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The open School Seeks Virtual Staff Position (program director)

Company: Alternative Education Resource Organization
Location: Santa Ana
Posted on: January 18, 2023

Job Description:

The Open School is seeking to hire a staff member who will act in a program director capacity for our Virtual Program. Our school is a self-directed, democratic school, situated in Santa Ana, California with a unique online program launched in December 2020. Our virtual program and on-campus program work in conjunction with each other and are part of the same organization. However, the virtual program is growing and needs dedicated staff and development to continue to serve our families and advance the community.Though successful candidates may live in any time zone and adjust to fit the Pacific time schedule, it would be ideal for applicants to live in one of the 4 main US time zones. International candidates may apply, but may or may not be eligible depending on applicable laws and regulations. If you do not live in the US please inquire to determine eligibility.Position SummaryThe Open School staff members work directly with students and take on specific responsibilities within the democratic system of the school to maintain and grow the organization. We hire staff rather than teachers to emphasize that adults are not automatically teachers and that people learn from each other in complex ways. The Open School staff are not responsible for creating activities for students to pursue and do not have the authority to unilaterally establish or enforce rules. Staff at The Open School are available as role models, facilitators, and peers as students pursue their own interests.There are numerous ways that staff interact with students ranging from tutoring in a specific subject, playing games (computers, cards, sports), working on collaborative projects, building things, going on field trips, cooking, producing plays to playing music, etc. Staff are expected to act asdependable stewardsof the school; facilitate student access to resources; exemplify mature practice of personal fulfillment and societal engagement; and anchor school culture to values of interpersonal respect.Staff also supportall areas of school operationsincluding administration and development. Most work is done from Monday through Friday, 9am-4:30pm Pacific time, but there are times when staff will need to work outside of those hours, such as a weekend event or an evening meeting. Additionally, this position has the ability to have a flexible schedule depending on the needs of the virtual program.In addition, this position is specifically for someone who will act as a program director for ourvirtual program. This includes taking part in online activities, meeting one-on-one or in a small group with students virtually, and holding any number of meetings online. This person will also be a leader in the program and will help manage other staff who work virtually. They will continue to develop the virtual program by identifying new technologies, meeting the needs of our virtual families, and coming up with new ways to grow and market the program.Staff members are also expected to pursue relationships with parents, holding regular conversations and meetings with them to deepen the parents' understanding of and relationship with the school.Qualifications:

