We are using cookies to give a better service experience. By using our services you agree to use cookies. Read more

All articles


Creating culture that takes care of Life through education, media, and a strong network.

Springhouse envisions a world where all life thrives. Springhouse practices and shares the Sourced Design principles to create a culture that takes care of Life through education, media, and a strong network. We have a high school, a cultural design program for adults, and operate Sourced Press where we publish materials that spread the message that life is a gift and we must take care of it.


HundrED has not validated this innovation.

All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students upper
May 2023
Education must change if we are to live in a thriving world. If a person practices the Sourced Design principles in a place over time, they will create a culture that thrives. With a regular place to practice and a strong network of support, as teens and adults leave Springhouse to practice in the world, they build a culture that takes care of Life, one day at a time

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Our dominant culture is unsustainable. Education and schools, if reimagined, can leads us in a more vital direction. Springhouse is radically reimagining education through Sourced Design to create culture that takes care of Life in a person, community, and place. Springhouse has an educational model that we share globally for others to create more examples of vital culture through education.

How does your innovation work in practice?

To live in a world where all life thrives, we need to change. Sourced Design is for those who have a desire to thrive and a willingness to change. We believe that taking care of life, one person at a time, can eventually bring the larger culture we live in back to health. The design includes five main design principles: taking care of vulnerability, cultivating personhood, building beloved community, learning from the Earth, and loving and serving others.

Springhouse is located on an 11-acres and has an accredited high school for 13-18 year olds; an 8-month cultural design program for adults; and a printing press to distribute literature that supports our model. We share the design through the Sourced Design Lab with a growing global network of nearly 150 people in over ten countries and have a goal of 5 long-term design partners by 2028. We created Sourced Design and the educational model over ten years and now support other educators with it to create a more vital culture.

How has it been spreading?

Springhouse was recently accepted into the Scaling for Impact program at Harvard University where we will be receiving the support we need to strategically scale Sourced Design. Through this program we plan to have 5-10 Sourced Design schools and community initiatives by 2028. We also received a Next Step grant for scaling, particularly in ways that cultivate racial justice through our model this year. Finally, we have a staff of 8 who continue to serve with great dedication.

Our goals for the next five years include being a stronger example of the design and sustainable in all areas, having 5-10 design partners, strengthening our alumni next work to ensure continuity of our service (life affirming culture building), and distributing literature through Sourced Press globally.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

If you are interested in learning more about the design, register for the Sourced Design Lab at https://springhouse.org/sourced-design/. The Lab is a prerequisite for our cultural design program and becoming a Sourced Design partner.

If you are interested in following Springhouse, or purchasing literature from our press, sign up for our newsletter at springhouse.org for more information.


