Zuckerberg-Funded Tech Startup-School to Open Location on the LES Next Year
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A Mark Zuckerburg-funded private school is moving east to the neighborhood.
AltSchool is a trendy new private school with a curriculum much like a dot-com startup. Meaning, lessons are taught with a technology-driven approach. The progressive educational facility inaugurated the first east coast branch earlier this fall in Brooklyn Heights, its sixth outside Silicon Valley. By next school year (fall 2016), there will be a campus for the Lower East Side, offering services for kindergarten through 6th grade (though, such classifications are avoided). The official website reveals the address as 310 East Houston, the condo building that currently houses Banco Popular in the ground level.
The New York Post published a lengthy feature about the “micro school” over the weekend.
Every pupil gets their own tablet or Chromebook; wall-mounted video cameras called “superpowers” record children’s learning moments and kiddie confessionals for teachers to review.
Every student gets a to-do list called a “playlist” where they focus on whatever interests them, from writing an opera about water exploration to creating vessels that protect an egg when it falls.
Instead kids are divided into three broadly defined classrooms: pre-K, “lower elementary” for younger kids and “upper elementary” for older kids.
There’s nothing so pedestrian as roll call — kids sign in via an app on an iPad at the entry. It’s connected to an online platform called My.AltSchool that tracks everything from a child’s Personalized Learning Plan to allergies.
The schedule changes daily, but midmorning on a recent Wednesday, some 6- to 8-year-olds studied Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” on their Chromebooks in one corner, while others engaged in writing lessons. There’s no bell to signal the end of a period or recess. Instead, “learning blocks” are meant to end organically.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is apparenrly a big proponent. He reportedly led a $100 million financing round for the school last spring.