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News and resources from Austin’s alternative education community.
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AltEdAustin.com

 
A Note from Teri
Sponsor Spotlight

• Happenings 
Recently on the Blog
Question of the Month

 

 


Click on event titles for details. Many school tours and info sessions require an RSVP. Visit our online calendar often as we add events throughout the month.

 
MONDAY, MARCH 6
6:00pm
Getting into Harvard and Stanford: a free presentation by Antonio Buehler of Abrome
 
TUESDAY, MARCH 7
9:15am
Austin Rising School NORTH visit day
6:00pm
How to Lead a Remarkable Life: a free presentation by Antonio Buehler of Abrome
 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8
10:00am
Radicle Roots Community Schoolhouse parent tour
11:45am
KọSchool tour
12:30pm
Integrity Academy school tour
4:00pm
Radicle Roots Community School House kindergarten open house
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 9
9:00am
Griffin School campus tour
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
12:00pm
Synergy Middle School info session
3:00pm
Abrome open house
3:00pm
Austin Rising School NORTH info session
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 16
8:00am
Coffee & conversation at Abrome
9:00am
Griffin School campus tour
 
TUESDAY, MARCH 21
6:00pm
21st-Century Learning: What the Education Experts Got Wrong, and How Parents Can Get It Right: a free presentation by Antonio Buehle of Abrome
 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
10:00am
Radicle Roots Community Schoolhouse parent tour
11:45am
KọSchool tour
12:30pm
Integrity Academy school tour
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 23
9:00am
Griffin School campus tour
 
FRIDAY, MARCH 24
9:00am
4Points Academy open house / info session
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 25
10:00am
Whole Life Learning Center open house
 
TUESDAY, MARCH 28
9:15am
Austin Rising School Southwest visit day
5:30pm
Documentary viewing & discussion hosted by Abrome
 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29
9:00am
Fusion Academy summer options coffee chat series
11:45am
KọSchool tour
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 30
9:00am
Griffin School campus tour

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 1
2:00pm
Clearview Sudbury School information session

MONDAY, APRIL 3
1:00pm
Fusion Academy summer options coffee chat series
 
TUESDAY, APRIL 4
9:00am
Lake Travis STEM Academy kindergarten/1st grade roundup


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5
10:00am
Radicle Roots Community Schoolhouse parent tour
11:45am
KọSchool tour

 
Hello, friend!

In 2009 my family embarked on a driving, thinking, and talking trip over Spring Break. We came back with clear heads about a tough decision: to withdraw our child from his elementary school and seek a different path because he was no longer thriving there—intellectually, socially, or emotionally. We knew there must be a better way. And there was. As it turned out, there were many better ways. Eight years later, our kid is a happy, thriving high school junior, and we're preparing for another important Spring Break trip, this time to visit colleges.

Whether you’re spending your Spring Break immersed in the excitement and crowds of SXSW, traveling somewhere else to escape them, or hunkering down at home or the office, I encourage you to carve out a little time and space to do some deep thinking about your kid’s schooling. Is it working? Is the educational model making sense to you? Is the environment nourishing your unique learner? Is there joy?

If you can honestly answer yes to these questions, hooray! You should celebrate. If not, consider setting up a consultation with me after Spring Break. I’ll help you explore the delightfully diverse array of options in the Austin area and find the right fit for your kid.

To get a head start, check out the school tours, information sessions, and other events listed in the Happenings column on the left. Then read this month’s Sponsor Spotlight, below; it’s by Ben Kopel and describes his remarkably fulfilling experiences as an educator at Skybridge Academy. Recently on the Blog makes it easy to catch up on all the news, information, and inspiration we’ve published in the last few weeks. Finally, if you’ve been wondering what exactly the term Twice Exceptional (or 2e) means, or even if you’ve never heard it before, scroll all the way down to read the Question of the Month.


We would love to hear from you! Contact us with your questions or suggestions, and leave a comment on any blog posts youd like to discuss with our community. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we frequently share useful information for families and educators who love to learn.

