HYDE PARK — A group of Hyde Park parents sent their kids off to their first day of classes Tuesday at a school with no principal and no administration.
The Free School started its first day of classes ever at 8:45 a.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5840 S. Kenwood Ave.
The new school is an experiment in education based on the Albany Free School, where the teachers and students decide together the direction of the school in a democratic process.
“This school is remarkable from what I’ve seen so far, just the enthusiasm I’ve seen from the teachers is remarkable,” said Ed Hayes, whose oldest son, Jacob, was starting third grade.
The school is starting with five teachers who will guide about 60 students through choosing the projects they want to do to learn reading, math and other subjects.
Hayes said he wasn’t looking for anything experimental, but was frustrated that his son’s personality was seen as a discipline problem in the five schools he’s tried so far. He said he looks forward to the alternative approach.
Other parents said putting control of the school in the hands of students and teachers was what they expected out of any school.
Jeff Tharsen said he was excited to send his 8- and 4-year-old daughters to the Free School because it was so similar to what his wife grew up with attending public schools in Germany.
“As educators, we’re always trying to get our kids to take control of their education,” Tharsen said.
The Neighborhood Club will be a short stop for the Free School, which will move to into its permanent home on the second floor of Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave., in January.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: