Arthur Morgan School

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Arthur Morgan School
Celo, North Carolina
Type Private, Co-ed
Established 1962
Staff 15
Enrollment 27
Mascot Moo Cow
AMS organic garden with a view of the Black Mountains

Arthur Morgan School (AMS) is a small, coed boarding and day school for 27 students in grades 7, 8 and 9. AMS is located on 100 acres of farm and wilderness in the Celo Community, in the mountains of Western North Carolina about an hour's drive north of Asheville, North Carolina, and 20 minutes southeast of Burnsville, North Carolina.

The AMS program focuses on the holistic education of adolescents. In addition to the academic program, the school has an outdoor program including 3-, 6- and 8-day hikes, which often explore the nearby Black Mountains. Students participate in the day-to-day running of the school and assist with campus maintenance, the organic farm and garden, cooking and chores. Service learning opportunities are a part of the program and the calendar includes an 18-day field trip during which the students and staff offer service work in other communities. Students also have regular opportunities at AMS to participate in consensus decision-making, to develop nonviolent conflict resolution skills and to experience a rural lifestyle that emphasizes respect, responsibility and community.

Philosophy and history[edit]

Elizabeth and Ernest Morgan founded the Arthur Morgan School in 1962 to provide a learning environment tailored for children in their early adolescence. The school was named after Arthur Ernest Morgan, Ernest Morgan’s father. Arthur Morgan was a social philosopher, civil engineer, educator, and public servant.[1]

The educators who influenced Elizabeth Morgan in the formation of her own philosophy of education were Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, N. F. S. Grundtvig, Mahatma Gandhi, Maria Montessori, John Dewey and Arthur Ernest Morgan. The philosophy and methods of these educators emphasize the development of the whole person through a combination of study, work, and social interaction in a community. These were all leaders in progressive education who thought practical education was important in order for men and women to be enlightened. In addition, they stress inner motivation and the responsibility of the individual as a part of the whole. Elizabeth Morgan added her own Quaker values of simple living, consensus decision-making, and non-violent problem-solving to the mix.[2]

Academic program[edit]

AMS teachers encourage a climate of intellectual curiosity inside and out of the classroom. The farm and wilderness setting of the school provides a learning laboratory for students and staff to explore standard and progressive curriculum.

With low teacher/student ratios of about 1:7, teachers are able to design classes and projects that meet a variety of learning styles. Mixed-level classrooms allow 7th-, 8th- and 9th-grade students to develop unique partnerships and provide them with opportunities for role modeling behavior.

Academic classes are interspersed with work projects to maintain campus, outdoor trips, and community social life. Each year, students and staff put on a Thanksgiving celebration in which the students are given an opportunity to kill and dress turkeys for the meal.[3] The school also runs a farm and garden program in the summertime and invites the general public to events that highlight farming education.[4]

Consensus decision-making[edit]

The Arthur Morgan School is a staff-run school, meaning that there is no hierarchy and that all of the decisions are made on consensus. A weekly All School Meeting operates on a consensus model and serves as a forum for student voices to be heard. Students set the agenda, clerk the meetings, speak for themselves, are asked to be responsible for their own actions, and are encouraged to be honest with themselves and the community about the issues at hand.[5]


  1. ^ "History". Arthur Morgan School. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Philosophy". Arthur Morgan School. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Pick your own Poultry". Appalshop. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Pick your chicken". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Consensus Decision Making". Arthur Morgan School. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°49′16″N 82°11′06″W / 35.821°N 82.185°W / 35.821; -82.185