Our Pitch For Fall Enrollment 2023

Original Artwork by Aster Evans 2021

Hello, I am Dr. Erin Flynn and I’m the founder of the Hedge School Cooperative. We serve 8th thru 12th-graders and incorporate consent-based learning at our core. I have been in education for over fifteen years at both public high schools and university levels. I was a principal for four of those years and am certified in the state of Texas to be a school superintendent. I say all of this so that you know that my choice to start this independent secular cooperative was driven by my experience in public state-run schools.

After resigning from my last position, I was approached by a group of parents and students who were also frustrated by the system and also fearful for their LGBTQIA+ students. I had imagined I would start my own school at some point, and so their “ask” became my “sign” as they say. In January 2021, we started our first semester with 6 students. At the end of this May, our 2 Seniors are graduating and we have a total of 13 students.

The Hedge School is committed to inviting our students to embrace their own education in order to develop their critical thinking skills, express their creativity, and cultivate their capacity for compassion. Our classes are small group seminar learning. Every 4 weeks we have a unit theme such as subcultures, identity, community and activism, and myth, monsters, and legends. Students examine these themes through the lenses of literature, social studies, and global impact. In the fourth week they synthesize their learning into a unit project; either an essay, PowerPoint presentations and also illustrations, zines, and in this last unit on Utopias, we are doing dioramas.

We are currently doing math and science online, or some students attend these classes elsewhere. Should we enroll 7 more students for next year, I will be hiring a math and science teacher and we will attend Monday through Thursday from 10 to 3. At the moment we have a cap of 20 students and 11 are enrolled already for next year. We have an online enrollment process which you can access at hedgeschoolcoop.com and click on the enroll here button. You can contact us through the same website, our Facebook Page, and via email at hedgeschoolcoop@gmail.com. We are also hosting an open house tomorrow from 4-7 at the Still Waters Retreat Center here in Austin where the school holds its classes.

Our students receive their grades through self-evaluations and feedback from me. There is no dress code nor in fact a student code of conduct. I want our students to enter the Hedge School Coop as trusted members of our community. Should anything arise that causes friction or harm, we will address it then, together. We do abide by agreements reached through consensus at the beginning of the year. The adults do have a code of ethics and conduct though. I have always felt that as the adults in the room we should be held to a higher standard than our students whose minds are still developing.

I said previously that we are a consent-based learning institution. Ultimately, this means that the power to develop and learn lies in the hands of the student. If there is a subject they wish to explore, they are given the freedom to do that either independently or create a change to our curriculum. If the way in which we are doing something isn’t working for them and/or they see a better way to try, then we discuss and give it a go together.

Being an independent school, we are able to achieve these goals wherein such attempts would be stifled in the public school system. We have the ability to provide a safe space for our students regardless of the whims of the Governor. We are inclusive and truly student-centered. We don’t have a board, we have families directing our goals and experiences. We don’t want our students to fit in, we want them to belong.

So if you are looking for a school environment that values critical thinking, creativity, and compassion with a consent-based core then I invite you to explore if we are the fit for your next step in learning.


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