Fostering a learner-driven community
Empowering students to lead.
Learning to Do & Learning to Be
Hands on learning for 21st century skills
Find a calling. Change the world.
Contributing to our global community.
Making a commitment
Joining a team.
Pursuing your passions
Exploring your potential.
NOLA Micro Schools
We believe all students are gifted with the potential to change the world.
We know that every student and parent/guardian that comes through our doors should be inspired and supported to realize their potential to change the world and that doing so in a diverse environment enriches the experience for all.
NOLA Micro Schools was created with the common belief that we need more schools in New Orleans, whose drive to excellence is powered by the unique passions, talents, struggles and curiosities of its student body. Our commitment is to provide each of those students with the means necessary to discover their own personal potential and to grow in their sense of self as they understand their abilities to be lifelong learners and changers of the world.
We prepare our students to pursue their passions and their creativity through a blending of state-of-the-art software, quest-like projects with real-world applications, Socratic discussions and apprenticeships in diverse, student-centered, multi-age classrooms.
We are committed to creating an intentionally diverse school and community, because we firmly believe that we all learn better in a diverse environment. We strive to support our students as they learn how to cultivate empathetic relationships that empower them to intentionally collaborate as they change the world.
Creating a community within our doors
We strongly believe in developing closely connected families of lifelong learners and that clear contracts/covenants between parents and students make a far more effective learning community.
We believe in transparency between the school and the families we serve. Parent and student feedback surveys will be collected weekly as well as more extensive satisfaction surveys at the end of each semester.
We live in a beautiful creative city that is full of experts in all fields, and we want our students to have the opportunity to explore their expertise firsthand. We foster an environment in which our students can learn from local experts in their space and host those experts within our community as well. This allows our students to create real-world hands-on learning and to build relationships and interests that can turn into student led internships and eventually apprenticeships.
We are committed to student-driven education, supported by the latest technology and cognitive science, to help each student master core skills, discover and develop his or her talents and gifts, and establish a learning trajectory they will never outgrow.
Our project-based curriculum helps students not only “learn to know”, but also “learn to do” and “learn to be”.
We will use:
We have opened our application process! Please follow the link above to apply. Also, please continue to review our website and related links to learn more about our vision. Please feel free to email us with any questions/concerns you may have!
We will be receiving applications, 2nd - 7th grade, for the 2016-2017 school year on a rolling basis.
Our plan is to grow up through 12th grade one year at a time.
Check out some of the fun things we have been up to!
Fall Kick-Off Event
Thursday, August 11, 5:30 - 7pm
When: Thursday, August 11, 5:30 - 7pm
Where: NOLA Micro Schools (1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., Second Floor)
What: Join us to see our new location, meet community partners and grab a bite to eat!
Q: How is NOLA Micro Schools different?
A: NOLA Micro Schools is fundamentally different from traditional schools. No bells ring, and there are no lectures. Students are in control of their own learning.
Students will have:
Q: What does a typical day at NOLA Micro Schools look like?
A: A typical school day includes a Socratic discussion to launch and close the day, independent core skills work (math, reading, writing), real-world group projects (starting a business, publishing a book, building wind turbines), and P.E., art, music or other enrichment class.
Q: Is NOLA Micro Schools a Montessori school?
A: While NOLA Micro Schools respects and uses Montessori principles in some of its practices, it is not a pure Montessori school. NOLA Micro Schools combines Montessori tenets with project-based learning, the Socratic method, and the latest in educational software. To ensure that NOLA Micro Schools is meeting parents' and students' expectations, we will conduct parent and student satisfaction surveys weekly.
Q: What do you mean by "every child is a genius"?
A: At NOLA Micro Schools, we encourage students to adopt a “growth mindset” rather than a “fixed mindset.” Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence is an inborn trait. You’re either a “genius” or you’re not. In contrast, those with a growth mindset believe they can develop their intelligence over time. This can lead to profoundly different behaviors. For instance, children who believe intelligence is fixed often value looking smart above all else, avoid taking risks, and fear failure. Children with a growth mindset view challenging work as an opportunity to grow and view failure as a an opportunity to learn. At NOLA Micro Schools, we define “genius” as intelligent behaviors in pursuit of personal goals. Every child can be ingenious in overcoming obstacles and solving problems to pursue his or her own path. For more on the growth mindset, see Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s article “Even Geniuses Work Hard” or her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Q: What do you mean by "every child can change the world"?
