(Recorded in 1975)

~ Introductory Text by John Sherin ~

Part One - FUTURE SHOCK author Alvin Toffler extended an invitation for us to visit him and his wife Heidi at their home in New York City, where they introduced us to their daughter Karen. This followed his willingness to allow his name to be used in the title of the School of Futuristic Education next to that of psychologist Abraham Maslow. Wayne, Doug and Frank videotaped the New York City event, though the years have since taken a toll on the quality of the recording. Heidi is seated to the immediate left of Mr. Toffler, who directed his first question to Karen White. “What do you do [at the school]?", to which after pausing and experiencing a brain freeze Karen replied, “I can’t believe that I don’t know what I do.” This was a singularly articulate and masterful young woman whose leadership qualities were well known to the group. The outburst of laughter underscored the respect in which she was held, as well as her circumstance. Regaining her composure, she spoke of her role in public relations. Toffler asked “How many alternative schools are there in the country?" to which Milt Siler added a qualifier : “One thing worth noting - the problem of distinguishing types.” We shared our intention of adding a second year (11th grade). Ken Moss spoke about our students. Responding to his questions, students spoke on their own behalf -- Joyce Labozzetta, Lenny Marsh, Charlie Rizzo. Next, Johanna Fogliano, John Sherin and Vieda Mazur were there that day and spoke as staff members. There ensued a discussion between Frank Zimmerman and Alvin Toffler about Frank’s discoveries working with Kirilian photography, auras, health, and the curiosity expressed by a science teacher at the regular high school. After visiting the school himself, Alvin Toffler issued a statement to the Board of Education in Brentwood.

Part Two - A DARKROOM created by Frank for an Independent Study work area in photography became his "cave" for much of the school day. Given the affectionate nickname "mole" by students for the many hours he would spend in pursuit of his passion of developing images in the darkroom, he continues explaining his Kirilian photography to Mr. Toffler. He shares the insights of a high school student attending conferences open primarily to college students and professionals as he was pleased to teach them things they had not yet learned. In the foreground are Alvin Toffler, Karen White, Frank Zimmerman, and Milt Siler. When asked about the Performing Arts Center, Lenny spoke. “How many students from the school participate in PAC?” Mr. Toffler had asked. Lenny’s answer - “about a third.” Then in response to Milt’s coaching he proceeded to explain how Ken worked. He’d been an “excellent teacher.” The PAC had already completed performances of an original Ken Moss play called “The Dark of the Moon.” The year began with a series of Creativity Workshops in which they had participated in sensitivity activities to heighten awareness. In lieu of Independent Study and as part of their Work Experience requirement, students in the PAC had elected to participate in singing, dancing, acting or instrumental performing to acquire up to two hours of New York State credit toward graduation. Monica had been Director, Lenny written and performed a monologue, done comedy, written a script for a puppet play they’d produced. At Milt’s suggestion, Lenny shared the experience of the PAC while performing an original play called "Winnie the Pooh" for traditional elementary school classes in the district. At this session's end Lenny is telling what he has learned watching Vieda’s daughter, a pre-schooler who spends most days with her mother at school.

Part Three - A TUTORING SUCCESS was shared by student Donna C., who worked with a 7th grade student whose reading level increased dramatically since the start of the year. Through it all she attributed her caring about her students as the prime motivating factor in their success. Lenny talks about the consequences of the elimination of tracking. Everyone is accepted here, he says, and it is impossible to tell by what previous levels of tracking students have been classified. John and Milt refer to tests introduced this year that measure changes in creativity. Mr. Toffler questions the validity and difficulty of administering such tests. Joyce speaks to her enhanced vocabulary and previous tracking experience at the high school as proof of her new-found success and re-direction. She shares her experience with another student, Ken Reed, at a meeting of the World Future Society in Washington D.C., where they were able to take over a meeting of educators from all over the country as they spoke of the M-T school because of the way in which they presented themselves. Mistaken for teachers, they exuded a superior competence and self-confidence. Our school is frequently a fishbowl for visitors from many different states. Mr. Toffler is shown photos of students and staff and offers some comments on the quality of the images. Other subjects discussed are the darkroom, a gym teacher, the photographic history of the school, and motivation. “Why do you all want to learn?” Mr. Toffler asks. The answers vary. While our college graduation levels are expected to be higher on average than the traditional high school, Milt points out, “we never mention or place emphasis upon attending college.” Similarly, our students are highly motivated to grow by becoming educated, if for no other reason than it's fun to succeed in life and remain healthy. A discussion of the school nurse provides quantitative comparisons with traditional schooling statistics and number of visits to the nurse's office in one year in both places. “Students there,” said one student, “are more often sick of school. Our nurse takes all our courses and helps with costumes for the PAC, using surgical thread to fix things.” “Can this kind of enthusiasm last?” Mr. Toffler asks as the session ends.

