ABOUT CLEAR SPRING SCHOOL
For more than 20 years, Clear Spring School has been accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). ISACS (link www.ISACS.org) is a rigorous accreditation body that evaluates the school from the ground up to help ensure that our programs and curriculum are of the highest caliber. While our tuition is a fraction of what a more expensive school may cost, we are accredited by the same body and undergo the same intense accreditation process. Being a member of NAIS allows us to keep up to date with best practices and educational approaches throughout the nation and gives our teachers access to excellent professional development.
A letter from our Head of School, Jessica FitzPatrick
I am honored that you are considering Clear Spring School for your child’s education. It is one of the most important decisions you can make, and we are aware of the responsibility this entails. At CSS, we are a family that camps, travels, builds and learns together. We also offer internships and independent study for the students in the upper grades, all in addition to academics that teach to the whole child.
At Clear Spring we practice experiential learning, based on the work of John Dewey and progressive education theory. This means we recognize that children come to us with innate interests, abilities, and unique personalities. It is our job to provide a rich environment that provokes, instigates and develops a love of learning and an understanding of self.
As a former teacher here at CSS and a global educator and researcher, I can tell you that what we do here is special and important. While I have traveled, taught and researched, I discovered a desire from other educators to replicate the kind of caring environment that nurtures the mind and spirit of our children. That has been central to the philosophy of Clear Spring School since its inception 45 years ago. In the current era of social media and technological saturation, many schools have not adapted to the needed changes in social-emotional development and critical thinking skills. I have returned to Clear Spring School to help grow our knowledge and share with the larger educational community how to do what we do!
Our graduates enter the world with more than knowledge. They have reflected on their role in society and enter as active participants. Some of our alumni have traveled the world, others have stayed close to home. They include research scientists, medical doctors, architects, professors, teachers, musicians, dancers, chefs, artists, computer programmers, film-makers, veterinarians, organic farmers, and many university and college scholarship recipients. We recognize that there are many paths to success, and that a happy and fulfilled life are essential ingredients.
I hope you will take some time to look through these introductory materials, and I invite you to call and arrange a personal meeting and campus tour. We look forward to meeting you and your family!
Jessica FitzPatrick, Ph.D. Candidate
Clear Spring School was founded in 1974 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by Will Fulton and Molly Fulton Seeligson. Will and Molly's dad, Dr. Bernard Fulton, had previously founded the prestigious Greenhill School in Dallas, Texas. From its very inception, the vision of Clear Spring School was, and remains, to promote a lifelong love of learning.
The very first school was located on Eureka Street. Fourteen very excited students were into their third week of school when three sheriff's deputies came knocking, and demanded to know "What's going on here?", "Where's your license?", and "Why aren't these children in school?" Needless to say, the police shut the school down and told the frightened children to go home.
Unsure of how to proceed, Will contacted the University of Arkansas' legal aid department in Fayetteville with the problem. Will was referred to a young lawyer who told him she would take care of the problem. She told him to reopen the school and that he should not have any more problems. That young lawyer was Hillary Rodham, later to become Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Clear Spring School reopened and nothing more was said about the legality of operating a private school.
From its earliest days, Clear Spring has continued to grow and develop as a model of progressive education. Clear Spring gradually expanded to serve pre-primary students and later added a middle school and then an upper school program. With the school's growth came the acquisition of 16 wooded acres and a master plan that resulted in the construction of five buildings housing classrooms and administrative offices.
Clear Spring School has been nationally accredited through the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS) since 1999. In addition to ISACS accreditation, CSS is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
-Phyllis Poe, President of the Board
Independence with Clear Spring School
Clear Spring school was founded as a progressive independent school. Our former upper school teacher Tony Stephenson put it beautifully,
"Beyond community, there are many aspects of Clear Spring School that make me think of "family." Talking with parents and senior staff, it becomes clear that everyone knows each other. I mean really knows each other on a level that goes far beyond schoolwork. This familiarity goes into family histories, likes and dislikes, and truly individual hopes, dreams, and fears. This sense of interpersonal awareness and empathy makes for more effective teaching and learning and – I think this says so much – all of us look forward to coming here each morning. "
CSS is funded by Tuition payments, Endowments, Fundraisers, Grants & Scholarships. We are supported by a combination of the above private funds — not public funding.
"Parents are able to choose CSS because our mission aligns with their schooling intentions for their Child(ren):
Together, all at clear spring promote a lifelong love of learning through hands-on and hearts-engaged educational environment. "
What makes Clear Spring enlightened?
Life is short. We hear this from people who encourage us to seize opportunities while we can. A childhood, then, is even more precious, with many more opportunities but a much shorter amount of time to make the most of them. To a child’s brain, and in a child’s world every moment is a learning moment, and the child who is cared for in an environment where people understand this is much more likely to grow into an enlightened adult.
What is an enlightened adult?
To enlighten, is to bring light to darkness, more symbolically, to bring a rational well-informed outlook (the light) to complex problems that exist because of dogma or irrational thinking (the darkness). For over 40 years, Clear Spring School has encouraged students to look at life in a positive manner and to ask those critical questions about how we can make the world a better place. Our program is based on students being in small non-graded classes, where they can receive individualized instruction and ask the questions that will help them to unlock their brains in just the right way, so that they can have their own Aha! moments.
Why is Clear Spring School progressive?
Clear Spring School is an exemplary model of progressive education that favors the stimulation of the individual learner over the traditional classroom model of rote recitation and strict discipline. Our founder Will Fulton explained the Clear Spring program this way:
The name Clear Spring is itself a dynamic name. It represents flowing water that emerges from its passage to enhance life and then continue on journey, its cycle. Clear Spring School was established to provide a means to tap into children’s natural enthusiasm for learning, to enhance their engagement with life around them and to help build a foundation for the journey beyond Clear Spring into a wide world of possibilities.
In the tradition of progressive education, CSS has continued to emphasize learning by doing rather than instruction purely from textbooks for over 40 years. This approach allows and promotes more meaningful relationships between the learners and teachers and is the basis of all our academic programs as well as our signature programs.