Growing Wish List Tracker


The list of schools and organizations I want to visit is growing faster than the rate I can see them all and I imagine it will even grow longers as we start going around especially during conferences where you meet even more people in the field of alternative education. So before the list balloons out of hand, as if it’s not out of hand already, here’s the list as it stands today.

I’ve been tinkering with the round-the-world routes so the earlier plans accommodated stops at thirty schools and organizations.  Then it got whittled down to ten in the name of economizing but at the end, the number doesn’t matter as much as the experience itself of meeting the visionaries, the teachers and students themselves.

Plus, I’d like to add two more.  I met Moe Zimmerberg at APDEC and though I didn’t get to chat with him much, I checked out the website of the democratic school where he teaches, The Tutorial School and wish to take a detour to Santa Fe when we do the U.S. West Coast.

On Facebook this morning, somebody posted a video of a math teacher dancing a funky hip hop with students.  I googled the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta plus read a review of somebody who visited the school, answering the question, Does it live up to the hype?


These two schools may be different from each other.  One falls into the category of democratic while the other operates like a traditional school but don’t be fooled by the uniform because it uses non-traditional methods.  I’d like to see and learn from as many types of alternatives including those that can be considered more mainstream than others.  I wonder if someday, the alternatives will outnumber the mainstream and there will be a switch in nomenclature.

Or will there be a day when we dispense with categories altogether?

School or Organization 



Holistic Education School Miaoli, Taiwan Location of APDEC 2016 Conference
Green School Bali, Indonesia TED Talk – John Hardy: My green school dream
Waldorf School Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Mosaic Collective Colorado, USA TED Talk – Will Richardson: The Surprising Truth about Learning in Schools
Science Leadership Academy 55 N 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA TED Talk – Will Richardson: The Surprising Truth about Learning in Schools

Real work for real purpose

Incubator School ·         7400 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, CA Students launch entrepreneurial ideas
Tinkering School 1960 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110and San Francisco Peninsula Coastside
TED Talk – Gever Tulley: Life Lessons through tinkering

The use of real tools to tackle real problems creates a unique atmosphere of trust and responsibility. From six-year-olds to highschoolers, we empower our tinkerers with tools, autonomy and space. Big responsibilities build competency and leave lasting memories.

Waldorf School of the Peninsula Silicon Valley

11311 Mora Drive, Los Altos, California

180 N. Rengstorff Ave. Mountain View, CA

Waldorf School of the Peninsula was established in 1984 by parents and educators motivated by the great need for a school that would address the heart and will—as well as the mind—of the child. This whole-child approach is the cornerstone of our philosophy, curriculum and environment.
High Tech High School, K-12, Graduate School San Diego, California



The design principles permeate every aspect of life at High Tech High: the small size of the school, the openness of the facilities, the personalization through advisory, the emphasis on integrated, project-based learning and student exhibitions, the requirement that all students complete internships in the community, and the provision of ample planning time for teacher teams during the work day.
San Fernando Institute for Applied Media 130 N. Brand Blvd. San Fernando, CA 91340

TED Talk: Pearl Arrendondo – My story from gangland daughter to start teacher

SFiAM provides a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member develops communication, technological, and leadership skills that foster self-confidence and supports personal growth.

SFiAM students learn through rigorous project-based learning modalities that are inherent to the pilot school model. Students are challenged to develop problem-solving and interpersonal skills to succeed in the 21st Century.

Paolo Freire Freedom School and Paolo Freire Freedom University Tuczon, Arizona PFFS – University, with its focus on social justice and environmental sustainability, has been a successful demonstration site/lab school for best instructional practices and small school design for eleven years.  The PFFS – Downtown is implementing these successful strategies with the same focus in a completely redesigned delivery of interdisciplinary, problem-based, ‘full immersion’ STEM curricula.  Both schools are public schools grounded in the legacy of Paulo Freire and the Freedom Movement in America. Both schools are demonstration sites/lab schools within  CITY Center for Collaborative Learning in Tucson.
Timbernook Barrington, New Hampshire Our programming provides ample time for children to explore their surroundings, create, build, design, take risks, and dive into their imagination – all while fostering a love for the great outdoors. Our camps are creative in design and in strong demand.
Big Picture Learning (a network) 325 Public Street, Providence, Rhode Island A student-centered learning design, where students are actively invested in their learning and are challenged to pursue their interests by a supportive community of educators, professionals, and family members.
The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center Providence, Rhode Island First big picture learning school
826 Valencia 826 Valencia St., San Francisco, California TED Prize – Dave Eggers

Dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages 6-18 with their writing skills and to helping teachers get their students excited about the literary arts.