‎Learning Forward: Jenny Finn "I am passionate about Education... on Apple Podcasts
Education Regeneration: Reflecting on the Skeleton Woman story
Why Adult Programming Was a Must Have for This Rural Learning Community - Education Reimagined
Voices of Education Ep. 30 - Springhouse School, Jenny Finn
Re-Imagining Vitality-Centered Education
How To Build a Regenerative Culture Through A Vitality-Centred Education with Dr Jenny Finn
Springhouse gets stronger
Unique Schools: Alternative to public school in Floyd County
Macy leads community dialogue on opioid epidemic
How Our Creativity and Resilience Can Build Stronger and Wiser Communities - Education Reimagined
Sourced Design
What Do Teenagers Think About Climate Change?
Check out this new video from Radford University about our boat building project last year!https://vimeo.com/352253769/d5e7a6d585
Springhouse community gathers to 'bless' new space
Springhouse Community School moved into a new, permanent space in the Blue Ridge mountains. Hear from our learners and staff about this innovative educational model!https://www.swvatoday.com/entertainment_life/article_abff83f8-e061-11e9-b814-97ea88fb779d.html
Floyd students hike to Roanoke in four-day school trip
Check out this story about our 4-Day, 48 mile walking field trip!https://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Floyd-students-hike-to-Roanoke-in-four-day-school-trip-481711671.html
Everyone is Talking About Climate Change, But What are we Doing About it? Floyd Takes a Stand
Springhouse Community School was on National Public Radio in the US today talking about project-based learning, emergent theory, and climate change!https://www.wvtf.org/post/everyone-talking-about-climate-change-what-are-we-doing-about-it-floyd-takes-stand
100+ Middle & High Schools Worth Visiting | Getting Smart
Springhouse is #23 on the list of 100+ worth visiting high school in the United States!https://www.gettingsmart.com/high-schools-worth-visiting/
Soul Centered Education |
We founded Springhouse on the belief that what is most needed from our formal schooling systems is not a requirement of rote familiarity with a standardized set of facts but an opportunity to recognize, articulate, and embody the gifts that each person carries. We provide this space for our students by incorporating one-on-one, small group, and intergenerational mentoring, project-based learning experiences, and community collaboration, all within a psycho-spiritual developmental framework that cultivates wholeness.Read more from one of our co-founders, Ezekiel Fugate, about education that puts wholeness at the center:https://youthpassageways.org/blog/2017/07/10/soul-centered-education/
Springhouse School goes to Charleston
Earlier this semester, students and staff from Springhouse Community School traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, as part of a class called Courageous Conversations, which explores concepts of race, racism and white privilege through community collaborations and music.Springhouse, a private secondary school in Floyd, takes students on several weeklong trips each year that allow learners to immerse themselves in an environment outside of the classroom. Courageous Conversations was made possible by a grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center.Read more:https://www.roanoke.com/nrv/community/springhouse-school-goes-to-charleston/article_78ddac20-a79c-59e2-ba82-b975df78e3bf.html
Capitalizing on the Natural Structures of Freedom - Education Reimagined
Several years ago, my colleagues and I co-founded Springhouse Community School—a living laboratory where we use each day to advance our learning in what it takes to create a learning environment that truly prepares adolescents for young adulthood. At Springhouse, we are cultivating a community where learners can discover the unique gifts they came into this world with, while also explore the barriers that get in the way of offering these gifts to the world. With this audacious and rigorous vision for learning, we knew this learning community would need a sturdy structure that inherently allowed for expansive, individual freedoms for each learner. Read more:https://education-reimagined.org/capitalizing-structures-freedom/
An Open-Walled Journey: A Conversation with Jenny Finn and Sarah Merfeld - Education Reimagined
Education Reimagined had the chance to connect with the leaders of Springhouse Community School to explore a new opportunity they are launching for their young people: internships. Inspired by the work of other learner-centered models, they want to ensure their learners are experiencing all that the Floyd, VA community has to offer. https://education-reimagined.org/conversation-jenny-finn-sarah-merfeld/
Episode 05: Springhouse Stories
Hear from Head of School Jenny Finn and student Lotus Billand about reimagining education!https://floydthyme.podbean.com/e/episode-05-springhouse-stories/
#SpringhouseStories: A Learner's Tale
"Once upon a time, there was an 11-year-old girl who lived in Kansas City named Tati. Tati had been home-schooled with self-led learning her whole life but longed for more. For years, she wanted to go to school, but there were no schools around her that understood that her worth wasn’t in a test score and would give her the autonomy over her learning that she experienced while being home-schooled. She unwillingly had to accept that she likely would not be able to find a school that would fit her educational and developmental needs."Here directly from one of our learners about her experience at Springhouse!https://www.springhousecommunityschool.org/springhouseblog/springhousestories-a-learner-s-tale
Imagining a World Without White Supremacy
Last year Springhouse explored the difficult topics of race and privilege through music and conversation and was profiled in the national publication of Teaching Tolerance, an educational branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center. This was a powerful exploration with teens and the community and led to a final musical community celebration. To learn more visit:https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2018/imagining-a-world-without-white-supremacy
At one time, this idea of building a sailboat was just a dream. It became a reality and the boat was launched last month, first on Claytor Lake and then in the Chesapeake Bay! Students strengthened their skills in mathematics, science, and creative arts through this interdisciplinary project led by a boat builder and adult who is deeply passionate about all things related to the sea!To learn more about the project along the way visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/springship/springshipA local magazine profiled our project recently, read more here!: http://floydvirginiamagazine.com/2019/05/01/building-boats-and-reimagining-education-in-floyd-virginia/
Well participants find purpose, community connection and more
Springhouse not only serves teens but also young adults and adults. "When Springhouse Community School was founded several years ago in Floyd, it began as an independent learning center for 7th through 12th graders. Now young adults are also coming there for another one of the school’s programs and then choosing to stay in the community."To read more about this program that invites young adults to reconnect with their purpose visit:https://www.swvatoday.com/news/floyd/article_b3badf7e-6ce0-11e9-9688-63cf9be968c0.html?fbclid=IwAR0u6WQN1aF1UGdXPQ2qKkuldyCGcu_VxuywEnzZllQ8xzvWFJR1LSOdxH0
Students in Floyd learn science, math, and life skills while building a sailboat for school
Check out this local news story about the Springhouse boat building project! Students built a 22-foot sailboat and sailed it in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia!https://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Students-in-Floyd-learn-science-math-and-life-skills-while-building-a-sailboat-for-school-508153951.html
9 Learner-Centered Environments You Must Visit - Education Reimagined
Education Reimagined, a national network in the US, profiled Springhouse Community School as one of the 9 must-see learner-centered environments in the country. Here is what they said!"Tucked away in the hills of Southwestern Virginia’s Blue Ridge Plateau, Floyd County is home to a vibrant and welcoming community. Boasting a population smaller than many senior classes, it may come as no surprise that a local learning environment, Springhouse Community School, is one of the smallest learner-centered environments we have discovered thus far—but don’t let their size fool you. The Springhouse vision allows for adaptability and improvisation, which are of utmost importance when leading an age-diverse group of just 17 learners. Given this small cohort, many school-centric philosophies had to be thrown out the window immediately—giving way to a free exploration of what education could be."To read more visit: https://education-reimagined.org/9-learner-centered-environments-you-must-visit/

