The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.

In this episode, we speak with Lianne Prentice, Director of The Community School in New Hampshire. The Community School is a unique program with 19 students on a campus that sits on 350 acres of land. Lianne discusses how experiential learning is put at the forefront, specifically in the form of complete integration of coursework within the various subject disciplines. The students at The Community School are being pushed to apply their learning in a holistic way under a pass/fail system. Listen in to learn about the unique impact of The Community School’s educational philosophy.

Episode Link

About Lianne Prentice

An educator since 1988, Lianne has spent most of her professional life working to change systems to be responsive to individual and community needs. The Community School’s progressive roots offer the perfect environment for stretching education into new realms which focus on development of critical skills, cultivating a sense of community and resilience in students, and making connections between the individual and the broader world.

Conventional undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, earning degrees in Political Science and English, provided Lianne with a foundation for graduate studies in Education and Critical Skills at Antioch New England Graduate School. Lianne worked for three years with a small group in Tamworth, New Hampshire, putting together a proposal which earned the first charter in the State under its then-nascent Charter School legislation. As first teacher and now director of The Community School, Lianne continues to work with others to hone real world learning experiences for middle and high schoolers.

About The Community School

Founded in 1989, The Community School is a private non-sectarian co-educational day school serving students in grades 6 to 12. The school’s students are bright, highly motivated young people from central New Hampshire and western Maine. 85% of The Community School’s students receive financial aid in order to come learn with us.

The school believes learning is a rigorous and joyful pursuit which calls on each person’s talents and interests, and promotes appreciation of the interconnectedness of people and places. At The Community School, the mission is to support students on their individual learning paths within a caring and respectful community, while holding a bar of high academic and social standards.

Students and teachers collaborate to build a healthy local community that contributes to a sustainable world: in small, multidisciplinary classes; at all-school meeting; when performing social action; while traveling; and in the school’s gardens and forests. In preparation for college and meaningful work, students learn by doing, connect with nature, develop an ethic of stewardship, solve real problems, and provide service to others. Inquiries and applications are considered at any time, and it is not unusual for students to enter during the school year.

Using comprehensive contemporary research on adolescent development, workplace skills, and dispositions and knowledge necessary for tackling the problems of the future, The Community School has honed an active curriculum. For over a decade, The Community School boasts a 100% college acceptance rate to a wide variety of schools, from Penn, Bennington, Emerson, Bowdoin, and UNH to Berklee, NH Tech, Sterling and College of the Atlantic. The school’s graduates find themselves prepared to face the challenges of living away from home, study in new environments, and form lasting relationships with instructors and peers. They are strong writers, bold self advocates, and conscientious community members.

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