Finally, a school my son could get excited about

February 5, 2011 at 9:19 am 51 comments

A friend of mine from NYC just sent me this article about a new charter school that has been approved for CPS.  It is a game-based theme, with digital media as an emphasis.  I can imagine this concept turns off some parents.  My son could spend every waking hour on an electronic device I didn’t cajole/trick/force him not to.   Maybe a school like this would be digital overload.  Or maybe it would help him embrace school a little more.  In any cases, it’s an interesting concept that I’ll probably keep my ears open about.  Looks like it’s part of CICS and one will be opening this Fall in the “Near North” neighborhood.

I was surprised that it will be for grades 6-12.  So that is middle/HS combined?  I wonder if there are any other Charters with that same span, and what the rationale is? Getting kids pre-high school so they’re up to speed when HS starts?

As a side note, for all my talk about my slacker, video-game-loving, school-hating boy, I’m proud (and shocked) to say that he brought home a straight A report card for the first time.  Even gym!  Somehow despite the complaining, screaming, writhing-on-the-floor-in-agony over homework, and daily protesting about the unfairness of school, he manages to pull it off in class.

2.1.11 | Quest to Learn is coming to Chicago. The Chicago Board of Education last week approved a bid for a new charter school that will immerse kids in hands-on learning, with digital media at its core. The school will open in fall 2011.


Photo courtesy of Quest to Learn.

Chicago Quest will extend the successful curriculum at Quest to Learn in New York, a public school that we’ve covered frequently on Spotlight. The curriculum is built around real world problem-solving and creativity. Games and game design are a central feature.

The school will use game design to teach students how to become systems thinkers. Games work as rule-based learning systems, creating worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking to make choices, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback, and consider the point of view of others. Students at Chicago Quest become both game designers and game players in their quest to learn.

Katie Salen, who founded the Quest to Learn in New York City and now serves as the school’s executive director of design, says the curriculum is designed to mimic the learning that takes place during game play – it is collaborative, inquiry based, and supports experimentation.

Lessons become “quests” and assignments become “missions.” Through interdisciplinary coursework, students become explorers, historians and evolutionary biologists as they record podcasts, film and edit video, design video games, and solve school-wide challenges. They also begin to understand how larger systems work—a critical thinking skill that will be invaluable in an increasingly complex world. From ant colonies to galaxies, our world is made up of simple and complex systems. Helping students understand how they function is an advanced method of teaching them how to think critically about knowledge, content and their world.

“Systems thinking,” Salen said in a recent interview on NPR, “gives you a tool to manage complexity. Because of the complexity of problems, if you’re not able to look at them as a system, you’re just going to look at a blur. You will just be overwhelmed by the complexity.”

Chicago Quest is one of three planned schools for grades 6 through 12 that will be run by the Chicago International Charter School (CICS) with support from the MacArthur Foundation. A founding principle of the school is that the students of today will soon be the scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, writers, designers and leaders of tomorrow. The goal of Quest to Learn is to educate children for college and career success in the 21st century.

Chicago Quest will join CCIS’s existing network of Chicago charter schools and will serve students from the city’s Near North and West side neighborhoods, as well as other communities.

In addition to the Institute of Play, which runs the New York City school, Chicago Quest will partner with organizations from around Chicago including DePaul University, YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Library, the Digital Youth Network and the newly formed Chicago Learning Network. The new campus is scheduled to open in August with more than 300 6th- and 7th-grade students.

More information is available at the CICS site:

The Chicago Board of Education approved the launch of CICS ChicagoQuest, an innovative, 21st-century-focused charter school opening in the Near North neighborhood this August and serving 6th and 7th graders in its first year – for more info, please visit external link or check out our fact sheet.

LOCATION:  The first Quest school will be located down near North/Clyborn in the previous Sojourner Truth building (I assume previous CPS location?)  This is just east of the British School and close to the old Cabrini Green area, I believe.


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Bet he has a much nicer office now… What’s good about CPS

51 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  February 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I think my husband will be trying to enroll himself here!

