Don’t let these skewed media images have you out here thinking Self-Directed Education is only for white people. It isn’t; it’s for any and everybody who wants it, and Chantrisse Parks, a black, self-directed young person, is one example of the varying faces of self-directed studies. Chantrisse is a brilliant example of that young, gifted, and Black energy that has been disrupting bullshit and actively working toward liberation since forever! After the Atlanta native landed a job in a traditional daycare, she was surprised and disappointed to find a rigid, standards-focused setting with a lack of free play and exploration for young children. The things she was learning in her college courses about how children learn best weren’t being practiced in this mainstream setting. She began reflecting on her experiences in the traditional education system as a whole and thinking about the many ways students are stifled, disrespected, and held back from reaching their full potential. She started researching alternative education and stumbled across a video from a Sudbury Valley student. The model resonated deeply for her, and she was thrilled to find a Sudbury school in Atlanta. She toured SSA and fell in love. She quickly began volunteering her time and soon after became a staff member. One of Chantrisse’s favorite things about SSA is the community. She loves the fact that we all embrace our differences and still come together as a family. She also gets great joy from watching the children learn how to navigate their feelings, solve their own problems, and become so independent at such young ages.
Chantrisse is passionate and energetic and she puts her whole heart into everything she does. She integrates new skills quickly and always wants to learn more. She is a true self-starter and a wonderful role model for our students of going after whatever sparks your interest. In her spare time, Chantrisse can be found reading, blogging, meditating, listening to podcasts, drawing, and spending time with her family. #POCinSDE