Building connections by sharing space

Here is a really interesting description of how a school in Israel created strong connections with the surrounding community by sharing space with other community organizations (from Yaacov Hecht’s Democratic Education):

The unique processes that developed there included very strong ties between the school and its surrounding community, as it became a sort of regional community center.  Thus, for example, the third floor of the school, which had been previously empty, was rented out to local artists in return for their commitment to work with the students.  The school building, which was grey and prison-like, was covered with the artwork of students and local artists.  The large hall on the ground floor, which was not in use, was rented out to a local circus group, in return for which they undertook to instruct students.  A room at the school was put at the disposal of the Florentine neighborhood newspaper, and the students took part in its publishing.  A TV company set up a local broadcasting studio in the building, in which the students were partners.  And in the gallery at the school, group exhibits were presented by students and adult artists – and gained widespread press coverage.  In fact, the school became a neighborhood center, and the children studying there could choose fascinating fields of interest connected to their natural surroundings.

Obviously, these particular connections were unique to that community, but imagine the opportunities that similar arrangements in our district could create for our students and community!

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