  • 2. Mich  |  February 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I think the concept is just like the concept of the Academic Center for all the reason described in the comments there. As for starting it in 6th grade, a lot of the K-8 have 6th graders start switching classrooms, so it makes as much sense as splitting off at 7th grade.
    As far as other charters starting in 6th, the one I know of on the North side is Chicago Math & Science Academy in Rogers Park. I assume there are at least a few others around the city.

  • 3. cps Mom  |  February 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    This also reminds me of a Chess Masters charter that was in the works a year or 2 ago. The theory being that game strategy promotes strong academics. Works for my son – he’s a gamer. Sounds like a good idea.

  • 4. LR  |  February 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Where is this school located?

  • 5. HSObsessed  |  February 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Very cool news! I just read an article in that CICS is opening a new 6-12 school this fall, but they didn’t specify the theme that will be used. The article did say that they will be in the building at 1443 N. Ogden, which is the area near Cabrini Green (what’s left of it), currently being used by Ogden International School’s 6th-9th graders. It’s very cool that they are going cutting edge and this will definitely appeal to many kids, but I wonder if parents will be afraid it’s not “academic” enough? Also, middle class parents have traditionally not flocked to charter schools, but I wonder if initiatives like this will make them reconsider.

    It looks like charters like the 6-12 school concept. Browsing through my CPS directory, I see about a dozen charter schools operating in that mode.

  • 6. Positive Parent  |  February 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Oh thank you so much for drawing attention to a CPS public school that is not a selective enrollment/ academic center. I truly (albeit possiblynaively) believe that there are options out there for my fabulous though not necessarily academically advanced 6th grader, if you know where to look. No, she may not be interested in gaming but she might thrive at Noble Street Charter School, Chicago Fine Arts High School, Northtown Academy, or another similiar locale.

    All of this talk about 1 B destroying you, or a seventh grader only getting 97% on the ISAT’s is terrifying to the parent of the average CPS student. Sure, there is a possibility my kid could get into an academic center or selective enrollment high school but I know her and would she really excel if the only reason she got in is that we lived in the right tier or happened to have a good test day?

    And if nothing turns up, I have my eyes set on the local all girls Catholic school. That threat, in and of itself, should get her studying next year !

  • 7. anonymous  |  February 8, 2011 at 10:28 am

    How would admissions work?

  • 8. adad  |  February 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

    #7 – You battle against other applicants online and the highest game scores get in!

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    @8, ha, that would be funny. Kinda cool though.

    I *think* charter school admission is via lottery, right?

    From the CICS site:
    Students are assigned to our campuses via a fair, random lottery, which ensures all students have an equal opportunity to enroll at the campuses of their parents’ or guardians’ choosing
    (I assume this means that there is no tier system at all… just pulling names from a hat?)
    But I feel like people on here have alluded to the fact that principals may have more loose (unregulated) discretion with these schools? I have no idea.

    My son thought it sounded interesting but only if some of his other friends would be going. That’s what depresses me about CPS… there’ll be no way to guarantee that he’d go this this school or even high school with any of his friends.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Can any of my fellow data geeks help interpret this? It says a whole lot of nuthin’ to me. What does it mean to say “the average student….” I feel like they should be reporting a percentage, like the rest of CPS does.

    At the very least it implies you want to wait for a charter school to be open 3+ year before you send your child, right?

    Q: What is the track record of CICS?

    Closed achievement gap at elementary campuses.
    • During the 09-10 school year, the average student who attended a CICS elementary campus that had
    been opened for 3 years or more was achieving at or above the national average as measured by the
    Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).

  • 11. anonymous  |  February 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    CPSobsessed. Thank you. I missed that. I’m glad my children aren’t ready, as I also would want to wait and see how the school performs before getting too excited.

  • 12. cps Mom  |  February 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    @9 – my son was one of 3 that got into the same high school. While he got along with the other 2, I wouldn’t say they were friends. He assimilated quickly and has a group of say 10 kids – all from different schools that he “hangs” with. He doesn’t even run into the other 2 kids from elementary. Given the various directions that his friends went (by choice or default) it is not likely that friends will be a factor in determining HS.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @12: I know you’re right… I’ve heard that from many parents. It’s just when I think about my “baby” walking into say, Lane Tech (God willing) on the first day not knowing a soul…… just seems scary. Or would have to me. But the good thing is that most everyone is in the same boat. It’s kind of like the first day of Kindergarten but the kids have more attittude.