  • At least 5 years of experience working as a full-time employee in any field OR a bachelor's degree and 1 year of work experience as a full-time employee in any field
  • Experience working with children ages 5-18 in a professional capacity
  • Experience in a variety of online platforms and technology
  • Experience in program/business development and leadership
  • Must have read at least 3 books from the following list:
    • Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept,Mimsy Sadofsky (Editor), Daniel Greenberg (Editor) (1999)
    • The Sudbury Valley School Experience,Daniel Greenberg, et al. (1992)
    • Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School, Daniel Greenberg (1995)
    • A Clearer View: New Insights into the Sudbury Model, Daniel Greenberg (2000)
    • Kingdom of Childhood: Growing up at Sudbury Valley School,Mimsy Sadofsky (Editor), Daniel Greenberg (Editor) (1994)
    • When Kids Rule the School: The Power and Promise of Democratic Education, Jim Reitmulder (2019)
    • Like Water: The Extraordinary Approach to Education at Fairhaven School, Mark McCaig and Lisa Lyons (2008)
    • A solid grasp of the school's educational philosophy and practices, and a strong commitment to them
    • Continued striving for personal growth, open to learning and being challenged to grow
    • Passion and engagement with personal interests
    • Responsible, respectful, professional, and mature adult behavior at all times; able to hold personal boundaries and engage in a professional manner
    • Safety consciousness and commitment to understanding and complying with all school laws and policies
    • Strong communication and literacy skills, including the ability to express thoughts in writing; careful attention to grammar and punctuation is ideal
    • Ability to tailor communication with students of different age groups and developmental levels in a respectful, egalitarian, and non-patronizing manner, and interact effectively with people of all ages and backgrounds
    • Strong self-management skills, including high levels of initiative, excellent time management, and efficiency, and the ability to effectively balance day-to-day operational responsibilities with availability to students; see what needs to be done, and do it
    • Reliability and punctuality
    • Ability to work well in a group decision-making organization
    • Commitment to creating a space for a variety of voices and backgrounds, without advocating for an agenda or bringing in personal, political, or religious views when working with students
    • Ability to maintain the confidentiality of student and family data, as well as to keep a constant eye out for the protection of student privacy in less formal ways
    • Ability to work with a neuro-diverse population
    • Where applicants have a background in education they will be required to demonstrate why they have chosen to move away from mainstream practiceBeneficial Experience:
      • Experience in a democratic education environment would be highly beneficial whether as a student, staff member, or in another capacity
      • Experience of Self-Directed Home Education or Unschooling could also be beneficial as a demonstration of an understanding and commitment to student-directed learningCommitments:All candidates should share these commitments:
        • Personal responsibility and sustainability of the school
        • Diversity of student and staff population
        • Economic access for all who feel the school is right for them
        • A deep belief in democratic, "free" or "Sudbury-model" education. Staff at The Open School uphold this model of education, and are not "testing the waters" or "seeing if it works"
        • Ongoing personal and professional growth
        • Continuous personal education on democratic education, Sudbury schools, youth rights, etc.Compensation:Upon hiring, staff members are considered "fellows" for a period of at least 3 months and no more than 1 year. During the fellowship period, they are compensated at $18/hour while they complete their training to become a full staff member. At the end of the fellowship period, the successful candidate will receive a vote of confidence from the School Meeting and earn the title of Staff Member. A full-time staff member is an exempt employee and at this time earns an annual starting salary of $36,331, paid bi-weekly throughout the year.The Open School is committed to increasing staff wages each year to meet our goal of paying $45,000/year with benefits by 2026.Schedule:The Open School follows a standard academic calendar and staff work 35-40 hours per week during the school year. Due to the virtual nature of this position, there is some flexibility with the daily schedule provided that all responsibilities are being completed and the virtual staff member is attending required meetings and is available to other staff and students during the school day.Staff have fewer responsibilities during the summer and therefore have a fair amount of time off during those months. There are periodic meetings and this position will require some summer work to prepare for the following year as well as further develop the program. Additionally, staff are considered on break during the school breaks (i.e. winter break, spring break, etc). Note for international applicants: the holiday breaks are tied to national US holidays.Benefits include:
          • Paid time during school holidays and breaks
          • Paid time off ranging from 70-105 hours/year depending on the number of years employed. Unused PTO may be paid out at the anniversary of the date of employment at the current hourly rate
          • Sick pay of 15 hours/year
          • "Name your own tuition" for staff children enrolled in The Open School (range of 0 - 50% of high end of tuition)Application process:Interested applicants should submit a resume (including names & contact information of previous managers), cover letter, introductory video, and three references .The cover letter should include information about your background knowledge, research, and experience in self-directed education environments. Include how long you have been interested in this type of education and why you are committed to it. Also, please share your weekly availability and what time commitment you are willing to make.Along with this, please send a 3-minute video that explains who you are and why you would be a good staff member.Upon receiving an application, the process is as follows:
            • The applicant will have a Zoom interview with the HR Committee chair.
            • If recommended by the chair, applicants will be invited to participate in an interview with our hiring committee of students and staff.
            • If recommended by the committee, the School Meeting will vote on inviting the applicant to spend a trial period in the virtual program. This will consist of approximately 4-5 activities per day for 2 weeks and joining the school's Discord server. Additionally, the candidate will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one to each staff member and learn more about their job responsibilities.
            • If approved by the School Meeting, the applicant will be required to complete their trial period after passing a background check with the Department of Justice
            • After the trial period, there will be an additional interview with the HR Committee
            • If recommended by the committee, the School Meeting will vote on hiring the applicant as a fellow
            • Upon completion of the fellowship period, during which the fellow completes training as deemed appropriate by the HR Committee, the School Meeting will vote on whether or not to retain the fellow as a staff member.

Keywords: Alternative Education Resource Organization, Santa Ana , The open School Seeks Virtual Staff Position (program director), Executive , Santa Ana, California

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