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Can we reimagine education this school year?

Have you seen this alarming stat on student engagement?

  • In fifth grade, 74% of students are engaged in their learning.
  • By their senior year of high school, it’s only 34%.

No wonder 70% of parents say we need to reimagine education. What’s remarkable is that so many are actually trying to do it themselves!

Did you catch that? Stand Together partners have funded 1,600 inspiring programs helping 6 million kids. They’re providing the kind of individualized education that keeps students engaged and excited to learn.

Kelly Smith is behind one of those programs. He’s a parent who saw that his kid needed help.

Kelly’s wife saw it firsthand when she sat in on Mollie’s class. Their daughter was “timid, withdrawn, afraid.”

Kelly was devastated. He wanted to help Mollie go from being a “passive vessel” to an active learner – not just memorizing things for tests but excited to learn for the rest of her life.

Now he’s making it happen – for Mollie and thousands of others.

Many of the innovative educational programs featured in the video above are VELA Education Fund grant recipients. Learn more about VELA at VelaEdFund.org.

Macro Impact from Microschools

The video below features Kelly telling his story at a recent Stand Together event:

Kelly founded Prenda, which helps set up tuition-free microschools. 300 Prenda microschools are in five states educating nearly 3,000 students.

  • Prenda microschools educate 5-10 students at a time, at no cost to parents. Using a unique curriculum and approach, Prenda microschools are tailored to the needs and learning styles of each learner.
  • Each Prenda microschool is facilitated by an adult guide who facilitates individualized learning pathways for students.
  • Through partnerships with public school and charter school districts, Prenda is able to offer tuition-free microschooling.

Prenda students are doing great on the usual academic measures. But most importantly, they’re becoming lifelong learners – capable of realizing their potential.

Kelly puts it this way:

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

What Can ALL Changemakers Learn From This?

  • Be the change you seek in the world. Parents and teachers saw a problem in education. They’re not waiting for others to solve it. They’re rolling up their sleeves and driving the change they want to see from the bottom up.
  • Measure what matters. Mollie was doing well memorizing facts for tests. Meanwhile – going undetected – she was losing her curiosity and confidence. Now she’s in a school that values personal growth and mastery. And it’s transforming her life.
  • Don’t be one-size-fits-all. Kelly encourages a diversity of approaches, so long as they all stay true to principles of individualized learning at their core. Now that parents, students, and teachers see a better way, they can’t get enough of it. That’s the key to scaling.

Those are the lessons that jumped out to me. What else do you think we can learn from this parent-led movement in education and Kelly’s story? I’d love to include your top insights in a future newsletter, so please share here or by replying directly to this message.

Clay Broga

Stand Together

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