You are a passenger standing on the bow of a cruise ship as it heads towards Cozumel.
It is a beautiful, warm evening. Sunset is right in front of you. You just finished a lovely dinner. Tonight, you got to sit at the Captain’s table.
You had come out to the deck for some fresh air and to decide if you should go to the dueling piano show or the ice cream buffet.
As you absentmindedly look towards the horizon you try to remember how many days before you make land. Is it 2 or maybe it’s 3 days. It doesn’t really matter. The captain and crew know how to get there, right?
Right before you turn to head to the ice cream sundae buffet, you notice in the distance, off the starboard side (or is it the stern?) a small sailboat.
A silhouette cutting through the waves in front of the setting sun. You can make out a single sailor. She is looking out at the same ocean as you.
Maybe she is even headed to the same destination?
But your experience of the ocean couldn’t be more different than hers. She isn’t deciding between ice cream and pianos. She has bigger decisions to make.
It occurs to you that she probably knows how many days to land. She can also take her boat anywhere she wants. Not just places the cruise liners go.
Most schools are like cruise liners. A few choices here and there but mainly you go where the captain takes you. U.school is like the sailboat. You make the choices. You accept the responsibility. You decide where to set sail for.
If you are looking for a way to set sail.
… no tests
… no grades
… no school walls
… learn anywhere and everywhere
… be the captain of your own learning adventure
At u.school we are in the business of...
Growing self-directed learners who are confident, competent, and caring human beings.
To accomplish this we have a couple of simple philosophies that guide what we do...
Each and every person brings unique life experiences, has signature strengths, and learns and develops at their own pace.
Humans learn best in an environment that favors authentic learning.
We have come to understand through experience and research that authentic learning thrives in environments that favor...
- Passion, play, and purpose
- Curiosity and questions
- Meaningful relationships with peers and adults
- Self-reflection and self-direction
- An authentic audience
- Individual agency in deciding the who, what, when, where, why, and how of learning
- Connecting with the community outside of the school walls
Becoming a member of u.school means embracing your own, unique learning adventure with this approach.
u.school At Home
For the 2020/2021 school year, u.school will operate in At Home mode. We will be offering a changing slate of ala carte classes, workshops, tutoring, guided independent work, and in-person outings and field trips. You can see a list of what we are offering in the link below. Click here for a list of current and planned Learning Opportunities.
We approach learning in a radically different way than a traditional school. It might be helpful to think of it metaphorically. Think of learning as a “travel adventure” and think of u.school as a type of “travel agent”
As a Travel Agent, we have two main jobs:
- Mapping and Planning your adventure. We are here to help you decide where to go and how to get there. We are also here to help record the journey and organize it into a narrative that tells your learning story. Our staff will work with you, as an individual, to think about short and long term goals and figure out what Learning Opportunities will help you reach those goals.
- Itinerary. When you travel, you don't expect the Travel Agent to own and operate every museum you visit, cafe you eat at, and hotel you stay in. In the same way, we don't expect all of your Learning Opportunities to be run by u.school. We expect every student will plan a broad mix of Learning Opportunities, some led by u.school staff and some Learning Opportunities that occur outside of our virtual walls. We will be glad to help you find the right Learning Opportunities for you and integrate them into your overall adventure planning.
When you become a Member of the u.school community, we will work with you to Map and Plan your Learning Adventure and set your Itinerary with a broad mix of Learning Opportunities (whether they are u.school-led or happen outside our virtual walls.)
If your family is interested in being a part of the u.school At Home community please complete the following interest form for each student.
What Does it Mean to be a Member of u.school?
We have A La Carte classes, activities and other Learning Opportunities. Costs for these activities will vary based on how long they run, how often they run, staffing costs, etc.
- Teacher designed and led, collaborative, online and in-person Learning Opportunities
- Classes, workshops, book clubs, seminars, study groups, discussion groups
- One on one or small group tutoring, guidance, or direct instruction (in person or online)
- Group field trips, activities, or travel (when safe and feasible)
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this an online school?
Not exactly. While we don't have a physical location, we think we are quite different from most online or virtual schools. We are more about a philosophy that involves learning anywhere and everywhere. That includes utilizing virtual space, where appropriate. But our students typically mix in classes at public schools and community college, travel, internships, community service, independent study, books, movies, art projects, video production, podcasting, tutoring, and more. We don't expect our students to be sitting in front of a computer screen all day.
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 have a Portfolio of Work, a transcript that summarizes the Portfolio of Work, experience with internships, service learning, independent projects, creating, producing, and managing projects with real world audiences like Artwalk, u.talk, and DWNTWN magazine. Our students take college classes at nearby universities while they are still at u.school. Our graduates have been accepted to Kansas City Art Institute, Drury University, Belmont University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Hartwick College, Columbia College of Chicago (Honors Program), Saint Louis University, Middle Tennessee State University, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University, Missouri State University, University of Tulsa, and OTC.
What does it cost?
Becoming a Member of u.school costs $50/mo per student. This gives you access to our staff, our system, and our software for planning and recording your learning adventure. We also offer u.school-led Learning Opportunities. Those vary in cost depending on how long they run, how often they meet, and any additional costs involved. Click here for a list of current and planned Learning Opportunities.
Can I be a Member but not do any of the u.school-led Learning Opportunities?
If you would like to work with our staff to plan, map, and record your learning adventure but you aren't interested in any of the u.school-led activities, that is no problem. You can still be a full u.school member. We will still work with you to help identify Learning Opportunities and fit them into an overall plan.
Can I participate in u.school-led Learning Opportunities without joining as a member?
The u.school-led Learning Opportunities are open to anyone who would like to participate.
How old do I have to be to join u.school?
It is more a matter of maturity than age. If you are ready to take responsibility for your learning, work with adults who will serve as your peer guide rather than an authority figure, and if you are capable of recording and reflecting your learning, you are capable of succeeding in our system. Most of our current u.school-led Learning Opportunities are aimed at the middle school and high school ages. But that is a reflection of the ages of our current students.
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
u.school Mailing Address:
5333 S Woodfield Ave
Springfield, MO 65810