Q: What types of students does the school accept?
A: Three Rivers Village School seeks a school community whose diversity is reflective of the larger world. Enrollment occurs on an on-going basis; the school admits students ages 5-19 of any race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and with or without special needs or giftedness.
Q: What are the school’s admissions criteria?
A: The admissions coordinator works with each family to determine the quality of the fit between the school and the student. Students are admitted if the school and the family believe that the student can thrive in the TRVS’s program, and the student chooses to join the school community.
Q: Where is the school?
A: The school is located in the former St. Stephen’s School building in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Q: Can I afford the school?
A: The school is deeply committed to being accessible to families of all income levels through our financial aid program. See the tuition and financial aid page for details.
Q: Is busing available?
A: Yes. Pennsylvania state law requires that if a district provides bus transportation for its students to attend the public schools, it must also provide transportation to students who attend non-public schools, as long as the school is located less than 10 miles by road beyond the school district boundary.
Q: What are the attendance requirements?
A: The school expects students to be in attendance 5 days a week. The school is open from 8:30-4, and students must meet state attendance requirements. Arrangements may be made with School Meeting on an individual basis for students to have activities done outside of school count towards school attendance hours.
Q: Who are the staff ?
A: See our bios page for some info about this.
Q: How will children learn math?
A: Many people are concerned about how their children will learn arithmetic, or the “times tables.” Students at TRVS have many occasions to need math as they play and work at cooking, fundraising, arranging field trips, or running school clubs or little businesses. If they need it, they will eagerly learn it. An interesting article by Peter Gray cites research showing that practical math is learned best when it is NOT part of a required curriculum.
The more esoteric topics that are usually included in the high school math curriculum such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus have many fewer day-to-day applications, and so many fewer students will learn them. As an aside, many students at conventional schools don’t learn these topics either, or don’t remember them once they have passed their test. Students who are interested in certain science or engineering projects may have a reason to learn about sines, cosines, and integrals. When the time comes to apply to college, many students will learn enough algebra to do well on the SAT. An additional article by Peter Gray contains numerous stories of how children learn math without a required math curriculum.
Math is not a terribly difficult skill—no more difficult than playing the piano, making a painting, or memorizing hundreds of Pokemon characters. The school does not give any student a reason to fear math, and so students will master it when they need to.
Q: What is a typical day like for a student at the school?
A: Because students have such different interests and are free to decide how to spend their time, there is no single “typical day”. Some students might even do something different every single day. The school is filled with many kinds of activity.
A staff member at the Tallgrass Sudbury School near Chicago, IL has written a nice article that describes what it feels like to be at her school:
Q: How will students from the school get into college?
A: Students graduating from Three Rivers Village School will not have grades or a transcript; however there are many ways to demonstrate that they are worthy of being accepted to the college of their choice. They can take the SAT, construct a portfolio, and write a convincing personal essay. Many colleges are eager to enroll self-motivated learners who know why they want to go to college. Students from schools like this one tend to be very impressive in an interview situation because they have had so much practice talking with people of all ages.
Most graduates of Sudbury schools go on to college, and have pursued higher education at a variety of institutions including: state universities, liberal arts colleges, art schools, cooking schools, Ivy League schools, and community colleges.