A Bit of History...
"We wanted a school, so this is what we did!"

Upattinas was founded in 1971 by a group of families who believed that learning is life and that the freedom to participate in decision making is an important dimension of school. These twenty-one families made a commitment to develop a family cooperative school that would reflect such principles. At the time, a parent, Jasper Brinton, wrote these words:

"We want a school. We want an atmosphere. We believe in our children, even if we are unsure of ourselves. We want a feeling that we can live in a natural way, we want to commit ourselves to a real involved community to flourish. Our school will be an idea, not a place; a fertile playground, not a building: an organic stage. First, we want to trust our children. We want them to be self sufficient, happy with themselves, weak and strong; sensitive to the larger world. Honest. We will give our children the chance to become, we will do everything we can to try to understand them. Live with them. Ours will be a community school."

These founding families were invited to use part of Tina French-Miller's home, and meeting "up at Tina's" gave the school its name. Over time a high school program was added and new staff was hired. The school moved to the top of Valley Forge Mountain, and developed an integrated, open program. Academic studies were integrated into all kinds of activities and the arts were part of everyday life. By 1978 the school had outgrown its space and the community decided to purchase its current site in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.

In 1983 Upattinas became active in the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools (NCACS) and continues attending and hosting National Conferences. A resource center for home education was created in 1986. Our international program became a reality shortly thereafter. In 1991 a sister school in Japan, the Nomugi Open Community School, was founded. Over the years our families have hosted many international students, and students from Upattinas have participated in this exchange program.

From its beginning the staff and families believed that Upattinas would be a place that would exist to serve the needs of our students for as long as those needs existed. We did not intend to become an institution. Now, as we have graduated more than 40 classes, we know that we are, in fact, an institution that is needed.

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