Slate School, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a joyful community of inspired learners and creative, curious thinkers. A K-6 elementary school, Slate School is one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the country, and we are proud of our 25-acre nature-based campus in North Haven, Connecticut. The 2018-2019 academic year includes 16 students in Kindergarten and Grade 1. The 2019-2020 academic year will include approximately 30 students in Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. Slate School will ultimately reach Grade 6 in 2023, with a total enrollment of approximately 70 students.
The founding of Slate School, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was led by Jennifer Staple Clark and Alexander Clark. Jennifer was a teacher and comes from a family of teachers. Jennifer founded and leads Unite For Sight, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that she started 18 years ago as a college student at Yale. Unite For Sight has provided eye care to more than 2.5 million patients in developing countries, including more than 100,000 sight-restoring surgeries for patients who were previously blind. Alexander founded and leads the technology organization, Technolutions, that works with more than 850 colleges and universities worldwide.
Alexander has received recognition as an entrepreneur, including a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree by Quinnipiac University. Jennifer is the recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, presented by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to "an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have elevated the debate or changed the landscape with respect to a public issue or issues." She has received a variety of other honors, including Middlebury College's Center for Social Entrepreneurship Vision Award "to recognize leadership and vision in the world of social entrepreneurship."
Their experiences as parents, and their conversations with other families and teachers, inspired them to create a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school in their community that is structured around nature- and curiosity-based learning.
Julie Mountcastle, Head Teacher and Director of Creative Arts at Slate School, is an experienced elementary educator who joined the team early during its founding. She developed and leads the school’s curiosity-driven curriculum that is both developmentally appropriate and academically rigorous. She designed a school which trusts each child in their learning, and which responds to each child’s wonderings and creativity. She leads Slate School’s ability to dive deep into recognizing and maximizing opportunities for discovery toward realizing a student's potential, and she creates a framework that allows for authentic assessment in all aspects of the classroom.
Together, these leaders of Slate School built a strong team of educators and professionals who helped to guide its founding and opening. Slate School is one of the only elementary schools in the United States to focus on child-centered, curiosity-based learning. Slate School is working to change the landscape of education throughout the country by building a learning community, sharing its model and daily classroom activities, and by offering workshops and other events for educators.