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Exploring Family School Records, 1969-1983 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Scott W. Woods

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Collection Overview

Title: Exploring Family School Records, 1969-1983Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Exploring Family School (1969-1983)

Extent: 5.0 Linear Feet


I. Board and Committee Minutes

II. Staff Notes and Yearbooks

III. Publications and Information

IV. Underground and Radical Ephemera

Date Acquired: 11/12/1984

Subjects: 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

Forms of Material: Organizational Records

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Subject/Index Terms

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

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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 Source: Exploring Family School

Related Materials: Campus Lab School Records

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Exploring Family School Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Board and Committee Minutes],
[Series 2: Staff Notes and Yearbooks],
[Series 3: Publications and Information],
[Series 4: Underground and Radical Ephemera],

Series 2: Staff Notes and YearbooksAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Staff notes, 1973 - 1974; 1974 - 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Staff notes/Core staff minutes, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Staff notes/Core staff minutes, 1977 - January 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Term Planning, 1973 - 1974; 1974 - 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Term Planning; class surveys, 1974 - 1975; 1975 - 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Term Planning; class signups, 1974 - 1975; 1975 - 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Term Planning Including class schedules; Staff schedules, 1973-74; 1974-75; 1975-76; 1976-1977Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Coordinator reports, 1975 - 78Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Strengths and weaknesses, suggestions for improvement, 1977 - 79Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Fall Planning year planning, 1973-74; 1974-75; 1975-76; 1976-77Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Staff notes, 1975-76; 1976-77; 1977-78; 1978-79Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Notebook, 1969 - 71Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Notebook, January 1972 - August 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Summer awareness session, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Exploring Family School Youth Enrichment SummerAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Class schedules, 1973 - 74Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Miscellaneous, 1973 - 74Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Evaluations, 1973 - 74Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Counseling, 1973 - 74Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Notebook, September 1973 - March 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Notebook, April 1974 - August 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Overview, 1974 - 75Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Notebook, September 1974 - March 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Year Notebook, 1974-75; April 1975 - July 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Year Notebook, 1975 - 76 First halfAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Year Notebook, 1975 - 76 Second halfAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Year Notebook, 1975 - 76Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Year Notebook, 1975 - 76Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Year Notebook, 1976 - 77Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Year Notebook, 1977 - 78; September 1977 - December 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Year Notebook, 1977 - 78; January 1978 - July 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Year Notebook, 1978-79; 1979-80Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Year Notebook, 1980 - 81Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Year Notebook, 1981-82 Fall, Spring, SummerAdd to your cart.
Folder 28: Year Notebook, 1982 - 83Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Board and Committee Minutes],
[Series 2: Staff Notes and Yearbooks],
[Series 3: Publications and Information],
[Series 4: Underground and Radical Ephemera],

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