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Program Principles

  1. Students are autonomous individuals capable of making their own decisions and choices; they are active subjects, not passive objects.
  1. Students are never merely victims of forces over which they have no control; they always have the potential to change their relationship with that which has limited them.
  1. Student conduct is based on the individual’s experience and interpretation of the world.
  1. A classroom is a microcosm of the complex challenges of modern society, which naturally and inescapably produces conflict and the experience of disturbance in everyday life.
  1. Students and staff are both disturbed and disturbing; disturbance is the result of tension or unresolved conflict-not the result of a disabling condition in and of itself. 
  1. Students and staff get their needs met principally through conscious decisions to identify and manage conflict. 
  1. There is no education without cooperation and no cooperation without consensus. Consensus is established by the ongoing process of the identification and resolution of conflict.
  1. While conflict can be difficult and disturbing, it can also be a catalyst for creativity and an opportunity to imagine, experiment, and establish new and better ways to meet one’s needs.
  1. Independence and self-responsibility are fostered by respect for the individual’s autonomy and shared decision-making-not by manipulation, control, or behavior modification.

Our goal is not prevention, nor is it compliance and conformity; it is radical self-discipline—the ability to control ourselves when we least feel like it. The most important work we do is our day-to-day, moment-to-moment interaction with students. It is here that we either recreate the old paradigm or invent a new one.

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