While my previous school very much framed life around strict rules, one of the most charming aspects of the Dragon is how much you are allowed to do. Want to start a team or club? Do it. The staff will support you, but you will soon learn that good ideas need self-discipline to succeed. Want to explore the room-like passage behind the knee-broken plaster? No, that is a safety issue. I know from experience, that doing so will land you in the principals office. Discipline is an interesting issue at the Dragon. The school is not one well-tailored for those who lack it, however, when situations may be learned from -- poor decision-making and youthful japes -- they are handled with understanding.
The administration and leadership at Dragon was amazing. Not only where teachers nice and welcoming but we always had an open and honest dialogue with teachers about what they needed from us and what we needed from them.
When I attended the Dragon Academy I felt I was situated in a positive and caring environment. I felt comfortable to go to the faculty with any problems I was having, because I know that we were on the same team. Together, we were able to accomplish more than I could alone. Their was great comradery amongst the students, and while we may have disagreeing opinions in classes, we were able to learn to deal with these differences and keep them seperate from our feelings. It was great training for the world beyond school.
The leadership was effective, responsive and fair. In my experience this was a result of the individual staff member's commitment to the learning environment, the school's inclusive and fair philosophy, and the student to staff ratio that is manageable and thus avoids bureaucratic arbitrariness, delays and unfairness. All the teachers and the principal were approachable and capable of resolving problems. What stood out in my mind was how effective the leadership (and especially the principal) was at making sure students felt they were treated fairly while also preventing toxic dynamics in the students and/or dealing with problematic behaviors that negatively effect other students. To say that it was miles better than the public system in this regard would be an understatement.
Every teacher was almost always ready for a student to walk into their office in need of help. I never felt disrespected or discouraged from approaching any of the teachers or the staff body. We were all close to the staff body and had a personal relationship with each teacher. I can't speak for every student, and I was never directly involved in any discipline issues, so I can only speak second hand. The staff body addressed issues as quickly as possible. They held weekly staff meetings to discuss every issue, as well as every class, grade, and student. Their meetings went as long as they had to. Parents and students were always kept in the loop, and parents were just as welcome to approach teachers as the students.
During my time at Dragon, the conduct expected of students was made clear from day one. However, Dragon did not handle problems within the school through typical approaches such as detentions (except in very rare cases) but rather through calm discussion with the students involved. In my experience, due to the close relationship between the students and teachers, there was a general attitude of not wanting to disappoint them or the principal, Dr. Fox. This fostered a feeling of respect, and kept typical high school drama, especially in the higher grades, to a minimum. Dragon's administration is always very open to talking to parents and handling any academic issues quickly, with an emphasis on finding ways to learn that work for the student.