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The Patchwork School 1428 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 www.thepatchworkschool.com (720) 271-6729

The Patchwork School’s Proposal to Host the 21st Annual International Democratic Education Conference The Patchwork School formally seeks to host the 21st annual International Democratic Education Conference. We have the capacity to bring together a diverse and substantial cross-section of individuals and organizations working to transform education and our communities locally, nationally and internationally. In addition to the established international democratic education community, we can gather a robust group of stakeholders, not currently involved in IDEC, who are passionate about creating a more democratic education for all. Vision & Purpose of IDEC 2013 IDEC 2013 will bring together practitioners, organizers, academics, youth, and educators for an international exchange on the transformation of schools and communities to ensure that all young people can engage meaningfully in their education and gain the tools to build a just, democratic, and sustainable world. Why Patchwork for 2013? Since its founding in 2007, The Patchwork School has emerged within the larger democratic education community as a leader in early childhood education. The Patchwork School has been participating in numerous dialogues around education on a local, regional, national, and international level through conferences, policy meetings, networks, associations, and collaborative partnerships. We have found early childhood education as an ideal platform to engage in conversations around democratic education and children’s rights, and have been leveraging that to expand our role and presence in our local and larger communities. We are developing long-term strategic partnerships to enable Patchwork to effectively document, consult, and assist in making democratic education accessible to all children. As a staff and community, we’ve been discussing the potential of hosting IDEC for well over a year and have allotted and committed to the time (see Key Details section for specifics) needed to make IDEC 2013 the most successful conference possible. We are confident in our ability to help transform education and bring democratic education to the forefront of education conversations around the world. What is The Patchwork School? The Patchwork School is committed to a non-coercive approach to learning, wherein we follow the interests of the community to build an emergent curriculum together. Our school is “patched” together using various approaches to education; however, our main inspirations include: Democratic education, Reggio Emilia and humane education. We currently serve children ages 1 1/2-12 (Toddler-5th grade). The ultimate vision for the school includes a multi-generational approach to learning, where we have newborns, the elderly, and everyone in between forming relationships and growing together. The Patchwork School exists as an example of radical possibility in education. Our school promotes a relationship-based approach to learning, which stems from our underlying commitment to embrace each person for who they are and what they contribute to the world. We are interested in a participatory education for each person, regardless of age, and work with very young children to instill a strong sense of care for the “other,” through a culture of perspective sharing where we listen to each other as valuable members of the community.

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The Patchwork School 1428 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 www.thepatchworkschool.com (720) 271-6729

Impact Local& Regional Over twenty schools, organizations, and groups are aware of and engage in conversations around democratic education in the greater Boulder/Denver area such as: · · · · ·

The Patchwork School INVST Community Studies at Colorado University at Boulder Jefferson County Open School Parent Engagement Network Colorado Options in Education

National Across the nation, this figure grows exponentially with schools and organizations such as: · Play Mountain Place · Big Picture Schools · IDEA · Education for Liberation Network · Goddard College · Alternative Education Resource Organization The IDEC will bring a new awareness to many individuals, while enriching, supporting, and further lending credibility to those already engaged in larger conversation around democracy in education. The IDEC will engage with individuals, schools, colleges and universities, groups, organizations, politicians, communities and businesses not traditionally engaged in these conversations. By identifying common values, work, and shared concerns, we will provide a new and exciting platform to teach, learn, and share from each other, while collectively working towards a common goal: a more democratic education for all, on a local, regional, and national level. It is through collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas, philosophy, and practice we can all enrich and strengthen our work and learning environments. The IDEC will bring together those who self-identify as democratic and alternative schools and learning environments, as well as politicians, principals and administrators, educators, students, parents, policy advocates and decision-makers, community organizers, academic researchers, authors, schools, organizations, and colleges and universities in the public and private sectors. International The IDEC 2013 seeks to promote and showcase democratic education worldwide through a credible, professional, and inspiring conference. By highlighting established and successful schools, programs, organizations, and communities around the world that incorporate democratic education into their environments, we will be able to elevate and lend credibility to those trying to incorporate these values and this type of education into their own communities and countries around the world, while simultaneously supporting them in this process. Outcomes Those in attendance will experience: solidarity and support, skill-building, opportunities to connect with like-minded educators, resource mining, growth through partnership, community building in the greater democratic education community, a refined sense of mission and purpose and ideas for moving forward. Cross-sector relationships and partnerships IDEC 2013 is committed to establishing, maintaining, and leveraging strategic organizational, business, and political relationships and partnerships to further the vision of the conference. For IDEC 2013 to be successful in achieving the

