Puget Sound Community School

contact us




staff profile

Andy Smallman
PSCS Founder, School Director

Andy's time studying human development at The Evergreen State College was exhilarating. He felt in partnership with the faculty, who supported him as he pursued ideas that he was passionate about—the exact opposite of his high school experience. At the time, he wondered, “Why couldn’t I do this when I was 13?” In 1994, he started Puget Sound Community School. Since then, students have learned in a safe, loving, nurturing environment staffed by teachers who help them pursue their passions. . . .

Read more >

Our History

“PSCS gives its students a radical dose of autonomy, turning the ‘one size fits all’ approach of conventional schools on its head.” – Dan Pink (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us).

First Year of PSCSWith a group of dedicated parents and their children, Andy and Melinda founded PSCS in 1994 on the belief that young people thrive when they’re supported in pursuing their strengths and following their intrinsic motivation to learn. Andy studied human development at The Evergreen State College and Pacific Oaks College and set out to build a new kind of school based on the most compelling research in the social sciences. For the school’s first seven years, PSCS was a “nomadic” school that was set up as a home-schooling cooperative. Students and staff would meet in different locales in and around Seattle each day of the week, using public places and borrowed spaces to get our students out into the world, experiencing life instead of remaining stuck behind a desk all day.

In 2001, PSCS rented its first site to better provide ongoing resources for our students, and in 2003 PSCS became a state-approved private school. To accommodate the need for more space, the school moved into its current International District location in the fall of 2008. Over the summer of 2016, PSCS expanded its space to provide our students even more opportunities. Throughout its existence, PSCS has been a leader of contemporary education, always evolving while honoring its core principles.

PSCS was founded upon the belief that people are intrinsically compelled by their own curiosity and desires to learn, and when provided a positive and supportive environment, along with a wide variety of opportunities offered by interesting and engaging people, will enthusiastically pursue meaningful and challenging tasks. Where mainstream educational models promote one-size-fits-all memorization and conformity, the approach used at PSCS fosters creativity, flexibility, and a genuine diversity that stems from the uniqueness of all human beings. In our environment, meaningful learning occurs naturally and inevitably, though the pace, form, and content of learning will vary from person to person. PSCS maintains a flexible structure, free to adhere to valid traditional forms and also free to create new ones.

PEarly PSCS LogoSCS gained recognition in 2009 with the publication of Daniel H. Pink’s best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink, a former White House speechwriter in the Clinton administration, wrote, “PSCS gives its students a radical dose of autonomy, turning the ‘one size fits all’ approach of conventional schools on its head.”