Who is the target student for the new school? Well, there isn’t one. WAIT – before you shrug and walk away, hear me out.
We don’t think there’s one specific type of student that can benefit from this program more than someone else. A deep, cross-disciplinary connection to content without some of the constraints of a typical schedule will make a major difference for a variety of different students. The ability to self-select into a learning environment committed to answering the question of “when am I ever going to use this?” and then using it across the humanities and the sciences is powerful. There are students at all levels that won’t be independent enough for this. That’s okay. We have a fantastic general education program that serves the majority of the population in a great way. We’re looking for the students who are eager for something different. Something they can’t get in even the best classrooms.
Students who we feel are prime recruits for the initiative (not an exhaustive list):
- Student A is a typical grade-level student who is frustrated going through the motions, is becoming disengaged, but teachers know there’s untapped potential there. She could thrive in a setting more tailored to her specific interests.
- Student B struggles constantly in math and sometimes struggles to work in class, but is fantastic in history and writing. Perhaps 30 minutes per day is the right amount of skill-based math time for him and the rest is mixed into his other subjects. Flexible scheduling allows this student to progress through humanities topics he is passionate about while math is adjusted to meet his needs.
- Student C moves through the basics quicker than peers, especially in STEM areas like science and math, and is constantly becoming disengaged in class. She’s on target for AP, but something’s just not working for her. The student is looking to raise the ceiling and apply their learning more often through projects and labs.
- Student D has a serious passion for his freshman electives like entrepreneurship and finance and would prefer to look through a business lens when learning his core academic offering. Researching and grant-writing could be areas that tie all four subject areas together for him.
There is a common theme that the team keeps returning to when describing students that would work best in this environment: students who have some academic passion and who have the ability to work independently. Within parameters set by standards and curriculum, these students need to be willing to put in the work to achieve some really fantastic results.
We think they’re out there. There isn’t just one student we’re targeting here – it’s anyone who’s willing to take the leap and commit to a truly immersive learning environment.