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June 4, 2018

Thanks for a Great Year!

Sam Franklin, VP of Schools

It is a joyful time of year in schools. This week, we celebrated 20 eighth grade graduates, all of whom will be attending one of their top-choice high schools in the fall. They now join a group of 56 AltSchool alumni who have been admitted to 45 different high schools, including many of the most competitive public and private schools in the region. These young graduates are full of possibility—possibility that they know better than any of us do.

Our students are thriving. They are a testament to the power of learner-centric education. On average, they continue to exceed expected growth targets on standardized tests, with students at the lowest achievement levels nearly doubling their projected gains.

More importantly, they are developing a strong sense of self, exploring their interests, exerting agency, and learning how to learn. Just last week, I saw students designing and presenting their own progress reports, summarizing their progress, and developing important skills like feedback and collaboration and persistence. Perhaps most important of all, they smile at school. They are finding joy in working hard, learning, and having fun.

We are increasingly part of a broad national community that sees the future of learning similarly. This community transcends sector, bringing together public schools, charters, and private schools who believe in personalized, hands-on learning, flexible learning environments, and whole-child development in communities that uphold high standards for academics and character.

Read Celebrating Our Partners by VP of Growth Ben Kornell.

Like others pursuing this vision, we faced some big challenges this year. For three of our AltSchool campuses, this was their final year of operation. At these campuses, the last weeks of school were bittersweet. But the way these communities bonded together to make their final year extra special modeled integrity and resilience for all of us. Many of our students will continue with us at one of our other campuses. In Palo Alto, where there is no nearby option, families came together to start their own school, and we are turning over the campus to another great school option.

Read about Guidepost Montessori and Imagination Lab School.  

When we announced these closures in the fall, some speculated we were leaving the business of running schools. Far from it. Everything we do starts in our classrooms. Next year we will operate two lab schools in San Francisco and two in New York. More than 90 percent of our educators will be experienced AltSchool teachers, and we have already met our enrollment goals. Our schools will continue to serve as hubs for our growing partner network, and model what is possible when students are empowered as leaders of their own learning.

As we close the school year, I want to thank all of our families. You are awesome to work with. You’re curious, insightful, generous, caring. You set a great example, do what you think is best for your child, and contribute to a community striving to make a big, positive impact on education. Thanks for making this year so special.

I also want to recognize and appreciate our exceptional team of educators. You wear many hats, all of them well. You are flexible and fun and open-minded and you model what it looks like to love learning. On behalf of AltSchool as well as myself, I offer the most sincere gratitude.

Press release: AltSchool’s personalized learning platform to support thousands of students in 2018-19 via partnerships with 20+ districts and schools nationwide.

To our learners, it has been an honor to see the projects you’ve done, the smiles you bring to school with you, and I hope that you keep these smiles with you always. I look forward to a fantastic 2018-19.

Learn more about our lab schools and our partner school program.
Read more about Our Vision for Lab Schools.

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