We’ve been talking about microschools through the blog and in our town halls over the past few years and recently announced A Big Push for Small Schools, the first grant opportunity from our Learning Innovation Fund. This cohort of grantees is dedicated to driving real change in their community and in the lives of learners through small school models. 

As part of our initiative, we convened a group of dynamic microschool leaders and learning providers as a Community of Practice (CoP). The diverse backgrounds and experiences of the participants fostered a solid foundation for collective learning. Through the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and innovative approaches, this dynamic group has contributed to further defining the microschool landscape. Our first CoP focused on the emerging category of microschool incubators. To get involved in the upcoming CoP, you can fill out this form!

What is a Microschool?

Given their small size, microschools can be opened quickly in alternative spaces. Microschools may be full or part-time learning experiences for P-12 students and are able to quickly create new community-connected learning options (themes, careers, and experiences) for students. They can also be used to quickly address underserved student populations (preschool, dropout recovery, and career education) or as a short-term pilot.

Theory of Change

For microschools to be a high quality, equitable and sustainable option for all children, schools need technical support, communities of practice, and financial support. The key to scaling and sustainability is informal and formal microschool networks.

Key Initiatives

Grants

We provide financial support to innovative microschool projects through our grants program. These grants aim to foster the development and scaling of high-quality microschool models that offer personalized, student-centered education. Our grant recipients receive not only funding but also access to a network of resources and technical assistance to ensure their success and sustainability.

Community of Practice

Our Community of Practice strands bring together leaders and educators in the microschool landscape to collaborate, share best practices, and address common challenges. This initiative fosters continuous learning, professional growth, and the development of a supportive network, enhancing the quality and impact of microschools.

Storytelling & Sector Analysis

Through storytelling and ongoing sector analysis, we document and share the diverse stories and models within the microschool movement. This initiative aims to highlight the innovative approaches and successes of microschools, providing valuable insights and inspiration to educators, policymakers, and the broader community. By analyzing and sharing these stories, we help to build a comprehensive understanding of the microschool landscape and its impact on education.

Latest Blogs

Podcasts

Resources

Designing Microschools: Why Launching Small Learning Environments Is a Big Idea

This resource from Getting Smart provides examples of microschools and addresses why you’d want to start a microschool, how to start a microschool and how to know if it is working.

American Microschool Analysis

America’s fast-growing microschooling movement has been described as one of the most exciting education narratives of this generation. This sector analysis from the our partners the National Microschooling Center illuminates important aspects of this dynamic community, including who is leading microschools, their backgrounds, and just how diverse the sector has become in many different important aspects of their work, including main motivating goals, educational approaches, intended outcomes, weekly schedules and funding sources.

Open for Business: The Economics of Everyday Entrepreneurs in Unconventional Education

VELA provides unique insights into the rapidly growing market of unconventional education. To gain a better understanding of the business practices and models used in this nascent landscape, VELA conducted a survey of its community in the fall of 2022. The findings are valuable for entrepreneurs, learners, families, funders, policymakers, and anyone interested in the future of education.

Microschools Town Hall

On a 2021 Getting Smart Town Hall, we took a look at some of the most exciting microschools in the country and highlighted why it’s a dynamic learning model for personalization, community-responsiveness and rapid innovation.