Consensus and Meetings

The school bases all decisions on the consensus decision-making model, which is a process that ensures every voice is heard and has an equal say in all matters. We chose this process over the democratic model of voting because we value the minority opinion as well as the majority.

The following guidelines are for the general consensus process and some are specifically for the school working group meetings. We recommend observing a meeting in progress to get a better sense of what this means.

Proposals are generally suggested changes or additions to school procedure. When a proposal is brought up at a meeting, it is up for discussion until a suitable proposal has been agreed upon. This means each person can either agree to pass, stand aside if they disagree or are not whole-heartedly behind the proposal but are willing to let it pass, or block if they are unwilling to let it pass. If a proposal is blocked by even just one person it can not go forward. However, it can be adapted and changed until it can pass or until any blocks are withdrawn.

Good meeting habits include: Step Up/Step Back (if you speak a lot try to let others speak more, if you speak less try to speak up), listening to what others have to say, keeping an open-mind, respecting others regardless of personal differences.

Common bad meeting habits include: dominating the conversation, interrupting others, speaking for others (“we” vs “I”), defensiveness, pessimism, back-seat facilitating, repeating what others just said.

One person at each meeting will be designated as the meeting facilitator to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. Their responsibilities include: following the agenda items, monitoring meeting participation, testing proposals, and keeping track of time.

One person takes the minutes of each meeting. That person is expected to post their notes on the school’s Yahoo email group as soon as possible. Someone at the school will later print the notes out and put them in the Meeting Minutes binder for members of the school community’s access.