Every student admitted to The John Dewey Academy goes through an intense on-campus interview conducted by the staff and students. Before the interview, we take a history from the parents. Although we do review psychological reports, standardized tests, and prior academic performance, we focus much more on our own assessment than on any written report.
In the intake interviews, we assess the current attitude of the applicants. Specifically, we try to ascertain whether they recognize their self-destructive or self-defeating patterns of behavior and can make an initial commitment to change. We examine whether they can accept responsibility for their dysfunctional behavior and, in order to determine whether they can live cooperatively in a caring community, assess their social maturity. Finally, we aim to elicit their willingness to remain at The John Dewey Academy. This initial willingness may be perfunctory, but it must include the minimal intention to be honest and to abide by the basic rules for appropriate student behavior: all students must commit to abstaining from drugs (including tobacco and alcohol), from sexual behavior, from violence, and from academic dishonesty.
The interview determines whether applicants stay at The John Dewey Academy for a trial period. During the next several weeks, prospective students interact with staff and students as they attend classes and groups. This extended evaluation period enables an applicant and the entire community to assess accurately whether the school offers an appropriate and useful setting for the prospective student’s emotional and academic growth.
After this trial period, prospective students discuss with their peers how they are doing and, when the time seems right, “call their vote.” In an all-school group, the community honestly discusses whether applicants will be admitted. The subsequent vote focuses on the prospective student’s commitment to change, as revealed by his or her behavior. Students who are deemed to need "more time" are asked to re-call the vote after a short interval of time. Any student who is willing to work and is making some forward progress will eventually be voted in.
For our Admissions Coordinator's contact details, click here.