A: Every one of our students will find a calling, something they love and are good at. This may be becoming a teacher who sees the light in all children’s eyes and guides them to pursue their dreams, a parent who leads his or her children on a hero’s journey, a business person who is guided by compassion and integrity, or an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives. We can’t tell you how your child will change the world. We can only help our students find their calling and set them on their journey.
Q: What is a "learner-driven community"?
A: Acton founder Jeff Sandefer coined the term “learner-driven community,” and we think it captures the two most important aspects of our school. First, we are self-directed, meaning that kids are in charge of their own learning. Second, we are a community of learners in which students are bound together by their pledge to hold themselves and each other to high standards.
Q: What is an independent learner?
A: An independent learner can follow instructions, research questions, solve problems, participate in discussions, and strive for mastery. Perhaps most importantly, an independent learner can figure out a solution to a roadblock without asking an adult for help. Elementary school students work toward becoming independent learners, and earning an independent learner badge is the final step before moving on to middle school.
Q: What is the Socratic method and why do we use it?
A: In the Socratic method, a teacher serves as a guide, setting up scenarios and asking questions to stimulate critical thinking and independent learning. NOLA Micro Schools uses the Socratic method rather than lectures because through discussions and actively making arguments to support their beliefs, students gain a better understanding of a topic than by passively taking notes during a lecture.
Q: What grade levels does NOLA Micro Schools offer?
A: We plan to start the 2015-2016 school year by serving second through sixth grades in one class. As students age up, we plan to offer additional grade levels and eventually open a middle school and high school.
Q: Will students at NOLA Micro Schools be grouped by grade level?
A: We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves. In addition to individual study, all ages of students will work together in groups.
Q: How will my child stay on task in a self-directed environment?
A: A student’s ability to set and track goals in order to evaluate progress is essential to success in a student-driven, individualized learning program. Students need a lot of practice setting specific, measurable goals that are challenging but realistic.
Our students set weekly and daily goals, track progress, and establish a rhythm of meeting with peers to hold each other accountable. In addition, students will develop an agreement with the guides to set boundaries for acceptable behavior and rules for engagement in the classroom.
We believe that learning to set goals and challenging yourself are critical skill for the real world. For more on this, see “Creating a Culture of Accountability” by Acton Academy founding teacher Kaylie Reed.
Q: How much homework will there be?
A: We believe that children need time to play, relax, and be with family and friends. There will not be any homework assigned.
Q: How does NOLA Micro Schools track progress without grades?
A: NOLA Micro Schools tracks progress through student portfolios, learning exhibitions, peer reviews, goal monitoring, online dashboards, learning badges, and a once-a-year standardized test. For more on how we track progress, see “How do I know if my child is growing morally and intellectually?” by Acton founder Laura Sandefer.
Q: What is mastery learning?
A: In the traditional educational model, a certain amount of class time is devoted to a particular topic or concept; when that time is over, the entire class moves on, despite widely varying degrees of mastery over the material. In contrast, with mastery learning, students proceed at varying rates toward the same level of mastery. The curriculum is not structured in terms of time, but in terms of target levels of comprehension and achievement. We use a mastery learning approach to core subjects such as math, reading, and writing. For more on mastery learning, watch “Sal Khan on Digital and Physical Learning” or read “5 Myths about Mastery-Based Learning.”
Q: How do our students compare on standardized tests?
A: While we dislike standardized tests, all students take the Stanford Achievement Test Series once each year to benchmark their progress in terms comparable to other schools. Students who have been at Acton Academy in Austin through elementary school (and are now in middle school there) are on average 5.7 grade levels above age in reading and 5.6 grade levels above age in math.
Q: Does NOLA Micro Schools serve special needs children?
A: Unfortunately, we are not equipped to serve children who need specialized attention because of serious learning or behavioral challenges.
Q: What about college prep?
A: Our mission is to help students find their calling. We believe this will prepare your child to succeed at the most elite universities, and if your child’s journey takes him or her to college, we will be supportive. However, if your child chooses an alternative path, we will be equally supportive.
Q: Is NOLA Micro Schools a religious school?
A: No. We are not a religious school, though we do expose children to religion in our study of civilization.
Q: When will we open?
A: NOLA Micro Schools will open for the 2015/2016 school year in August 2015.
We recommend the following resources:
Support our community.
NOLA Micro Schools is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and your donation will be tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Checks can be mailed to our office at:
NOLA Micro Schools
643 Magazine Street,
New Orleans, LA 70125
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