Exploring Family School Records, 1969-1983
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Brief Description:

The Exploring Family School collection documents the founding, curriculum, and thirteen year operation of Exploring Family School (EFS). It consists of board minutes, executive files, newsletters, budget reports, staff notes, and curricula pertaining to the operation of the school. The collection also includes correspondence with other free schools and some countercultural ephemera. The collection is organized into four series: Board and Committee Minutes, Staff Notes and Yearbooks, Publications and Information, and Underground Radical Ephemera.

The Board and Committee Minutes series (1969-1979) documents the school's curriculum and budget.  This includes correspondence from both students and parents concerning the maintenance, faculty, and personnel in the institution. It includes an incomplete series of EFS newsletters, ranging from volume one to five, and a file titled "one of a kind archive materials," which provides a detailed description of school curriculum and the Summer Awareness Program. The majority of material ranges from the mid to late 1970's. It is arranged alphabetically.

The Staff Notes and Yearbooks series (1973-1983) includes handwritten notes by faculty and EFS yearbooks from the late 70's to early 80's. This series includes information about term planning, class schedules, strength and weakness reports, and budgetary reports. The yearbooks contain student photos and a statement of purpose from the school administrators. Highlights of the series show creative student work, poems, cartoons, and political commentary. Also included are fliers providing insight into the political implications of EFS. This series is arranged chronologically.

The majority of the Publications and Information series (1970-1974) includes newsletters and articles from other alternative schools. Most of these publications provide information about the current condition of the public school system, and alternative approaches to education. Highlights include articles about developing an alternative curriculum, correspondence from the Free University Movement, and alternative education ephemera.

The fourth and final series, Underground and Radical Ephemera (1974-1977), includes publications with similar ideologies to those of EFS. This includes publications form San Diego State University, The San Francisco Express, and socialist, communist, and antiwar organizations. Noteworthy documents include socialist fliers and literature, newsletters providing EFS's position on the Vietnam War, implications about ending the war, and environmentalist literature.

Held at:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA 92182 8050
Phone: 619-594-6791
Email: askscua [at] mail.sdsu.edu
Created by: Exploring Family School (1969-1983)
Volume: 5.0 Linear Feet
Acquired: 11/12/1984.
Arrangement:

I. Board and Committee Minutes

II. Staff Notes and Yearbooks

III. Publications and Information

IV. Underground and Radical Ephemera

Biographical Note for Exploring Family School (1969-1983) :

Founded by parents dissatisfied with the public school system, the Exploring Family School (EFS) was San Diego's first institution for alternative education. EFS ran from 1969-1983 and provided a K-12 education. The school was founded under the assumption that structure is detrimental to the learning experience. Students were not graded, and were not exposed to competition within the classroom. Instead, teachers developed a more interactive approach with both parents and students, flexible enough to foster the child's emotional, academic and social needs.

Courses were structured around each student's individual interests, ranging from creative writing, biology, statistics, poetry, painting, politics, architectural design, music, photography, and Chicano studies. The diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds of the students allowed for a flexible curriculum centered around personal experience. 

Upon Exploring Family School's founding, there were thirty students ranging from age five to sixteen. The faculty consisted of three teachers, an administrative coordinator, a curriculum coordinator, and regular educational volunteers. As the staff grew, EFS adopted a full time coordinator, basic skills teacher, and program advisor. The school was financially supported by tuition ($65/month), donations, and scholarship assistance. Students were not turned away if they were unable to pay the tuition. Instead, they would develop a payment plan that would fit his or her family's financial situation.

While EFC was considered to be a "free" school, there was a great amount of careful consideration about the student population. The school wanted a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population; one third of the students were the children of professors and lawyers, one third were children of people on welfare, and one third were the children of blue collar workers.

Exploring Family School ceased operation in 1983.

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Exploring Family School (San Diego, Calif.)--Archives
Exploring Family School (San Diego, Calif.)--History--Sources
Free schools--California--San Diego--History--20th century--Sources
San Diego (Calif.)--Intellectual life--Sources
San Diego (Calif.)--Social life and customs--Sources
Genres/Forms of Material
Organizational Records
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Acquisition Notes: Exploring Family School
Related Materials: Campus Lab School Records
PreferredCitation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Exploring Family School Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.