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The Patchwork School 1428 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 www.thepatchworkschool.com (720) 271-6729

impact we are striving for, it is vital to create meaningful cross-sector relationships beyond those we’ll be establishing within the field of education. This includes, but is not limited to, politicians, policy makers, green businesses, social justice and direct service organizations, groups committed to environmental sustainability, and non-profits committed to systemic change. Partnerships with local businesses and individuals are currently being formed and are founded with the mutual interest of perpetuating local economic growth, fostering true relationships for a safe and meaningful community, and building a coalition of support and advocacy for families with children. For example, we have already established a relationship with Chuck Sisk, the Mayor of Louisville, Colorado who is in full support of The Patchwork School and our endeavors within the community. We have formed a relationship with a prominent local farm that is interested in expanding community gardening and local food initiatives. We are connected with local business owners who know and love the students and families at our school. We have also formed a partnership with a local coffee shop, which is currently displaying the “Patchwork Photo Project,” a professional photography exhibit featuring the faces of our students. This exhibit seeks to expose the public to the beauty, strength, and wonder of the children in our community, and to spark conversations about learning and life, with provocative quotes from our students and radical educators. This success positions us to show what is possible on a local level, while taking a similar approach to national and international conversations. To that end, we have already built a foundation for creating the same success on a larger scale through established relationships with individuals and organizations on a national level. Potential Partners for IDEC 2013 AERO, IDEA, YPP, Parent Engagement Network, INVST, Boulder County Chamber of Commerce, Bounder County School Board, Colorado Options in Education, EUDEC, AAPAE, Rethinking Schools, Teaching for Change, Teaching Tolerance, NAEYC, NAREA, NAREN, Algebra Project, ECoC, Spirit in Action, Other Worlds, Congressman Jared Polis, Movement Generation, Project 360, Common, Jen Rudkin, Educación Alternativa, The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, OUR Center, Parenting Place, Uniting for Kids, Social Justice Council of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Transition Louisville/Boulder, Boulder County’s Sustainability Initiative, Stand for Children, PeaceJam, YES! Potential Keynote Speakers for IDEC 2013 Pedro Noguera, Omo Moses, Linda Darling-Hammond, Rudy Balles, Van Jones, Amy Goodman, Linda Stout, Lella Gandini Key Details Dates IDEC 2013 would tentatively be held in early to mid-July with the potential for pre- and post-conference activities and events. We are in conversation with the University of Colorado at Boulder to use their facilities and are aiming for the conference to be held in Boulder County, Colorado. Location The greater Boulder/Denver area is one of the most accessible locations in North America. As an airport situated between the coasts, attendees from all parts of the continent will find it highly accessible and affordable as a travel destination. International attendees from Europe, Asia, South America and beyond will find comparable travel costs; a quick search for a London – Denver flight this summer, only one month out, led to prices under $900USD. The greater Boulder area is also one of the most beautiful locations in North America. At 5,430 feet above sea level, acres of vast open space roll into Boulder's quaint cityscape tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Boulder is a

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The Patchwork School 1428 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 www.thepatchworkschool.com (720) 271-6729

