Communitas Charter High School is the vision of a diverse group of educators and parents who share a core belief in educating the whole child in developmentally appropriate ways. The creation of Communitas will offer a unique program not currently offered in the county's public schools, expanding to further locations within the next 4-6 years to serve a wider geographic spread.
In December 2009 this group began organizing and articulating its vision. A few themes emerged:
A Steering Committee was formed, including teachers, administrators, charter school board members and parents. This group has decades of combined experience in education, business, and administration (see below). The committee met regularly over the past year to define the philosophy, program, and governance structure of the new school. The group followed a consensus process of decision making and adopted this process for the future Board of Directors. Democratic and inclusive methods will permeate the culture of the school. A wide variety of sources provided support and specific guidance on aspects of the program. Several components are modeled on similar practices found at local schools, such as the Advisory structure at Summit Preparatory Charter in Redwood City, the Internship Program at MetWest in Oakland, and the Personal Creed Project at American High School in Fremont. These schools all share a track record of success, based on best practices in academics, governance, operations and financial management.
The founders chose the school name to reflect the concept of communitas, based on the work of the anthropologist Victor Turner, and described as a state of intense togetherness and belonging, outside normal social structures, in which new connections and boundaries may be explored. The founding group has already begun to form a bond of this kind as they envision a school that will pass the experience on to generations of young people on the threshold of their adult lives.