Stonesoup School

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StoneSoup School
Crescent City, Florida
Type Private, Alternative
Motto Qua Liberi Exsisto
Established 1971
Founder Sue Buie, David Gluckman, Linton Hutchinson, Rainbow Williams
Chaplain Frank Beeman
Faculty 15
Grades PreK-12
Number of students 30
Color(s) Aqua and White
Sports Fencing, Backgammon
Mascot Conan
Tuition Sliding Scale
Other Boarding school

StoneSoup School is a progressive, alternative private school located in Crescent City, Florida in the United States. It is a member of the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools.[1]


StoneSoup School[2] is a small alternative school based on Summerhill School, numbering around 30 students in the Pre-K through 12 grade. It is located on 66 acres (270,000 m2) in Crescent City Florida.[3] It was established to offer a supportive boarding school environment where students could explore their own interests, both academic and non-academic, at their own pace and level.

Learning to live in a community with others is an essential part of life at Stonesoup School.
Regular group meetings provide the opportunity for students to come together as a group to discuss issues and problem-solve for successful resolutions. This provides a framework for the students to practice nonviolent ways of conflict resolution, become skilled at handling and presenting their feelings and ideas, and develop listening and empathy skills.


StoneSoup School first called the 'Alternative School' was founded in 1971, which grew out of the Saturday School project started by Sue Buie, Annette Kyoma, and Rainbow Williams, who were interested in giving their children a more indepth exposure to the arts and social awareness than they were receiving in public school. Their children, Catherine, Lisa, Jennifer, Mary, Ben and Julie all described as "itchy learners" found a freedom of expression hard pressed to be seen sitting in a 50's style classroom in the Florida school system. The school met at 1304 Richmond Road in Winter Park, Florida and soon moved to Dee Vicker's old Victorian house during the summer of 1969. As the magic continued, more parents were attracted to this unique method of learning and enrollment in the school mushroomed. The school grew quickly and tried using Seminole county school facilities but found the community at large was suited better than four walls of a classroom. David Gluckman,[4] an environmental lawyer enrolled his two children Michael and Kenny. Linton Hutchinson,[5] an intern majoring in Early Childhood Education, came on board when the school moved to a more permanent two-story house with a barn and garage on State Road 436 surrounded by orange groves. Allison Cookie Costello taught the children photography, Chaz Williams,[6] an architect turned artist, provided sculpture classes. Sue Buie taught crafts and the school was filled with music, endless plays and dance reminiscent of the Waldorf Schools based on the works of Rudolf Steiner.[7] Mimi Muro,[8] Florida State Surfing Champion, rounded out the staff bring her skills and warmth to the mix.

The school is based on Summerhill, a democratic school[9] founded by A.S. Neill in 1921 in England. As education in America headed towards more testing to exams and accountability, Stonesoup marched the other way. The Buies, Gluckmans, and Williams all disenchanted with the factory methodology of mainstream schooling were insistent that there was a better way to raise healthy, inquisitive children. Linton Hutchinson provided an integration of current learning theory, drawing upon Carl Rogers, Jean Houston, John Lilly, humanistic psychology, information from Jane Roberts and alternative education models. Archie Patterson Buie Jr.,[10] who was trying to change the educational system from within, (elected Seminole County School Board Member), became disenchanted with the slowness of the process and joined StoneSoup bringing transformational practices being explored at Esalen Institute. Psychodrama, autogenics, and hypnosis became staples of the StoneSoup process.

The school continued to grow as it moved to a full-time live-in school in Crescent City, Florida. Darice Kerr-Caperton[11] an accomplished musician and music teacher came from the public school system of Putman County and brought her wealth of experience and warmth to the mix of Stonesoup.

To add "real world experience" to Stonesoup, the school was fortunate to add Esther Beeman and her husband Frank to the staff. Esther was a self-made woman giving back to the students of the school sharing her legacy of self-worth, self-determination and unconditional love. Being high up in the Mary Kay organization, she left Atlanta to come to the school to share her finance and sales skills that she acquired over the years with the students of Stonesoup. Her influence directed and changed the lives of countless students that had given up on themselves and life. Esther was a blessing that taught through example and touched everyone she meet with her "You can do it" attitude and her "no nonsense, no excuses" approach to living life.

Grades and classes[edit]

The school was designed without grades or levels. Classes were based on student and staff interests. Attendance was determined by student choice with a narrative report generated at the end of the class collectively by students and staff.

Evaluation of students[edit]

StoneSoup does not administer standardized tests or grades. Instead, staff and students generate a narrative evaluation at the end of the class.[12] Equivalent "letter grades" in subject areas provided to facilitate the student's transition to universities and colleges.


External links[edit]