This week at #gtchat we welcomed Jade Rivera, author of the latest in a series of books from GHF Press, “Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget”. Micro-schools are a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. and have their roots in Texas and California. A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.
We asked Jade why she thought to start a school specifically for this student population. She told us that, “The small, personalized, intentional nature of Micro-Schools offers a balance of connection, flexible structure and freedom. They provide a chance to bring gifted and twice-exceptional issues out into the light. When you start a Micro-School, you’re not only educating students in your school, you’re educating the whole community.”
“A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.”
Individualized instruction is achieved in micro schools through the use of technology, project-based learning and restructuring how students are taught. Gifted students have an urgent need for depth and flexibility and micro schools deliver on both counts. It is imperative that the student, parents and teacher work closely together to develop a flexible plan to meet the specific needs of the student and then be diligent in the follow-through.
Student engagement is imperative in ensuring that the micro school model is working for every student. Jade explained her philosophy on engagement, “First and foremost, a student’s passion is personal. All a person can really do is make space for a passion to evolve. It cannot be forced into existence through independent projects and the like. Montessori as well as my chemistry education taught me how to observe in the classroom. By prioritizing connection and observing where your students are at; you can extrapolate where they want to go. Then it’s my job to provide a space where that can happen.”
“Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools.” ~ Jade Rivera
How are classrooms in Micro-Schools different from traditional classrooms? Jade explained, “My classrooms are more a co-working space. Sometimes students do their own thing together. Sometimes we come together for group learning. Comfort in the classroom is key. Overexcitabilities and sensory needs must be taken into account. There must be access to creative and technological tools in a Micro-School classroom. Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools. Our students tend to have paradoxical natures. It’s a delicate dance and it takes some time to get right.”
A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.