Who chooses Deep Root?
Some DRC youth and families come from an alternative mindset. They are already comfortable with nontraditional choices.
Other DRC members never planned to choose an alternate path. Many have tried to make school work for them in various ways and in various locations, with similar results. The environment and instruction typically offered in school is not for everyone.
What is Deep Root Center?
Deep Root Center is a small, safe, dynamic, and welcoming community of learners. DRC accepts membership applications from youth who are frustrated by traditional school and wish to take charge of their own education to become independent thinkers. Through a supportive mentoring relationship, they are encouraged to dig deeply into their personal interests, seek out information and disseminate it through their own filters of experience and beliefs. DRC trusts that all young people are capable of self-regulation and that they will make good choices when offered the opportunity.
All DRC members are individuals, moving forward in unique directions at a pace that is right for them. Deep Root Center is not a school. Rather, DRC offers an alternative to school.
You have come this far, you can contact us now to schedule an appointment, or continue on to explore on your own.
Why Choose Self-Directed Learning with the help of DRC?
How it Works - Steps to Becoming a Member
3. Develop a Customized Learning Plan with DRC Staff (IHIP)
- Homeschooling is the legal mechanism to become a Deep Root Center member. (The DRC Executive Director facilitates all homeschool documentation.) The IHIP includes specific subjects (math, English, etc.) as determined by NYS. At Deep Root Center we call all of these subjects - buckets. Our mutual goal is to build a completely personalized plan by filling those buckets with classes and activities that are dynamic, exciting, interesting, and lead toward fulfilling individual dreams and aspirations. There is a $40 fee due upon completion of this service. It will then be deducted from the amount due the first month of membership.
- Scholarship Aid applications are available upon request. DRC will never refuse a child because of their families financial situation.
1. A New Way to Approach Learning, Education, and Life:
Deep Root Center focuses on each individual: their strengths, interests, talents, and goals. We meet kids where they are, and, support them to travel wherever their passions lead, do whatever interests them, and become whoever they want to be. We ask them the big questions like: What problems in the world would you like to work on? How can you use your life and skills to help others? And, quite simply, what makes you happy?
2. Making the Decision:
The process of becoming a Deep Center Member is fairly simple, however, as with most things, the first step is the most difficult --- making that decision --- consciously choosing self-directed learning, and willingly (excitedly) taking charge of your education. Deep Root Center staff is available to meet with youth and their families to discuss whether this is the correct educational environment to satisfy their specific learning style, personality, as well as needs. Students are also welcome to visit for a day or two to hang out, explore, and participate in activities and classes to help them decide if DRC is right for them.
3. Creating a Customized Learning Plan:
Once a young person determines that Deep Root Center is where they want to pursue their education, they meet with me, the Executive Director, to explore all the possibilities and map out their personal educational plan, based on their unique interests. I facilitate this process, which varies depending upon the age of the student, through discussion and recommendations, and, by asking a multitude of questions. We then create an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP), the formal document and legal mechanism that allows students to leave traditional school to participate at DRC, which is derived from our conversation. There is a $40 fee due upon completion of this service. It will then be deducted from the amount due the first month of membership.
4. Completing the Application:
Families fill out the Deep Root Center member application and student members are asked to sign the community agreement, and member contract along with their parents. A staff person then reviews the specific terms agreed upon in the financial contract (and scholarship application) with the family.
5. A Personal Advisor:
Student members, ages 10-18, are assigned a personal advisor who meets weekly with each youth, using the DRC online portfolio tool, to discuss and imagine goals, talk about difficult situations, provide resources, track progress, and facilitate tutorials and community connections. The advisor will also help the student write the Quarterly Progress Reports that are required by NYS. This supportive, mentoring relationship is the very core of the Deep Root Center experience.
The Seedling members, ages 5-9, have an ongoing connection with the Seedling's coordinator, as well as other staff members and volunteers, who are able to anecdotally and quantitatively track individual development through conversations and interactions on a daily basis with our online portfolio system. This information is included in their NYS mandated Quarterly Progress Reports.
6. Daily Life at DRC:
Members spend time here working on independent academic and hands–on creative pursuits, playing music, taking classes, or one-on-ones, and hanging out with their friends, Monday, Thursday, and Friday 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM.
The classes and one-on-ones in Deep Root Center's schedule represent the interests of our students as well as staff members and volunteers. Youth are expected to choose a handful of classes, use DRC in a meaningful way, and attend the Center at least three - four days each week.
Every Tuesday is reserved as our experiential outdoor day, when student members have the opportunity to participate in the Water, Woods, & Wild Wonders Program. This is a chance for all kids to become immersed in the wonders of the wild world. Monthly themes will loosely guide the explorations; however, the important piece is for kids to experience nature freely, on their own terms.
The Seedlings Program follows a monthly theme to introduce new ideas and concepts, which are presented in an open, comfortable environment that engages all of the student's senses with imaginative, fun, and engrossing activities. Play and creativity are the backbone of this program.
The DRC music program provides a safe supportive space for kids to explore their interests in music, learn music theory, try out new instruments, or simply jam in a open environment.
DRC is a comfortable environment that provides an active and supportive multi-age social network. We are dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive community for all who choose to be here.