  • 14. RL Julia  |  February 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    On the first day of school everyone is new and looking for a friend. It all works out.

    To translate your blurb – I believe that it means that if your child is going to a CICS Elementary school that has been open for three years or more, you could rightfully assume that your child has at least a 50% chance of testing as an average or above average learner as defined by the NWEA-MAP test (which seems to be akin the Terra Nova test and seems to be pretty well regarded). This was the one bit of disgruntlement I did find in my three minute Google search:

  • 15. mom2  |  February 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    @13 – just to ease your mind a bit more (even though you are far away from high school), I think the SE high schools (and maybe even others) do a great job of easing kids into the school and you would be surprised at how many students your child will know by the time school actually starts. There will be friends from sports teams, religious school, preschool, friends of friends, summer camps, etc. And then the schools usually have try-outs for various sports teams over the summer where your child can meet all kinds of kids with similar interests before school even starts. Then they have Freshman Connections over the summer where your child can tour the school, meet other students and even have upperclassmen as mentors. That is one thing I think they have very right. By the time my child started school, there was no fear at all.

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  February 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    About admissions: I believe charter schools have at times had trouble attracting enough students to fill their seats, but most of the time they have plenty of applicants, and they hold a random lottery, with no consideration of tiers or proximity.

    For Chicago Quest, however, Alderman Burnett is pressuring CICS to reserve 30 percent of the seats for “neighborhood” children, according to the Skyline article. “Neighborhood” is not defined more closely. But he specifically would like to make sure that children from the mixed income housing nearby, which has replaced Cabrini Green, are given an opportunity to attend.

  • 17. cps Mom  |  February 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    The last residents of Cabrini left months ago. Most relocated to the west side or even out of the city. There is no more Cabrini Green. Just to get a handle on the neighborhood – there is still some low income housing. Most of the kids living in the neighborhood go to LaSalle, Franklin and Newberry. I believe that there is only 1 neighborhood school left in the area and they are not operating to capacity. There are also a couple of other charter schools. The high school is Lincoln Park. The remaining residents, for the most part, are not gang bangers and have a pretty good educational background. Just bringing this up so that those interested aren’t scared off.

  • 18. bagg  |  February 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Hi all. I wasn’t sure where to post this info but I thought y’all would be interested. dd finished the last of the HS admissions tests this past Saturday. Thus far, dd has taken: ISEE, IOWA, ISAT, IB, Catholic, and SE tests. ISEE was the most difficult, while SE was easiest. Based on dd’s description of SE questions, I can understand how many kids can score very high. Feb 18 is the big day with all the notifications to be mailed out. Some of dd’s friends have already received acceptance from private HS due to their legacy involvement. I am soooo ready for this process to be over.

  • 19. jinny  |  February 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Charters are lottery. my children attend.
    They must show progress or they close. This progress must be demonstrated among children below, at and above grade level. They are a great selective enrollment alternative. My children were also accepted to local SE schools. We chose charter because they tailor learning to children’s level (even those above grade level), our children could all attend the same school (siblings guaranteed admittance) and they could attend with their neighborhood friends. For parents exploring public school options I would recommend touring CICS Bucktown and CICS Irving Park. Many parents at our school chose CICS over SE schools including Edison, Pritzger, Bell, Skinner North, Skinner West & Coonley.

  • 20. StressedOut  |  February 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Jinny – I’m curious in what made the parents choose CICS over the SE schools.

