Exploring Family School Records
Scope and Contents
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.
- Exploring Family School (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.
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.
5.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
I. Board and Committee Minutes
II. Staff Notes and Yearbooks
III. Publications and Information
IV. Underground and Radical Ephemera
Source of Acquisition
Exploring Family School
- Exploring Family School (San Diego, Calif.)--Archives
- Exploring Family School (San Diego, Calif.)--History--Sources
- Free schools--California--San Diego--History--20th century--Sources
- Organizational Records
- San Diego (Calif.)--Intellectual life--Sources
- San Diego (Calif.)--Social life and customs--Sources
- Exploring Family School Records
- Scott W. Woods
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note