As the school year approaches, the debate over whether to resume in-person classes or remote learning continues, but some educators are seeking out an alternative called micro-schools.
“So, we’re a small accredited private school with hands-on learning and multi-age middle and high school,” Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, founder of the Micro-School Coalition. “But it could be a homeschool pod, a Montessori small school, it really just means a small school.”
Dr. O’Shaughnessy is also the director of Lead Prep, a micro-school in the state of Washington.
She says what makes micro-schools so useful during the pandemic is that it provides students with social contact in a limited setting and can operate out of someone’s home or classroom with only a few people.
“It’s what you want it to be, which is why people do it, because they want something different than maybe the large general option,” said O’Shaughnessy.
Dr. O’Shaughnessy says that another benefit to micro-schools is the curriculum because it provides a more personalized sense of learning with more cohesive and hands-on studies to keep students engaged and prevent them from falling behind.
“I think we’re seeing that larger institutions are pretty much traditional and serve a chunk of kids, but we have a ramble of learners that are not thriving and smaller creative options can help all of our kids thrive, so I’m really hoping it’s not just a bandaid during a pandemic,” said O’Shaughnessy.