  • 21. coonleymom  |  February 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    #20-I have written about this before, so sorry if I repeat. I have one child in the gifted program at Coonley, and a child at CICS-Irving Park, K class. I love Coonley, and it is a great fit for my older son, I am also a big fan of CICS. My K son got into Skinner North but after touring CICS and talking with neighbors who were also turning down SE schools, we all decided to keep our kids together and create a “neighborhood” school with CICS. We were fortunate that all 8 K kids in our neighborhood got in and we figured this chance may not happen again! My husband and I could not be happier. Our son is excelling at the school, and he receives all the benefits that our 2nd grader at Coonley has received. Since he is advanced in Math, they are giving him special assignments and 1-1 lessons during class. They have helped him move from a 1st to a 4th grade math level! I mention this to point out that they don’t settle, they keep pushing him, as long as he is comfortable doing the work. No matter where your child starts out at the beginning of the year (they assess each child in the summer), they must show advancement through the year for the school to stay open. So if your child is excelling, they still must show advancement. And if your child is struggling in a certain subject, they will create a curriculum specifically to help the child improve. We feel very lucky to have him in a school with all his friends, and have teachers that really care about each student. Another plus, he goes to school 7.5 hours of school a day, my 2nd grader goes 5.45. I think they figured out that if your child goes to a Charter school k-12th, it adds up to something like 4 more years of school than regular CPS schools. We feel very fortunate that we found great CPS schools for both our boys-but what a stressful process to go through-totally understand why people move to the burbs!

  • 22. StressedOut  |  February 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    coonleymom – Thanks for the reply. 4th grade math, that’s awesome. I also didn’t know that charter schools were in class for 7.5 hours a day. Personally I think CPS students are not in front of teachers enough, so that’s good to hear.

    Has anyone else heard or had a similar experience?

  • 23. jinny  |  February 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    @20. The single biggest reason I chose CICS over SE was the differentiated learning. My child was 3 years ahead in reading before entering K (late birthday, so older and had 3 years of pre-k). Regional school curriculum is 2 years ahead. Would my child be challenged? I asked the CICS administration if they could accommodate and challenge my child who was 3 years ahead. They promised they would and have kept their promise.
    On the flip side, what if my child wasn’t always ahead in a subject? What if she slowed progress to a different level a couple of years down the road? I didn’t like the one curriculum level for the entire class for the entire elementary education.
    Also, I think CICS is still a hidden gem, so it’s not carpet-bombed with applicants. It’s families that believe in the model and want to be there. Many neighborhood friends also attend. I also love that all my children will be at the same school, with shared childhood experiences (one drop off without bussing is also a plus). Both my children were accepted to SE programs, but not the same ones – they would now be at different schools.
    Diversity is important to me. I like the diversity of skill level among classmates/friends as well.

  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Boy oh boy.. I’m sold! This is really interesting feedback about CICS. Please don’t tell any of your friends or neighbors. 🙂

  • 25. CICS  |  February 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

    All CICS campuses are not the same. The people above are lucky to be at some of the better performing campuses. Many of the CICS campuses are not making AYP and have some very low ISAT scores. ISBE lumps them all together so that as a whole it would seem like CICS is not a good school. Parents should really investigate the campus they are interested in before applying to the schools. CPS’ REA website has the individual campus scores.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Good point, CICS. I think tht hearing from parents whose kids have been in a CICS school for a few years would help build confidence as well, to ensure that it’s an overall theme of tailored learning, as opposed to a few really good teachers.
    Like much of CPS, I’m sure the school results vary based on the socio-economic makeup of the school population.

  • 27. coonleymom  |  February 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I can only speak for CICS-Irving Park, b/c I do not have any experience with the other campuses. Some kids in our neighborhood have been at the school for 2 years now. We have 3 different K classrooms/teachers (one moved, so now on 4th), and 2 different 1st grade teachers. We all decided not to get our kids tested again this year, we are going to stay at CICS b/c we are very happy-I think this shows a pattern of committed, excellent teachers, and not just few really good teachers. Hope this helps anyone considering taking a tour at the Irving Park Campus.

