Micro schools intentionally promote small class size to provide an environment where students and teachers know each other well and students are fully engaged. Why? In many high schools today the needs of individual students are overlooked. In response, educators are beginning to reconsider the value of small when it comes to school and class size.
Micro schools specialize in hands-on and project-based learning and community collaboration. For example, using a town or city as a living classroom challenges students to connect their classroom experiences to the real world. Utilizing these resources 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 Are the Benefits of the Small Classroom?
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
What is Special About a Micro School?
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.
"At Blyth-Templeton Academy, we’re very proud to have embraced the micro school model and the level of learning, personalization, and community that comes with such a structure. Our focus on each and every one of our students is unencumbered and I know that if you have the opportunity to talk to our students and parents, you’ll find that this type of environment is having a profound impact on learning." Temp Keller, Co-founder and Director