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BTA Is a Micro School. What Does That Mean?

Posted by Blyth-Templeton Academy

student-centered learning

Blyth-Templeton Academy is a micro school. What does that mean? We are intentionally small. We average only eight students a class – a structure that encourages classroom discussion rather than lectures and collaboration over competition. Why?  In many high schools today the needs of individual students are overlooked.  In response, we and other educators are beginning to reconsider the value of small when it comes to school and class size. 

Blyth-Templeton Academy  specializes in hands-on and project-based learning and community collaboration.  For example, we use the city of Washington, DC with all it's resources as a living classroom. Our students are challenged  to connect their classroom experiences to the real world.  By utilizing these resources we can lower the tuition cost to a more manageable standard than seen in the traditional independent school. 

What Do Teens Need?

At the high school level, what students do in the classroom is influenced by their social relationships. As they push for increasing independence from their parents, teen often turn to their peers for guidance, acceptance, and security. Safety, for those whose self-esteem and self-confidence is still shaky, lies in fitting in and having a place to belong. Teens need:

  • A safe community where they are not judged, but are respected and listened to actively;
  • A place  where they can be individuals without the pressure to conform; and
  • An education community where they can try, fail, try again, succeed, grow, share, and know their peers and teachers are there for them no matter what happens.

What is Special About a Micro School?

In a micro school, teachers understand the learning needs of each student and can facilitate their efforts to achieve personalized goals. Students are encouraged to follow a passion, a new interest, or to dig deeper. The transformed structure of the small classroom supports:

  • Deeper learning through more discussion
  • Less lecture and hands-on exploration and research  
  • Longer class periods focused on fewer subject areas
  • Online and experiential learning allowing the student to individualize study
With the absence of a focus on standardization, teens are able to find their way at their own pace. They learn what their strengths are and how to build on those strengths in developing an identity within which they are comfortable and can succeed. 

The small school environment encourages students to value diversity whether in mindset, gender identity, learning style, physical appearance, introversion, culture, family composition, or race. Students can use their unique perspective to pursue ideas, explore new information, to openly share, and to embrace diversity and change. 

Micro schools are setting a standard of innovation among independent schools, and amazing things are going on in education and amazing things are happening at BTA:

BTA Student:  “At my old school, I liked being able to just hide and not have to talk. You can’t do that here. For the first week I didn’t want to talk. But you can say things without being worried about someone calling you out. Socratic discussions that can turn into arguments but they don’t go outside of the classroom because it’s not about character. The arguments are really helpful.”

BTA Parent: "In the previous school, she was very lost. Felt like no one heard her (i.e., other children and professors) - it was just so big and she got lost. Moving to a smaller school was really where she got the 1:1 attention and individualism where her abilities and skill set were recognized. BTA was able to explore and exploit that."

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About Blyth-Templeton Academy

Temp Keller
Blyth-Templeton Academy is an experiential micro school located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It offers an academically rigorous 9-12th-grade high school curriculum designed to foster intellectual curiosity through active learning and community exploration. The small class sizes ensure that each student has a front row seat in classes with an average size of 8. Our model combines a warm, inviting atmosphere with great teaching that allows our students to flourish. Schedule a visit soon.

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