The Free School


Albany, New York Founded in 1969, The Free School in Albany, New York is the longest running inner-city independent alternative school in the United States.  We provide a unique alternative to traditional models of education by offering children a self-directed approach to their learning. Students at our school, many whom have slipped through the cracks of today’s regimented test-driven school system, flourish in a nurturing environment that allows them the freedom to chart their own course of learning while fostering emotional growth and inter-personal skills.
Unschooling NYC


Amy Milstein is an active member of the NYC Home Educators Alliance (NYCHEA).   She and her husband Joshua unschool their two children, Maya 13 and Ben 9, who have never been to school.  The Milsteins are pioneers of unschooling in the big city.   Their goal is to create an awareness of unschooling  as a viable option for families looking for alternatives to traditional curriculum based schooling.
Green Bronx Machine South Bronx, New York TED Talk – Stephen Ritz – A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

Green Bronx Machine was born via collaboration between life-long educator Stephen Ritz and his students who observed that as waistlines expanded, engagement and opportunities in school decreased, school performance suffered, and hope and ambition became minimized. Originally an after-school, alternative program for high school students, Green Bronx Machine has evolved into K-12+ model fully integrated into core curriculum. Our students grow, eat and love their vegetables en route to spectacular academic performance. 40,000 pounds of Bronx vegetables later, our favorite crops include healthy students, high performing schools, graduates, registered voters, living wage jobs and members of the middle class.

Alternative Education Resource Organization 417 Roslyn Rd. Roslyn Heights, NY AERO is the primary hub of communications and support for educational alternatives around the world. Our network includes Montessori, Waldorf (Steiner), Public Choice and At-Risk, Democratic, Homeschool, Open, Charter, Free, Sudbury, Holistic, Virtual, Magnet, Early Childhood, Reggio Emilia, Indigo, Krishnamurti, Quaker, Libertarian, Independent, Progressive, Community, Cooperative, and Unschooling.
World Peace Game Camp Charlottesville, Virginia TED Talk: John Hunter (creator of the World Peace Game)

Author wants to register for a Master Class with John Hunter

Compass for Self-Directed Learning 211 Bronson Ave #210, Ottawa, Ontario Canada Compass is a centre that helps teenagers live and learn without school by supporting teens (13-18 years old) to create a customized education based on their interests, abilities, and goals. We offer classes that run throughout the day, tutoring, mentoring, assistance with finding internships and volunteer opportunities, help with university admissions, and a safe and comfortable place for students to work and socialize.
Escola Lumiar Sao Paolo, Brazil TED Talk – Ricardo Semler

In recent a survey jointly conducted by Unesco, Stanford University and Microsoft, Lumiar has been chosen as one of the 12 most Innovative Schools in the World (the only one in Brazil).

Fundacion Escuela Nueva Colombia Across Colombia, 20,000 schools have been influenced by the model, which features project-based learning, parent and community engagement, learning by doing and according to student interests, and democratic decision-making.
Forest Kindergartens Germany
Summerhill School England Founded in 1921, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world.

Summerhill is the oldest children’s democracy in the world. It is probably the most famous alternative or ‘free’ school. The system that Summerhill employs is not only about education – it is also a different way of parenting which eliminates most of the friction and many of the problems experienced by modern families.


Northern Beach Christian School Australia TED Talk – Will Richardson, The Surprising Truth about Learning in Schools
Deep Green Bush School New Zealand We do not have classes, we will not administer any tests and we will not give homework. At the Deep Green Bush-School youth learn the responsibility inherent in freedom and demonstrate how well people can manage themselves through democratic decision-making.
The Kaitaki Collective Auckland, New Zealand We are a democratic, nature-based learning collective in Auckland, rooted in indigenous & Maori wisdom.
Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery Christchurch special character state school with a fundamental tenet that the child is central in directing his or her own learning so that the enthusiasm and love of learning is retained.

These are the conferences I’d like to attend in the future: IDEC 2017 in Israel, APDEC 2017 in Tokyo and AERO 2017 in America.  I might have to sacrifice APDEC in favor of AERO but if I can’t make it to Tokyo, I’ll make sure to get as many people as I can to join.

AERO Alternative Education Resource Organization Conference

Ron Clark Academy teacher busting all the right moves

International Democratic Education Network

The photos above are of Moe and his cohorts raising funds at the auction and during lunch at the APDEC in Taiwan. 


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