March 22, 2016 01:38 PM

An open house will be held this Saturday (and again on April 3) from 1-4 p.m. for parents interested in enrolling their child in Louisiana’s first Sudbury school. The education model takes its name from the Sudbury Valley School opened in Massachusetts in 1968. Sudbury is an education model like no other, save for homeschooling.

“In Sudbury schools we allow our students to continue their pursuit of knowledge in the same manner they’ve been doing from birth, and in the ways that are most natural to each individual child.” says Chantal Saucier, one of the founders of the school that will begin “course work” this fall in a converted house in Maurice. “As parents, we want our children to grow into responsible, self-reliant, happy adults.”

A Sudbury school is a democratic school that focuses on what a child wants to learn without a curriculum or classes even, unless the student requests it. The students explore the world at their own pace and learns the things they want. Students can spend their time in school doing everything from daydreaming to researching. The best part is no mandatory testing (aka the greatest words ever spoken to any student).

Chantal Saucier
Graduates of the Sudbury school have many different options as far as their graduation requirements. They can complete a thesis project, much like in college, or the student can choose to move through different methods. The Lafayette Sudbury School will not be accredited, and therefore, won’t offer a state-approved diploma. However, students can decide to take the GRE.

The school works on paper much like a home-school education. Students will use a list of their accomplishments and experiences for college admissions or résumés. Or they can use their school time to prepare for the ACT or other tests for college admissions, depending on which college they want to attend.

Sudbury schools have a high ratio of graduates who go on to graduate from college — between 75 and 85 percent. Saucier, who holds a PhD in Francophone studies, is confident about replicating these results in Acadiana. “I don’t see why the outcome would be different in Louisiana,” she says.

Tuition for the 2016-2017 school year for a full-time student is $6,900; rates for part-time vary upon the number of days and siblings receive discounts. The school will also provide tuition assistance to families who can demonstrate a need.

Fall 2016 will be the first school year for the Lafayette Sudbury School in Maurice. The school will serve grades K-12 (ages 5-18). There will be two one-week Sudbury Experience Camps in June at the school (June 6-10 and June 13-17). For more information visit the school’s website, LafayetteSudbury.org or follow the school on Facebook at Facebook.com/LafayetteSudbury.

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