The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
AERO Conference Article by Participant

Here's an article by an AERO Conference participant, Dee Kimbrell: 


AERO Conference, Long Island, New York : The Faces of Change


"The AERO 2015 (Alternative Education Revolution Organization) Conference in Long Island, New York, was busy and wonderful! My friend, Amanda Orser, and I turned this adventure into a road trip and navigated our way through New York traffic and unknown venues. Thanks, Amanda, for all your support!


At the conference, I facilitated a conference wide art installation called "Faces of Change". All participants of the conference were invited to make a self portrait from recycled materials. A photo was taken and then hung up with the other self portraits to capture a "snap shot" of the conference personality. Who says play is just for children? This opportunity for adult play in the middle of a very intellectually stimulating conference was welcomed by many and the results were fantastic! For those of you who created a self-portrait, you can copy your image here. Take a look! 


I also taught two classes: one about question asking skills and one about using open ended materials for deep learning. I am pretty sure stock in water beads jumped after the question asking class! We had a great time. I met many new faces at the conference and look forward to future collaborations."




The feedback from the conference continues to be very positive. See below to recapture some of it with DVDs and CDs.
Here you can still see  5 mini-videos  made by Bob Greenberg at the AERO conference, of Zoe Weill, Deborah Meier, Yaacov Hecht, Sugata Mitra, and Pat Farenga. This is an example of what you'll see in the full CDs and DVDs.


Here we have added many more conference pictures participants have sent us.  We have decided to keep the MineCraft server open until the next conference. Homeschoolers or schools can join it. Reply to this newsletter for more info.  


So far over thirty workshops have been marked as favorites in conference evaluations. Below are some of the most popular, available:


AERO School Starters Workshop - Jerry Mintz, Chris Mercogliano


Coming Alive with Full Circle Learning - Linda Aronson, M.Ed. 


Robert's Rules for Kids - Ted Weisgal


The Real Marie Montessori - Mimosa Jones Tunney 


Michel Foucault: Reflection on the question of freedom within democratic Free Schools - Kirk Cunningham  

AERO Conference DVD's and CD's
You can now directly order AERO Conference CDs and DVDs. They keynotes are all DVDs. 
Sugata Mitra Keynote
The following are the video DVDs we have of our keynotes. They have very high quality sound because we had a direct line from the sound feed. We now have had them made and they are in stock. The entire set of 8 video keynotes is $99. Individual keynotes are $14.   In your order type in the total number of DVDs you are ordering and in the notes give the names or numbers of the workshops.

DVD Videos of Keynotes
1. Dialog Betweer Yaacov Hecht and Sugata Mitra
2. Sugata Mitra Keynote
3. Debbie Meier and Amy Valens Keynote (Good Morning Mission Hill)
4. Zoe Weil Keynote
5. Jeremy Stuart Keynote (Class Dismissed)
6. Nancy Tilton and Tomis Parker Keynote
7. NADEC Keynote
8. Thomas Capone (NYDLA) Lunch Keynote
Audio CDs of Workshops:
The set of the ten workshops is $79. Individual workshops are $9 each. IIn your order type in the total number of CDs you are ordering and in the notes give the names or numbers of the workshops
10. David Marshak: Introduction to Self Design
11. School Starters Workshop: Jerry Mintz and Chris Mercogliano
12. Robert's Rules for Kids: Ted Weisgal
13. Robert's Rules for Kids Part 2
14. The Real Maria Montessori: Mimosa Jones Tunney
15. Coming Alive with Full Circle Learning: Linda Aaronson
16. Stuart Grauer: Radical Boredom
17. Sudbury Model: Jeffrey Collins
18. Michel Foucault: Kirk Cunningham
19. Pat Farenga: Home Schooling Toward Positive Social Change
20. Debbie Meier & Amy Valens: Discussion of Mission Hill
21. Zoe Weil Keynote
22. Tom Capone Keynote
23. Sugata Mitra Keynote
24. Tomis and Nancy Keynote
IDEC Report
You read a report last week on the International Democratic Education Conference in New Zealand from an American participant. Here is a very interesting take from another point of view by Austrailing AERO member Celelia Bradley as it appeared in Connect Magazine. 
Read the article here.
Another Great Robinson RSA Animation
 It is called Changing Education Paradigms
Nepal Orphanage Funds Sent; AERO Matching Fund Must Meet June 30 Deadline
We're proud to tell you that we have sent over $10,000 to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram/Orphanage in Nepal for earthquake recovery. Of course more is needed. Other partners are helping. For example a private school in Nepal is covering the cost of temporary outdoor shelters while the destroyed buildings are rebuilt. You can still make donations here.

While all of our focus has been helping the orphanage in Nepal recover, we have neglected the $20,000 New Visions Foundation matching fund, which only has $3620 to go before the end of the month. You can help us with that here. 
Help keep The Free School financially accessible to ALL students for another 45 years!
For 45 years The Free School, in Albany, NY, one of the oldest democratic schools in the United States, has provided students with a unique, self-directed education, removed from the stress and pressure of standardized testing.  At our inner-city school, where diversity is a hallmark, no families are denied admission due to lack of funds.  Students not only study traditional academic subjects but they also learn valuable life lessons about responsibility, critical thinking, social awareness, diversity and most importantly how to build relationships and care about each other.  It is our focus on community building that encourages students to follow their dreams, contribute positively to society, and become voices for change.

The Free School is an internationally recognized model of child-centered, community based education and has inspired others to start their own democratic schools around the world.   Despite this distinction, we have struggled financially, yet remain committed to never turning away families due to financial reasons. Over the past 4 years our operating costs have risen dramatically and more and more families are in need of tuition assistance.    

In order to stay true to our mission of helping families in need, we have decided to launch our first ever Indiegogo campaign to jump start our scholarship fund and make necessary capital improvements.   70% of all funds raised through this campaign will go directly to our scholarship fund which will help support families of all socioeconomic backgrounds in sending their kids to The Free School.  30% of the funds will go towards our capital fund which will support upgrades to our facilities and school capacity. 

With your support, The Free School will be able to continue its mission, for another 45 years.  Please be a part of our bright future, as we honor our vibrant past!


For 45 years The Free School has been offering a truly unique education to children who live in Albany and surrounding areas.  Maintaining an independent, non-profit school that ensures racial, economic, and cultural diversity amongst its student body and staff is becoming increasingly difficult in these challenging economic times.  Keeping The Free School as an option for all families who want to see their child educated in a caring, empowering, respectful school community is a priority, and we need your help. 

Donate here.
NewsNews, Resources, & Calendar
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Thank you for your ongoing support. With your help, we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!


Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

tensignsThe Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
Many parents don't realize that the education world has changed drastically since they were in school. Schools and class sizes used to be smaller, dropout rates lower, in-school violence almost unheard of, and teachers weren't terrified of showing affection to their students, or of discussing moral values. Of course, even then, school was far from perfect, but at least the teachers-and usually the principal-knew every student by name, something that is increasingly rare today.

Because our public school system has deteriorated considerably, many parents, teachers, and individuals have taken it upon themselves to create public and private alternatives to that system; and it is important for parents to know that they now have choices.

So how do you know that it's time to look for another educational approach for your child? Here are some of the signs:

1. Does your child say he or she hates school?

If so, something is probably wrong with the school. Children are natural learners, and when they're young, you can hardly stop them from learning. If your child says they hate school, listen to them.  

June 7th, 2015
In This Issue
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