I felt really privileged to have this conversation with such a light! Rachel is so clearly passionate about her work, and it's contagious.
Our conversation discusses the model of her place-based--nay, a place-embedded micro-school, La Luz, and the ripple effects that happen when you embed students in the community.
And, true to form as folks who care about questioning the whole system, we get into a lot of other territory: a respectful process for listening with partners for what the community needs then designing curriculum from there, working with partners and being open to wherever they are right now, getting kids outside, school funding, Montessori curriculum, brain development, being really compelled by what you're doing so it feels energy, leadership that breaks rules, and so much more.
I hope that you enjoy this conversation with Rachel as much as I did.
Contact Rachel Balkcom
la luz micro-school
With over two decades’ experience as an educator, school co-founder and director, curriculum and fieldwork designer, and teacher coach, Rachel teaches for social justice and the equitable regeneration of people and planet. She is a contractor working with schools and organizations and School Designer/Guide at La Luz Micro-School in Denver. Most recently, Rachel facilitated the group creation of the high school at Denver Montessori Jr./Sr. High School and served as High School Director through the graduation of the first class before transitioning into other leadership and guide roles at the school. Outside of working with teens to create new education systems for a new world, she gardens, writes, and dances. Rachel lives with her husband, five awesome housemates, two dogs, two cats, two flocks of chickens, 12 tilapia, and lots of veggies and sunflowers at their co-op in Erie, Colorado.
The Cloud Institute
The Stead School
Laurie Ewert-Krocker, (who deserves an immense amount of credit for the montessori farm school model in the us)