community with high ethical standards: focused on preserving natural open space, a clean and beautiful environment, and a reduction in pollution. Visitors can enjoy the benefits of a community created by residents who embrace a healthy, culturallyenriched lifestyle. Participants in the IDEC 2013 will have access to hundreds of miles of trails, friendly local businesses, cafes, teahouses, breweries, and 45,000 acres of open space. With over three hundred days of sunshine a year, visitors can expect beautiful, low humidity days at an average of 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 29 degrees Celsius. Launch We aim to have dates and location published on a conference website by the end of 2011, giving at least eighteen months of planning time for attendees. Additionally, we will aim to have all costs posted and registration opened a minimum of twelve months prior to the conference, while strategically coordinating our launch with the 2012 IDEC organizing committee in Puerto Rico, AERO conference, EUDEC’s bi-annual conference, and Free Minds, Free People conference. Theme We are currently exploring whether a theme is the best vehicle to meet IDEC’s stated goals and IDEC 2013’s vision. In this exploratory process we have developed a number of ideas, which have the potential to reach a wide range of individuals and organizations. These include: Play, Children’s rights, Inquiry-based education, and Community as the heart of education. Organizing Committees IDEC 2013 will be organized through a steering committee and a series of working groups and committees. The steering committee will be chaired by Elizabeth Baker (Director of The Patchwork School) and Isaac Graves (Board Member) and include representatives from the working groups and committees. These committees will be made up of our local, regional, national, and international strategic partners. This core committee will likely include representatives from the Mayor’s office, chamber of commerce, committee of local partners, committee of national partners, committee of international partners, host site (likely the University of Colorado at Boulder), the IDEC 2012 organizing committee, The Patchwork School parent and community committee, fundraising committee (this includes a commitment to obtaining support for lowincome attendees), and outreach committee. The Patchwork School’s Commitment We have the time, energy, and commitment to make IDEC 2013 the most successful conference it can be. We have budgeted to hire the IDEC 2013 co-chairs for five hours a week each during the initial exploratory and planning phase of the conference beginning August 1st, 2011. When the exploratory and planning phase ends (early 2012) we will reassess the exact amount of time each co-chair will need to spend on IDEC 2013 going forward and commit to compensating them appropriately. Additionally, our board of directors has committed to spending all of the time necessary to make the conference a success and our school community has also expressed great excitement and willingness to donate their time, energy and resources towards this endeavor. Our co-chairs and board of directors are committed to developing the partnerships and relationships necessary to fill the committees mentioned above which will enable IDEC 2013 to meet the stated goals of the IDEC, achieve our vision, and create a financially healthy conference. Co-Chair Bios Elizabeth Baker is the co-founder and Director of Development at a democratic, free school called The Patchwork School in Louisville, Colorado. She currently works with children ages 2 ½ to 7 and their parents, as well as the teachers at the school, to create a unique learning community based on freedom, responsibility and compassion. Elizabeth has spoken to and facilitated workshops with educators and their communities in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Turkey and Puerto Rico, as well as at national conferences. She is an education consultant for the creation and reformation of early childhood, elementary and homeschool programs, most recently assisting in the design of a democratic Preschool and Elementary

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The Patchwork School 1428 Main Street, Louisville, CO 80027 www.thepatchworkschool.com (720) 271-6729

School in Puerto Rico. Her current focus is on community organizing, creating citizenship projects and advocating for a joyful and participatory experience of education, and of life, for children and their parents. Isaac Graves began his journey in democratic education at a very young age having attended The Free School (Albany, NY), the longest running inner-city democratic school in the United States. Since graduating, he has worked extensively in the field as an educator, speaker, and organizer. Isaac has spoken nationally and internationally, co-founded and taught at Harriet Tubman Democratic High School, serves on the board of and teaches at The Patchwork School in Louisville, Colorado, blogs for the Institute for Democratic Education in America, and serves as the outreach coordinator for the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO). Isaac founded and for the past eight years has served as the lead organizer for the United States' largest alternative education conference, AERO Conference. Currently, Isaac is writing a book, Community-Based Education: The Necessary Interdependence Between Life and Learning set to be published in 2013. Enclosed 1. Letters of Support 2. Brochure of The Patchwork School 3. Brochures for Boulder, Colorado

Photos of children were taken by staff at The Patchwork School during the 2010-2011 school year. Nature photos were taken in Boulder, Colorado at Chautauqua Park (pages 1,3 and 5) the Rocky Mountain National Park (page 2, elk) by local photographer Steven Moore.

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The Patchwork Schools's Proposal to Host IDEC 2013  

The Patchwork Schools's Proposal to Host the 21st Annual International Democratic Education Conference