The u.school is Springfield’s first micro school serving grades 6-12. Enrollment is capped at 40 students. Research shows that students are more motivated academically when they have a positive relationship with their teacher and feel that they are part of a supportive community.
At the u.school students have a strong voice in the design and direction of what they learn, how they learn it, how it is assessed, and in the governance of the school. Alfie Kohn says, “The way a child learns how to make decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.”
At the u.school we strive to be able to answer the dreaded question, “Why do we need to learn this?” We tap into student’s curiosity, creativity, and intrinsic motivation and utilize active learning methods like, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, open-ended questions, internships, service learning projects, field trips, and travel to make learning relevant to teenagers.
At the u.school learning means being a part of the school community, the local community, and the world. This means leaving the school frequently and easily when the need or opportunity arises, and welcoming outside experts and community members into the school. It also means engaging with the Springfield community through internships, projects, service, college classes; embracing the global community using digital communication tools; and leveraging networks of like-minded learners.
Growing Self-Directed Learners
Our big objective is for students to grow into Self-Directed learners. We define that as a student who has agency over the who, what, when, why, and how of learning. We want our students to understand themselves, their goals, their strengths and how they learn so that they can create their own future. For some students, becoming a true self-directed learner might require unlearning "school". For all students growing into a self-directed learner requires patience, self-reflection, authentic feedback, opportunities, challenges, and the freedom to be themselves. I order to grow into a self-directed learner, u.school students have a lot of control over their school and their learning. Being able to make decisions requires having practice making decisions.
frequently asked questions
will my child be able to get into college?
Yes. In the past two decades colleges have become friendly to students from new and innovative charter, magnet and private schools; homeschoolers and unschoolers; and other non-traditional students. Graduates from u.school will have a transcript, portfolio, resume, and experience with internships, service learning, major projects, and college classes. Students from the u.school will not only be able to get into college, they will succeed when they get there.
what is authentic assessment?
Authentic assessment is the idea that the best way to measure student progress is through worthwhile, significant, and meaningful activities. We also believe that the best way to communicate progress with students and families is through narrative feedback, self-assessment, and conferences. Test scores and grades are very crude instruments that don't communicate the complexity of learning. Tests and grades force learning into a box that is measured by tests and grades. It is a vicious cycle. By seeking more authentic and complex ways of assessing and communicating student progress we are also opening up the way students can learn.
are you accredited?
As a brand new school, who opened to students on August 2016, we are in the process of being accredited. The accreditation process involves applying for membership, conducting a self-study of your school, hosting a visiting team to review your school, and developing a plan for continual review and improvement. This process can take anywhere from one to three years. We have taken the first steps towards accreditation and plan on moving as quickly as is reasonable. In the meantime, students who graduate from u.school will still receive our diploma and build their own portfolio. In most cases, there are paths available to college for students with an unaccredited diploma. Homeschoolers and unschoolers are regularly accepted to all levels of colleges and universities without an accredited diploma. In some colleges the entry requirements will change slightly with SAT/ACT, college coursework, and a portfolio playing a larger role in admissions.
what is a micro school?
Micro schools can blend the best elements of unschooling, summer camps, passion projects, graduate seminars, project-based learning, independent study, homeschooling and direct instruction in a purposefully small school setting. One of the biggest factors in keeping students engaged in learning is their feeling of being known, appreciated, valued, and accepted as an individual. Each student is unique, staying small allows them to safely find their own voice and gain experience in using it. Too often larger schools ‘deliver’ education to students. We want our students to ‘create’ their own education. At u.school we limit our enrollment to a maximum of 40 students in grades 6-12.
do you have art, pe, and music?
We do our best to learn in an integrated, holistic way. The opportunity for expression through art and music will always be available for those who desire it. We will also tap into the greater Springfield community for mini units in art, music, and PE. For example, we might schedule a six week ice skating unit and head over to Mediacom Ice Park a couple of times a week for skating. We could also bring in an artist for a few workshops to teach some specific techniques.
non discrimination policy
The u.school admits students of any gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, creed, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The u.school does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, or creed in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship, and loan programs and athletic and other school administered programs.
send us a message
425 W McDaniel Suite 160
Springfield, MO 65806