  • 28. jinny  |  February 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Good point on the campus/location.
    While the CICS website states that 8 out of 9 elementary schools are meeting target (, I can only speak to the CICS Irving Park campus from my own experiences with 4 different teachers. What I do know about teachers overall at CICS Irving Park is that many are from Teach For America (highly selective program) and all have masters degrees. The school day is 8:00 – 3:30 everyday but Wednesdays, which ends at 1:50. All teachers spend Wednesday afternoons in teacher development sessions, every week. Also, you can check out CICS individual campus ratings by parents now at (this is new, within the last couple of weeks). I think that we all benefit from having other great CPS options. It’s good that there are different options for all of us to choose from (there is little choice in the suburbs). I again encourage parents searching for a school to tour CICS Irving Park and CICS Bucktown and decide for themselves.

  • 29. jinny  |  February 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    sorry – it is (not .com like my previous post says- sorry)

  • 30. To Jinny  |  February 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I think you mean

  • 31. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

    For anyone still following this thread, the CPS board yesterday approved the establishment of attendance boundaries for Chicago Quest. The Trib and Sun-TImes articles didn’t include any details about the boundaries but they did say that 9 other charters in the city have attendance boundaries, and that in those schools, kids in the boundaries get dibs on 30 to 100 percent of the seats available. (THe board also established boundaries for two of the Noble St. high schools: Chicago Bulls and UIC.)

  • 32. tk  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I’m definitely still following this thread as I have a son who has decided that this sounds like his dream school. :-}

    I wonder how these boundaries will impact us. Do you have any idea how large the boundaries typically are? I tried looking on both the CICS site and the Noble St. sites to see if I could find any mention of boundaries, but I couldn’t (but I may just not be looking in the right place). Thanks!

  • 33. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    This is the first I’ve heard about any charters having boundaries for a proximity lottery, so it’s all new to me. I will research all this a little more and post back if I learn anything.

    I agree this school seems really exciting, and I hope it gets a great diverse pool of students, and does really well. If I were 12 years old, I’d certainly want to attend.

  • 34. tk  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks! Anything you find out would be greatly appreciated!

    My son has been homeschooled up until this point (he’s in 5th) and has decided to try “real” school next year 🙂 His sister started at our neighborhood school this year and absolutely loves it. But it’s a performing arts magnet, and he would prefer to find something that is more “him”. We have him entered in the lottery for several cps schools, but when he read about this one, he was totally sold. He’s still somewhat excited about his original choices, but this is the one he really wants to try. It’s a little scary thinking about sending him to a brand new school, with such a different concept…. but homeschooling him this far has been quite an adventure, so what’s one more, right?

  • 35. cpsobsessed  |  February 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Quest now has a place to sign up for information going forward.
    Scroll to the far right and there is an email sign-up.
    Applications for the 2011/2012 school year are due April 8th.

  • 36. tk  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I just got the newsletter thing from ChicagoQuest and I’m a little depressed. The proposed attendance boundaries look HUGE to me (maybe they aren’t really, they just seem that way). I just don’t understand why there are attendance boundaries on a charter school. I guess I’m just a little down right now because my son really wants to go here and it seems like his chances just took a big hit.

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    @tk: Are you applying for this year?
    I just emailed with the director, who I’m going to speak with next week and she feels that this year there are very good chances for entry since the school was late in the game for the application period.
    Also, the neighborhood boundaries are not certain and even if they are, the number of 6th and 7th graders within those boundaries is relatively small. So that’s good news! I’ll make a new post after I talk with her.

  • 38. tk  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for the information! Yes, we applied for this year. My son will be going into 6th grade in the fall. I hope he has a good shot at a spot since this school has been all that he’s talked about since he first heard about it. I look forward to hearing whatever else you find out!

  • 39. HSObsessed  |  March 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Article about Quest in today’s Tribune:,0,2602945.story

  • 40. HSObsessed  |  March 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Ugh, be sure to check out the comments under the article as well, although be forewarned they’re nearly all negative. People seem to be so afraid of new ways of teaching, new ways of learning. Luckily, maybe this will translate to fewer applicants, so tk son will get a spot!

    Also, could you describe what the proximity boundaries are? I wish their website were easier to navigate and had more updates, especially for a school that is billing itself as being cutting edge.

  • 41. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Click to access re-imagining-learning-mcarthur-foundation.pdf

    Learn more about Quest March 31.