Implementation steps

Have a desire to thrive and willingness to change.
Sourced Design begins with a desire to thrive and a willingness to change. This design does not work without that.
Take care of the vulnerability of change.
When we decide to change, as a person or a community, we are vulnerable. We must learn to take care of that vulnerability in four essential ways: - Adopting new practices that take care of Life. - Finding a regular place to practice. - Be in a community that support you as you practice. - Find mentorship.
Cultivate your personhood.
Get to know yourself in a place with community and mentorship over time, specifically by developing a stronger relationship with your body and humanity, fostering a sense of the sacred, and growing self awareness. This principle never ends, none of them do because life is vital and forever changing.
Build beloved community.
When we are ready, and not bogged down with our own shortcomings and pain, we can learn how to build community. This principle teaches us how to do that in ways that cultivate love and justice for all. The practices include: respecting individuality, fostering unity, and taking care of relationships. The educational model understands community to be the crucible for learning and through shared values, rites and rituals, and community practices, we take care of the life of in the community.
Learn from the Earth.
The Earth is our greatest teacher when it comes to learning how to build a culture that thrives. The practices of this principle include: building an example of healthy culture through education and media, sustaining the example through a strong network, and spreading the message through media and sharing the design.
Love and serve others.
To truly love and serve others in ways that liberate all life, we must have a sense of belonging to ourselves, our communities, and our places. When we do, we can accept (not condone) reality, follow our unique call to serve, and have the commitment to keep going. The dominant culture is strong. When we practice all of these principles in place with a community over time, and more communities do this, we create a culture that thrives.

Spread of the innovation

loading map...