Kenneth Danford, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Sunderland, Massachusetts, gave a talk at the Thrive 2020 Conference held in Guernsey, UK, on October 17, 2015.
Kenneth’s talk was titled “Making School Optional for Everyone,” and featured the personal stories of three North Star alumni and one current member. These stories and the overall presentation build on our awareness that young people are natural learners, and that what they need from adults, above all else, is trust. Teens also need caring adults to provide the space and the opportunities for learning. Kenneth argues that inviting teens to learn, while being prepared to accept “No” as an answer, is the core of adult mentoring in this model. The speech provides a suggestion for how the people of Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, might use their legal autonomy to become a model for the world.