Making a school from scratch is never easy, so you’ll learn about where you should even start.
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Topic: Why a School Is Like a Puzzle


Email 2 (of 8)

Making a school from scratch is never easy, so you’ll learn about where you should even start

Throughout the school making process, there’s going to be a lot of things that you never quite thought about before you started. You need to consider location, architecture, staff, what you bring in, and what you don’t bring in. This email is meant to help you weed out a lot of the mental clutter and give you a few starting points for you to think about.

You’ll be working your way to creating a filmed presentation you can use in the future for pitching your school, and each lesson will help you fill in different aspects of it. As you make your way through the readings and activities for this email, try and keep yourself from wanting to jump too far ahead. It can be exciting to try and start your new school, but remember that all good things take time, and right now you’re only at the beginning.

Featured Materials

Below is a preview of some of the additional readings, videos, comics, and other resources to enhance your learning regarding this email’s topic. You can review these materials in full by going to the course landing page.

A lecture by Larry Rosenstock (animated by Andrew Gloag) where he delivers the quintessential message of what the New School Creation Course is all about.


The Final Project
This video expands on the idea of narrative and a better outline for the rest of the course is given.



Student Model - Feroze's Full Presentation
Feroze Munshi is one of Larry’s students from when he taught an in person version of this course at UC Berkeley. We have included his final presentation from that course to serve as a model for what you will be creating during this class. Be sure to take notes on the different things that you notice about what he says and how he presents!


The Good High School
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is an American sociologist who examines various aspects of schools and school life. In this reading, Lawrence-Lightfoot discusses what elements make up a good high school. She uses the example of painting a portrait, which she experienced firsthand, as a way to observe and evaluate how schools teach their students and how the teaching process can be improved upon.

Weekly Activity

Activity: Think Back to School


Think back to your schooling experience. Choose the most vivid time, or memory, of the school. Describe, with as much detail and specificity, the demographic composition of the student body during your time there, and how those demographics affected your educational experience. Write 300-500 words on the demography of your own k-12 school experiences.

Feedback (Optional)

If possible, find some peers and use this write-up to prompt a discussion on how your experiences will affect your own bias around the target population your school is seeking to serve. 

Activity Models

If you’d like the work you complete for this assignment to be featured as a student model in the future, feel free to contact us! Send an email to and your work could be used for this course.

School Talk 1:
Building The Narrative Of Your School

During the original course run, Larry and Patrick hosted live weekly chats with thought leaders to address that unit's theme. In this email’s talk, thought leaders discuss the role narrative takes in the proposal for a new school.

  Video Version
This is a video of the original talk as it occurred. It is a screen capture of a Google Hangouts conversation
  Podcast Version
This week's talk has also been converted into podcast form for you to listen to.

Next Steps

You’re at the end of this section of the course! Check your inbox for the next email.
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