In order to successfully co-create a safe and inclusive space for learners and community-members of all ages and backgrounds, Alder Commons practices and promotes the following Core Values:

Providing young people with the opportunity to direct their own learning is the first step in creating a culture of consent. Young people are not required to participate in activities that they don’t want to participate in.

The culture of consent extends to the governance model of the organization itself, where decisions are made while seeking consent of affected members. To respect the needs of the community, we operate in accordance with iterative community agreements, and practice conflict resolution and restorative justice practices.

Children’s rights

Children are frequently subjected to conditions that most adults would not tolerate. Violation of their basic rights has become embedded in many of our cultural norms. This should not be the case! We are working to create a space where young people are free from coercion.

Racial and Social Justice

Portland has an abominable history of overtly racist practices. We hope to continue educating ourselves and others about what has happened historically, and what practices remain, that prevent people of color from living their lives on equal terms.

The Alder Commons Board and Staff Members will regularly engage in training opportunities to make sure that we are using an appropriate equity filter for all program opportunities and organizational structures. We are hosting community-based trainings, speakers, discussions, and documentary screenings at the Alder Commons space to facilitate learning and discussion amongst the greater community regarding issues of inequality. Check out our upcoming events.

Equity and Inclusion

Every person has a right to an education and an equal opportunity for success, regardless of their socio-economic status and background. In order to work toward educational equity, we strive to provide an affordable, equitable, and culturally-responsive alternative to public schools.

Every educational opportunity at Alder Commons is provided on a sliding-scale basis; families with more resources are expected to contribute more financially than families with fewer resources. We utilize fundraising and other revenue streams, including coworking and membership fees, to subsidize access for families with greater financial need.

Diversity of Many Types

We aim to support a diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, religion, socioeconomic status, and neurocognitive functioning.

Liberation and Anti-Oppression

We believe that self-directed education is a form of liberation for young people. Liberatory movements share lots of common ground; Alder Commons is against all forms of oppression, including racism, ageism, sexism, heterosexism, transgender discrimination, ableism, colonialism, classism, religious discrimination, and other forms of oppression.