.

Trust

Boulder Sudbury operates based on an inherent trust within the community, mandating that students be independent, self-directed learners.

Order

Moral and prohibition-based laws are created, changed and dissolved in an ever evolving lawbook to preserve a sense of freedom, respect, fairness, trust, and order.

Empowered By Self-Directed Education

Self-Directed Education may be defined as the self-directed pursuit of that which is deemed as meaningful and satisfying. Pursuits are self-directed, because they are self-chosen, not mandated, and they may be chosen with education in mind or merely out of one’s enjoyment. In a self-directed education environment, students’ days may be as loose or structured as desired. 

Curiosity

Students are able to pursue their interest in an environment where all pursuits are treated equally, and thereby fostering their innate curiosity.

Uniqueness

Self-directed education at Boulder Sudbury is secular and non-sectarian, allowing for all forms of individual difference and uniqueness to find expression.

Creativity

Often students are found engaging in some form of creative expression throughout their time in a self-directed education environment like Boulder Sudbury.

Self-Esteem

Since all students develop at their own pace, without arbitrary grading, judgement, or comparison, students tend to exhibit greater self-esteem.

Happiness

Given that students attend voluntarily, and are able to maintain their freedom, they are often found happy at school and at home alike.

Mission

The mission of The Boulder Sudbury School is for the education of members of the community of the school and is founded upon the principle that learning is best fostered by self-determination in a social environment that functions as a democratic micro-society. All pursuits are treated equal, and all members of the school community are able to participate in teaching, learning and other school activities so that the School may function as an integrated community. Furthermore, The Boulder Sudbury School allows for opportunities and responsibilities in governing the School to be shared among students, staff, and representatives of the community of the school, maintaining a flexible structure which, while being free to adhere to valid traditional forms, will also be free to create new ones.

A Word

From Our Founders

It is our sincere wish that the multitudes of beautiful independent children and their families can benefit from Boulder Sudbury and the Sudbury model of education. At a school such as Boulder Sudbury, it is ultimately the students and staff together who determine whether the vision for the school can be realized. Over the years we have observed and participated in this process of the school coming into its own, and are left with great excitement for what the future holds.

– Robert and Mylantii

Admissions

To understand more about our admissions process, please read the tabs below.

Enrollment is for a full year from the date of entry. So long as the school has not reached its maximum capacity, enrollment may take place at any time during the school year. Boulder Sudbury has an open admissions policy, accepting applicants between the ages of 4 (turning 5 that year for kindergarten age requirements) to 19+, who are fully capable of participating in the school’s mission. This entails functioning as an autonomous individual within the school’s collective community. The autonomy required implies that members will be independent and self-directed, making their own decisions, being and/or doing without consistent assistance, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental.

We believe that under normal circumstances, all applicants have the ability to lead productive and autonomous lives at school, and therefore seek to admit any student that desires enrollment. However, since every person, as well as their family, is different, each applicant will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This ensures that the family as a whole share a similar understanding of Boulder Sudbury and that the applicant’s nature and potential is understood, so that they are supported throughout their journey in education here.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students

The Boulder Sudbury School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

1.) The interview fee.

Waived for 2021-2022, the interview fee is normally $36 and is non-refundable.

2.) Annual tuition.

The tuition has a range of $3780-$15120. For an idea of who qualifies for the minimum and maximum, as well as an example of the median income for the county, see the table below. Contact us for your family’s specific tuition rate.

3.) Sliding scale. 

A tuition deduction is applied for each additional child after the first, not to fall below $3780. For instance, the second child receives a 75% reduction, the third receives a 75% reduction, and any remaining children after the third are $0.

4.) Maximum deductions.

The lowest possible tuition is $3780, despite any potential deductions that would result in its decrease.

5.) Administration and corporation fees.

There are three fees in addition to tuition: (a) the admin fee of $72; (b) the art corporation fee of $100; and (c) the digital arts, science, and media fee of $144. These fees are paid annually.

Tuition information-at-a-glance.

Therefore, a student who enrolls for full-time status (5 days a week), the tuition range will be anywhere between $3780 and $15120, depending on your family’s specific tuition formula. On the other hand, if your student enrolls for part-time status (2.5 days a week), the tuition range will be anywhere between $3780 and $8640, depending on your family’s specific tuition formula:

Status Part-Time Full-Time
Minimum # of Days per week (Mon. – Fri.) 1 5
Maximum # of Days per week (Mon. – Fri.) 3 5
Maximum (highest possible) tuition (Income of $192000 or more)* $9072 $15120
Minimum (lowest possible) tuition (Income of $38000 or less)* $3780 $3780
SAMPLE – Tuition for the first student with their guardian’s income equaling $76,000. $3780** $6615

* Please contact Boulder Sudbury for the tuition formula or for us to provide you with your exact cost of tuition.

**3/5 of the full-time tuition cost.

The enrollment process includes:

1.) The interview request form:

You may submit the interview request form directly from this page.

2.) The interview:

Upon receiving and processing your interview request, we will call or email you to schedule an interview. This will normally occur within 48-72 hours, Monday-Friday.

3.) The visiting week:

After the interview, the prospective student(s) must attend a visiting week before the final stage of enrollment. This is to determine whether or not the school, the child and the child’s family are a good fit.

4.) Tuition assessment:

Unless you have chosen to opt-out and pay the maximum tuition, we obtain financial information (i.e. last year’s tax form) from you to assess the current year’s tuition for your child/children.

5.) Complete the enrollment contract:

If after the visiting week it is determined that enrollment is desired, the annual enrollment contract must be completed before the prospective student(s) may attend.

5.) Payment of tuition:

Payment of Tuition, whether the first monthly payment or annual payment, must be received before the student’s second week. With payment, you are committed to one academic year. This payment is non-refundable.

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About Our Logo

Our logo, based around the banner of peace of the Roerich Pact, is a symbolical and literal depiction of our intention to protect the culture of the school, honor freedom in learning, respect children and their rights, and appreciate the myriad forms of human...

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About Boulder Sudbury

Through curiosity, play, and being social, children and teens learn about the world around them and about life, and they do so continuously when in an environment that supports their freedom of expression. Here at The Boulder Sudbury School, such freedom is not only...

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Get In Touch

Location: 3800 Plateau Road, Boulder County, CO 80503

Telephone: (720) 943-0918

Email: info@bouldersudbury.org

School Hours: M-F: 10am – 4pm

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Boulder Sudbury School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.