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    #185309 - 03/19/14 12:12 PM Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement
    queencobra Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/19/13
    Posts: 42
    Loc: SF Bay Area
    I have hope that technology can change education for the better and not necessarily in the classroom itself, but increasing the efficiency of the administration and tracking of student progress.

    Quote:
    Improving education is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and yet, less than 1% of education-related expenditures are allocated to the kind of research and development that could bring primary education into the 21st century.


    I saw a few articles about this yesterday and just the thought of a startup that is looking at the process of education as a research and development project seems really hopeful. The founder (from Google) has a strong background in big data, machine learning and personalization. I am curious to hear what other people think about this.

    The "micro-schools" are all meant to be small with 8:1 student to teacher ratios that combine ages and abilities. They use iPad minis for weekly playlists for the students to decide what they would like to work on for the week. Every student gets a personalized learning plan.

    It sounds amazing for all kids and might be able to address some of the issues we see with gifted kids. They use "child-centered" learning to use a child's interest to engage them in learning. One example I read somewhere was that some kids like Minecraft, so they started building San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. That incorporates history and engineering in a really cool way.

    AltSchool gets $33 Million

    More about AltSchool
    _________________________
    Mom to DS9 and DD6

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    #185311 - 03/19/14 12:44 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    $23,000 a year tuition.

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    #185315 - 03/19/14 01:38 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    queencobra Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/19/13
    Posts: 42
    Loc: SF Bay Area
    The tuition is $19,100 which, for San Francisco, is on the cheaper side of private school tuition. Many schools here are 5-10k more expensive. It's ridiculous, I know, but the whole cost of living is out of whack here.

    I really don't expect public education to ever do this by themselves though. My hope is that the learnings from this school can be applied elsewhere. It will be far less expensive to start the process of creating outside the current education bureaucracy. Five or ten years down' the road when public education can buy into a proven, totally scalable system, then this might change everything. It also gives them a lofty goal and hefty payout if they can achieve it.
    _________________________
    Mom to DS9 and DD6

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    #185316 - 03/19/14 01:52 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    Mana Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/17/12
    Posts: 881
    Originally Posted By: queencobra
    The tuition is $19,100 which, for San Francisco, is on the cheaper side of private school tuition. Many schools here are 5-10k more expensive. It's ridiculous, I know, but the whole cost of living is out of whack here.


    The tuition for the 2014-2015 school year is $19,100. AltSchool's tuition includes all activities, field trips, technology devices and classroom supplies. Lunch and afterschool care are available for an additional fee.

    Note: There is a $4,350 tuition supplement to cover additional real estate costs for Palo Alto ($23,450 total tuition).


    https://www.altschool.com/admissions#application-process

    K is coming up next year for us so we've been talking about public vs private vs homeschooling quite a bit. DD's micro-school tuition isn't that bad, actually. It's about $6000 for half-time (8:30 to 12:00) and teacher student ratio is 6:1. It's multi-age to 3 to 7. Most private schools around here charge at least $20,000 a year.

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    #185319 - 03/19/14 02:41 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    bluemagic Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/29/13
    Posts: 1489
    Sounds very similar to the "unschooling" movement in the 1970's. I knew of kids who attended and adults who ran various of these schools in the 1970's. By the 1990's most of these school had failed. I considered one of these schools for my son in K but decided that while it might be great for him in K-2nd I wasn't happy with it's upper grades. (It moved a few years later and is now shut down, after more than 35 years.) It didn't really have a specific gifted program, but did work with kids at their own pace.

    The price does seem in line with other private schools in the area. The SF area is a very expensive place to live & that amount of tuition doesn't surprise me.

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    #185320 - 03/19/14 03:12 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Rather like the Sudbury model, isn't it?
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #185321 - 03/19/14 03:21 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: Zen Scanner]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Zen Scanner
    $23,000 a year tuition.


    Not bad.

    That's close to 1/3 of the cost of a year's tuition at Cornell Law School.

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    #185322 - 03/19/14 04:17 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    But a private school model (8:1 ratio) doesn't give much hope for public schools taking notice. Some of the group learning/Socratic approaches at Exeter Academy look great, too, and have a track record. Even working methods at charter schools don't seem to trickle back.

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    #185343 - 03/19/14 09:00 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    queencobra Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/19/13
    Posts: 42
    Loc: SF Bay Area
    Zen Scanner - good point! Some of the things I've read about this school is that they are trying to make schools efficient and cut way down on administration of the schools. That's where I think this affect schools. Schools could, theoretically, hire more teachers if they didn't need as much administration staff. Our current school does so much on paper, it drives me crazy.

    HowlerKarma - It does seem a bit Subury with a twist of Montessori. I am curious to see how guided the classroom is in practice. The kids do pick what they learn from a list of options, so not completely open-ended.

    BlueMagic - I like the micro-school concept. It's about as close to home-schooling as some people can get without hiring their own private tutor. There is a huge unschooling trend in the Bay Area right now for gifted kids. I'm not sure how influenced this school is around that though.

    So many good thoughts and questions here! I am really curious to see what happens with this school. It has some great talent behind it on the tech side, but also including the head teacher who is from a well-known local private gifted school.
    _________________________
    Mom to DS9 and DD6

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    #186486 - 03/31/14 11:38 PM Re: Hope? Education Startup with $33M Investement [Re: queencobra]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93
    My guess is Altschool is kind of Reggio-Emilia plus iPads and https://trello.com/ ... that the creative/observant/sensitive teacher would put "differentiated" curriculum on each child's "trello" stack, weekly. The 8:1 ratio would help. They are not strictly about "gifted". At this writing they have not yet announced a Palo Alto nor a Mountain View campus. But they just got the $33mm tranche so give 'em a month. Office space (or campus) not easy to find on the Peninsula.

    Yes, fine print is the $4,350 tuition supplement to cover additional real estate costs for Palo Alto ($23,450 total tuition). The other fine print is they may slip from 8:1 to 10:1 or higher. (FWIW Hattie in Visible Learning meta-meta-analysis did not find ratio to be all that).

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