Alternatively yours,
Teri

 

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT




The Freedom to Be the Educator
I Want, Can, and Need to Be


From teaching college-level composition to organizing creative writing workshops for grade schoolers, I’ve found myself in all kinds of educational environments, working within all manner of curriculums and departments over the past decade. When I was hired at Skybridge Academy, the school’s director, Ariel Dochstader Miller, made it abundantly clear that her top priorities for the Skybridge staff are two-fold: she wants her teachers to create classes that we feel passionate about, and she wants us to conduct the classes in a manner that makes space for each young life in the room to feel both seen and accepted for exactly who they are at any given moment, every single day of the school week.
 
Sitting across from me during the initial job interview, Ariel looked me straight in the eye and asked me what reading- and writing-related classes I would teach if I had the absolute freedom to design a junior high and high school level curriculum. Since that conversation, I have taught classes, had conversations, and shared experiences with students that I know in my heart of hearts are not feasible at any other institution. There have been entire semesters dedicated to authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Neil Gaiman, a whole class centered around feminist literature and cinema, both junior and high school level classes dedicated to reading and analyzing graphic novels as serious works of literature, a workshop where students wrote and published a weekly digital magazine . . . and I’m nowhere near running out of ideas, friends.
 
Being a part of the living and breathing organism that is Skybridge Academy has revolutionized my understanding of what educators and the community surrounding them are capable of. The classes in every department at Skybridge contain enough young people to keep conversations lively while also allowing for the individualized instruction and attention that allow our kids to grow and thrive in their educational experiences.
 
When teachers are allowed to create classes centered around the materials and ideas that they are truly, deeply inspired by, our children can’t help but absorb some of that passion. The future needs people with the courage to be enthusiastic, and I’m very thankful to be part of a school where educator enthusiasm is the engine that makes young minds move and soar into new and exciting realms of possibility.
 

Ben Kopel, Director of Language Arts
  Skybridge Academy  

 
 
  

 

Recently on the Blog

 

 
The past month has been full of ups and downs in the weather, but that didn’t stop our intrepid contributors from writing thoughtful, helpful posts. In case you missed any, here’s a rundown:
 
 
Do you have information to share with Alt Ed Austin readers? Let us know, and you could be our next guest blogger! We love providing a lively discussion space for lifelong learners.
 

Question of the Month

A friend of mine suggested that I look into “twice exceptional” (or “2e”) resources because she thinks my son may be in that category. I’m a little overwhelmed, so can you walk me through what 2e means?


Academics have been talking about “twice-exceptional” students for more than a decade, but the concept has recently become part of mainstream parenting and education discussions in part because of a film that came out last year and garnered a lot of attention.
 
Twice-exceptional students are gifted and talented in one or more areas, including leadership, the arts, or math and science. They are also identified as having a specific challenge, which could include an emotional or learning disability, a physical disability, ADHD, or being on the autism spectrum, among others. Because of the combination of great strengths and particular challenges, these kids who are highly creative, curious, and sophisticated and have special or advanced talents can also be quite easily frustrated and sensitive to criticism and may have difficulty meeting school expectations or mastering study skills. In addition, they may find social interactions difficult.
 
As Robin Finn, the mother of a 2e son, explains, “Imagine an 8-year-old who patiently explains the theory of relativity to a group of adults, yet storms off the soccer field in a fit because a teammate doesn’t pass the ball.”
 
Students who fall into the 2e category are often hard to identify because they have so many qualities that are not typical. They can benefit enormously from special learning programs tailored to their strengths and needs. They may need several different teachers who can nurture their potential in different areas and support their social, emotional, and intellectual development.
 
The current issue of the 2e Newsletter includes an article by local parent Kim Schuchman, who explains how finding the right school helped her son thrive. The issue also features an interview with Michael Strong, co-founder of Austin’s KọSchool. If you are not a 2e Newsletter subscriber, you can access those two articles here. If you want to seriously explore 2e, the newsletter site is a good place to start because it offers so much material, including a bibliography of helpful readings and information about services and a backlog of great articles in the newsletter itself.
 
Also take a look at Robin Finn, “When Parenting twice-exceptional kids, not everything needs to be fixed,” Washington Post, July 15, 2015. And the website for 2e: Twice Exceptional, the highly acclaimed 2016 film that will soon have a sequel about teaching 2e kids, offers some fascinating clips and other resources.

 


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