Community Supported Education

Eye exams with parent optometrist

The Garden Road Community Supported Education (CSE) embodies the organic evolution of the elementary school over the past ten years. We have always nurtured a partnership between parents and educators and the CSE provides a structure to support this essential connection.  Parents become integral to the functioning of the school, contributing their own genius, time, effort and heart toward an enlightened, and more affordable, education for our children.

How it Works
The Garden Road School offers
-A foundation of experiential academic and creative learning with a tested and tried philosophy
-Our curriculum which meets NYS standards
-Trained educators
-Board of Trustees
-501c3 incorporation under the NYS Board of Regents
-Education Advisory Board
-Administrative Team
-The facility. Our stone schoolhouse on six acres of land, playground, basketball court and an outdoor amphitheater

Teachers, parents and board members collaborating to create the CSE

The Parents invest their time, energy, wisdom and skills, in their child’s education process with benefit to the greater collective by participating in the CSE.

Together we create an environment where our children can discover, explore and be the best of themselves.



Can A Community Support Education?
(From a Cooperative Catalyst Guest Post by Donna Mikkelsen)

Can a group of like minded parents and community members, support an education model for our children? An education that is designed for our evolution and not for our economy?
Can we change the paradigm and create a new kind of education that is more organic and true to the needs of our imminent future? Can we create an education system built around the integrity of the community’s values? One that can sustain itself without being tethered to the bureaucracy, politics and the outdated industrial model of our current public education system?

There are a growing number of parents who want to be more invested and involved in the education of their children, who have something of value to share. At The Garden Road School we welcome and provide the opportunity for that to happen.

Community Supported Education (CSE) is a concept born out from ten years of innovation, experimentation, and hard lessons won as a small school trying to change the world. We have endeavored to provide an educational environment that is natural, balanced and inspiring for our children. Our drive has always been to improve the human condition and to help others cultivate their natural genius at the same time, cultivating our own as educators.

The Garden Road has always had a strong community and parent involvement.  We decided to create a new system, similar to a co-operative, but unique to the school.  This idea is modeled after a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The school (like the farm) provides the farmers and a rich soil in which the seeds (the children) can flourish to their fullest potential. The parents support and participate in the cultivation of those seeds and the maintenance of the farm (school), creating a full experience for all.
In efforts to make the school as affordable as possible, tuition is adjusted according to how many working hours a family can reasonably contribute per week. There is value for the time and effort given by parents who want to invest and take an active part in their child’s education.

Our parents enrich the curriculum by teaching from their talents and skills (natural genius) things like art, sewing, calendar making, dance, language, culture, cooking, songs, sports, puppet making, the list can go on. Some of our parents help with the day to day running of the school or with marketing and administration. Almost all of our parents come and clean the kitchens and bathrooms once or twice a month.

With Community Supported Education, children have the benefit of the collective genius of teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Everyone has something to offer.

So CAN a community support education?
Can a group of like minded parents and community members, support an education model for our children? An education that is designed for our evolution and not for our economy?
These are the questions we are trying to answer.
What do you think?
We are interested in your feedback.

Donna Mikkelsen, Founder/Director of The Garden Road School