Updated 2018-10-06

The Circle School

An independent day school for children ages 4-19, founded in 1984 . The Circle School balances freedom and responsibility in a self-directed, democratic community.
Jim Rietmulder staff
click to see email
(+1) 717-564-6700
727 Wilhelm Road
Harrisburg, PA  17111
United States

SDE Optimizing Conditions

ASDE surveys all SDE communities/programs about how they provide, enhance, or align with each of the Six Optimizing Conditions for young people to succeed in SDE.  Survey answers:
  1. Responsibility – With no preset or centrally planned schedule of activities or classes, determine your day in your very own way. As Jyles said, "I just come here and I live my life."
  2. Youth Autonomy – Indoors or outdoors, alone or together, stirring or still, silly or serious, for minutes or months, choose your adventures, change your mind, choose again! Do what brings you joy of life, and be mindful or reminded of the community around you.
  3. Access to Tools and Technology – 8 acres, woods & creek, 85 interesting people, lots of self-service stuff: computers, art, science, library, games, music studio (with recording booth), cooking kitchen, playroom, all-gender restrooms, blacktop for wheels, amazing sledding hill.
  4. Adult Allies – No required classes, homework, grades, tests. Full-time adult staff of six anchors the culture, listens with care, facilitates access, catches what falls through the cracks, and thrives on being in community with kids.
  5. Free Age Mixing – Kids 4-1/2 thru about 19 years old, and adults from 21 to beyond counting, all in community together. All resources available based on competence; no arbitrary age restrictions. Lots of mixed-age friendship.
  6. Community – In a world tilting towards narcissism, nihilism, and alienation, community is vital. Equal voice, shared responsibility, rule of law, daily housekeeping chores, take turns on Judicial Committee, run for election if you like. Agency in community!

If any information about this resource is out of date, please let us know.