Chicago Free School launches discussion

Staff Writer

The Chicago Free School is hosting a community forum Feb. 8 at Augustana Lutheran Church for a discussion titled, “Envisioning the Chicago Free School.”

The Chicago Free School, which recently announced that it will launch its school at Augustana, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave., in August, is inviting prospective students, parents and those who want to support the school to the meeting “so that we can get input on what they need, what type of experience they are looking for and what their expectations are,” said Lauren Beitler, founder of the Chicago Free School.

Beitler said during the meeting, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the community will learn more about the school’s mission and philosophy, participate in a brainstorming workshop to share their ideas about how to use the school’s space and for the curriculum and form work-groups that will focus on outreach and recruitment, fundraising and school facilities.

Following with the inclusive democratic model of the Free School, there will also be envisioning “play” shops for the children who attend. The kids’ area will include art and construction activities they can use to create their ideas for the school.

Beitler said the school will also launch its fundraising campaign video on during the meeting.

Free schools are private, have no principal and everything is decided by community consensus – including the students. In addition to seeking out interested families, Beitler has also been securing the Augustana space.

Although the school has not officially started accepting applications, Beitler said about 75 families have expressed interest in enrolling their students in the school.

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