Thomas E. Mathews Community School

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The Thomas E. Mathews Community School is a Waldorf-inspired public school serving at-risk students in grades 7 through 12 with the goal of their returning to district public schools. T.E. Mathews Community School is located in Marysville, California and is overseen by the Yuba County Office of Education. The school's mission is "To provide an educational program which reinforces the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of all students, as well as nurturing love of learning that produces positive and productive members of society."[1]


The T. E. Mathews Community School uses group and individual assignments, storytelling, oral recitation, and thematic lessons infused with the arts to help mitigate existing learning problems and help students to work towards earning the credits they need for high school graduation.[2][3] Special education services are delivered by the classroom teacher who works in conjunction with a resource teacher. Several festivals and assemblies featuring student work are held throughout the year and parents are encouraged to visit the school often. Total enrollment in the 2009-2010 school year was 30 students, 96.7% of whom were classified by the state as being "socioeconomically disadvantaged."[1]

Student progress[edit]

The T. E. Mathews School met the federal criteria for Adequate Yearly Progress for the 2009-2010 school year.[1] Preliminary research conducted at Stanford University in 1999 suggested that length of enrollment at T. E. Mathews Community School predicted academic achievement in mathematics and language arts.[4] The author of the study, educational psychologist Ryan Babineaux, felt the students' overall "excellent" academic progress, improved social skills and positive attitude toward school could be attributed to the school's nurturing atmosphere and the dedication of its teachers.[5]

The school's approach to working with at-risk students has received scholarly attention[6][7] and teacher and student experiences at the T.E. Mathews School are also described in the book The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology by Todd Oppenheimer.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Executive Summary School Accountability Report Card". Executive Summary School Accountability Report Card, 2010-2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Oppenheimer, Todd (September 1999). "Schooling the Imagination". Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Monks, Arline (1998). "Waldorf Approach Offers Hope in Schools for Juvenile Offenders". Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Monks, Arline (2001). The Journal of Court, Community, and Alternative Schools (Spring). "Although a full statistical analysis was not performed because of shortcomings in the data, available figures suggest that the longer a student is enrolled in T.E. Mathews the greater the academic development: 62% of the students attending Mathews for at least 3/4 of the year advanced two or more grade levels in math and reading, while 18% of the students enrolled for 1/4 or 1/2 of the year showed the same improvement." 
  5. ^ Monks, Arline (2001). The Journal of Court, Community, and Alternative Schools (Spring). 
  6. ^ Reece, Gwendolyn (2007). Waldorf-inspired Education and At-risk Students: A Qualitative Case Study of the TE Mathews Community School. Dissertation. American University: ProQuest. 
  7. ^ Siu, Lilly (2012). "Finding My Good Side": A Case Study of Student Engagement in a Waldorf-Inspired Community School. Dissertation. Harvard Graduate School of Education. 
  8. ^ Oppenheimer, Todd (2003). The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology. Random House. ISBN 978-1400060443.