The Real School

As we say in our mission statement, the school is a non-hierarchical learning environment, free of coercion and control and rooted in consensus decision making. The school is a space where kids are free to make their own choices. This freedom necessitates responsibility to yourself, others, and the environment, as well as a willingness to communicate, cooperate, self-regulate, and assess your behavior and that of others.

The school believes that disagreement and conflict are simply part of life. Punishment has no role in conflict resolution at the school. Instead, through respect, honesty, understanding and forgiveness, community members will strive to bridge gaps and heal wounds that result from conflict. We welcome different levels of involvement. Some folks may want to be here every weekday; others may come a couple times a week, some may only want to come for specific events.

We welcome the wider community’s support as well. We have embarked on an adventure. We are still seeking students, both young and old, so if you value the journey, not just the destination, consider joining us. We invite you to visit anytime during the week to see what we are up to and what day-to-day life is like. In the meantime, please follow the links to explore our website further and be sure to check out the resources.

We are excited that you want to know more about The Real School aka Dragon Valley.  Since this school is probably different from other schools you have encountered, we have put together The Real School aka Dragon Valley Handbook and Guidelines (from here on out referred to as the handbook) in the hopes that it can answer questions you might have as well as give some clarification on our philosophy and day to day procedures.


New Group @ The Real School!

Real School Littles is a group of families. We have found resonance with unschooling and attachment parenting philosophies and are building a vibrant community in which our children can grow and learn and love. Andrew Bartelt and Cara DeBusk founded the group in 2011 after being inspired by the Real School’s mission, community interest, and their daughter, Ani, born in 2009.

The group plans to meet at the Real School in the hope that cultivating this community over common physical ground will strengthen our relationships and facilitate our cooperative efforts to present our toddlers and young children with opportunities tailored to their needs. Until the building is ready for our use, we will meet weekly at neighborhood parks.

For more information, please contact Cara at