Part Four - AN INSIGHTFUL QUESTION was posed by Alvin Toffler when he asked everyone: “Will this kind of spirit be able to continue?” Aware that people and institutions go through life cycles, birth to death, he asks: “Will this institution survive?” Joyce describes her own experience and tells how “it has changed me. You can learn from everybody,” she says. “Even from a teacher," adds Mr. Toffler. Ken enumerates what we’ve learned, including the precautionary tales we share with others. Should old structures (like the darkroom) be torn down so that next year's students will have their own experience of the school untainted by what existed previously? Is it essential to re-invent the wheel each year? New structures were expected to grow the following year. Project Advance would include college courses from Syracuse University that had recently been approved by the district. English and Psychology were to be taught for the first time the following year at M-T. A student acknowledged them being the pioneers. There were dreams of creating an amphitheatre. “Tell me about work outside the school,” Mr. Toffler said. Among those responding were Doug, Charlie, Milt and John. Doug talked about his work experience with the Suffolk County Police Department, the Crime Lab, and in the County Morgue where he used his experience as a photographer to take photos of cadavers. He next worked with the Community Aide Program of the Third Precinct Community Council and ultimately with kids. Charlie volunteered at Pilgrim State Hospital for his work experience, while Milt made reference to a student who worked long and hard to locate a position employing Music Therapy. Finding one, she successfully scored breakthroughs with several children in her first year. John made reference to the previous year's unsuccessful attempt to launch a groundbreaking Brentwood Student Corporation. He expressed optimism that with new recruits in the coming year there would be a renewed interest in and support for that idea.

Part Five - “IS THERE ANY WAY you bring your various work experiences into the school?” asked Mr. Toffler. And “How does the fact that you’ve had that experience affect other people so that they can learn from it also?” His answer came from a student who explained that every Friday morning at 9am there was a “workshop,” a class in which each student participated by engaging in a non-verbal activity related to work in general and after which they were encouraged to share feelings and experiences specifically related to their work during that week. Johanna, a facilitator, related an account of a student's experience related to a negative outcome that became a positive one for the rest of her class. Joyce recalled how Tom had recently helped design a park at a regional municipality as a direct consequence of his work. Milt amplified the previous comments by indicating how students often learn from the fact they don’t learn what they expected to. Ken pointed to the benefits of remaining open to alternatives. Joyce, departing from the focus of the conversation, revealed that we recently got “new rugs and painted walls,” adding “I just wanted to tell you that.” She then related her account of several activities that had occurred in workshop. Each involved a ‘fantasy trip’ enabled by relaxation exercises and guided imagery; role reversal in which she became a rosebud, and another culminating in a decision about family, choice of partner, wedding vows, marriage, commitments and lifestyle. “How did this whole idea come about?” Alvin Toffler wanted to know. The class grew out of a reading of Future Shock and the chapter on Families of the Future and evolved into a whole body learning activity about making relationship choices -- ie., "You and Me Against the World," "On A Pedestal," and "Swing Free" to name a few. As follow-up, several pairs of parents and friends of students who were themselves in committed relationships were invited and agreed to come to school to share without reservation the pluses and minuses of pursuing various choices, among them an interracial couple and several from marriage encounter. Donna offered to share her fantasy that occurred during one such class. She was a slender and attractive young woman who had fantasized herself being grossly overweight and surrounded by a group of children who were all crowding about her and pulling at her clothes from all sides. She described it as a most uncomfortable feeling that made her aware of things she didn’t ever want to experience.