  • 42. tk  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    HSObsessed… thanks for the link to the article! Loved reading the comments! I agree… people do seem to really fear new ways of doing things. I also think they are quick to jump to conclusions. I never got the impression from anything that I’ve read that the kids would be off working alone on a computer with no interaction with “professional and responsible” adults. Also, they seem to be missing the point this school is not for everyone, which is why it is a charter school versus a neighborhood school. My daughter would so not enjoy this type of environment, she definitely enjoys the more traditional school setting (and is thriving at our neighborhood school). But this school “speaks” to my son, he is fired up beyond belief that he might get to go there and be around kids who enjoy this type of stuff as much as he does (much like my daughter enjoys the performing arts aspect of her school). This school is a choice, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t apply… but if it does… what a great opportunity!

    My son and I are heading to the open house tomorrow night. We’re very excited to see more and actually get to talk to people about it.

    I have an email with an attachment that shows the boundaries (not sure if it’s posted online or not) but it looks to be basically bound by North Ave. at the top… the river on the west and south…. and the lake on the east. The most recent communication doesn’t mention the boundaries and my email with questions regarding the boundaries hasn’t been answered yet.

  • 43. tk  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    totally bummed…. just got an email regarding the event tomorrow night that they have exceeded capacity and will not be able to attend. i send in our rsvp yesterday. that stinks.

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Oh no! I didn’t realize it could sell out. I was just making plans to go (last minute as usual.)
    I am about to make a new post on Quest and based on my notes there is an open house on April 6th, location TBD.

  • 45. tk  |  March 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    The note said you would be put on a wait list, but I’m assuming that at this late date, people will probably just not show up rather than formally cancel.

    I had no clue it would fill up as well. The poor boy was so excited about checking things out tomorrow night! And honestly, so was I!

    I would love to know more about the open house, if you find out more info. Thanks!

  • 46. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I’ll let you know about April 6th. It sounds like an open house might be better suited for a kid to attend than this 3/31 event.

  • 47. HSObsessed  |  July 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I just saw that ChicagoQuest has a new blog with tons of pics and information about the new principal, staff, plans for the school.

    They are still recruiting 6th and 7th graders, with open houses every Wednesday evening. This new school seems like a fantastic opportunity for kids with any interest in video games, game design, graphics, or just alternative learning beyond sitting in a classroom. My personal experience with video games ended with Pac Man, but I still would love to be in middle school again and join up with this new venture.

  • 48. Sasha  |  January 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    My friend just pulled her son out of this school. Stay away. They are having many discipline issues, fights, teachers are not able to control the environment and with the longer school day, this could be a problem.

  • 49. tk  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

    My son is at CQ and I would encourage people to take a look at this school versus warning them to stay away. Yes, there were fights and discipline issues… especially in the very beginning. But it’s a start-up, brand new school, with a very diverse and, at the time, unknown student population. It took some time to sort things through, both on the side of the staff and the students. My son loves it there. The type of education he’s getting there is really amazing. He has true ownership of his educational path and I find that refreshing. I love that the work that the do there has context and meaning (they work in terms of missions and quests versus chapters in a text book). He really loves the type of work that they’re doing there. Their last day of school before winter break was the 23rd of December… he came home that very night and worked several hours on his project, and even worked several more hours Christmas Eve. They were working on designing video games and he was just so fired up about it! The teachers are amazing… it’s not unheard of for me to get a random email during the day from a teacher saying something like “he’s doing great in class today”. I never get updates like that from my daughter’s traditional school. I like that they get progress reports instead of grades… they totally spell out subsection, by subsection where they are on the path of what they are expected to know by the end of the year, mission or trimester (depending on the class). I was really impressed with our student lead conference at the end of first trimester. Our son had to explain to us, class by class, how he was doing. He also had to explain his two goals he had set for himself for the next trimester. They have them focus on two goals… one academic and one social/emotional goal. I like that they’re educating the whole child. Nothing is ever perfect, there are up days and down days, but overall, it really is an amazing school worth looking at… knowing that they are still some growing pains that they’re going through (and will continue for a while)… but for your child it might be worth the investment.

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