(Recorded in 1982)

~ Introductory Text by John Sherin ~

2nd Floor Afternoon - Planning Agenda for Evening Meeting

It was nearing the end of the day. They had come here giving of their time and effort to prepare for a second evening meeting that would require knowing what they’d say in a clear and concise manner to those invited parents of current and (what they hoped would be) new students with whom they’d be meeting for the very first time. The days were always long at M-T, but now they felt even longer as the list of things to be accomplished each day grew exponentially. Bob facilitated this session. Marge was there; Conrad, Vieda, Laura, Lillian, Pat, and John behind the camcorder. People either volunteered to assume responsibilities or specific tasks were delegated until most of those present knew the roles they would be expected to play. People began to leave as late buses arrived, and before long the group dissolved, considering how as an endangered community of alternative learners they would all be back in a few hours to assume continuing pressures imposed by a challenged conventional public educational system.

1st Floor Evening - A Community-Building Group Process Including Present and Future Students, Parents and Staff Members

Gradually as they arrive, finding places in the circle of chairs arranged around what was once the Kindergarten Room of the former Village Elementary School, they begin in groups of two and three making small talk and getting comfortable. The earliest arrivals are on a first-name basis. Some smoke cigarettes that were neither prohibited by law nor district policy given their state-approved alternative status and the lateness of the hour. Others help themselves to coffee and refreshment provided by students. There were old friends, a dating couple, a volunteer staff member (Michael) who stayed because he was learning so much and was made to feel comfortable. Grace was there too, and Josephine, Marge, Bob, Alice, Conrad, Vieda, Tori, John, Lillian, and several parents, including a practicing psychologist, Jerry Chartier. Grace initiated the meeting, and thereafter Marge facilitated a Group Process. As people begin to speak it’s apparent that feelings for one another run deep, even those between students and their Principal. This is still a caring community of learners faced by dire circumstances beyond their control. A commitment to the future welfare of the school community extended even to include parents. That year (’82) the main part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was completed in Washington, DC. A few years earlier a young Yale architectural student, Maya Ying Lin, had her design for the memorial accepted. The tragic aftereffects of Vietnam were still impacting our national psyche, as can be seen by the jacket of the student participating in the process. “What is real education?” Marge asks. “What is group process?” This process was intended to be an introduction to M-T through a structured activity. Difficulties ensue following a failure to communicate, and the video ends before the facilitator is able to bring groups back on task to realize her vision of the intended purpose of the process. Simply put, time ran out.