Mission Accomplished & New Goals Set

September 3, 2019

Our three commitments to families (love of school, 2x learning, and life skills) headline every year. However, one specific goal last year was to increase academic rigor while maintaining a love of school. Mission accomplished: 98% of our students reported “loving school” even as they completed twice the academic work they did the previous year. Furthermore, year-to-year MAP testing provided clear evidence that our adaptive app-driven model leads to increased academic growth and achievement.

By May 2019, Alpha swelled past 80 students and did so with a staff comprised of 75% newcomers. Here are some highlights covering what we have learned and where we are going:

Focused work for 25 minutes per subject per day produces strong MAP growth and achievement scores.

  • Increasing rigor means spending just minutes more working on a subject. (read: Spend 10 more minutes a day on science and you will see great results)
  • MAP testing is an invaluable tool for understanding student progress and developing personalized learning pathways.
  • Our app-based learning model allows guides to optimize for building great workshops and teaching life skills.
  • Regularly varying out motivational models keeps kids engaged in their academic work.
  • A consistent daily schedule has a strong positive impact on students.
  • Kids love leaderboards for apps and points.
  • Kids love having a choice in workshops and getting to rank their top picks.
  • Healthy schools have student retention of 90%. Alpha’s student retention: 96%. Current families are happy with Alpha.
  • Alpha’s reputation in Austin is growing. We will be over 100 students for the 2019–2020 school year.
  • To share the full list of learnings, I’d have to write a novel. Learning leads to new questions. Some of them are large: How do we best teach kids to consistently strive for excellence? Some of them are smaller: How do we get kids to come to school with a water bottle? (Yes — that is a hint!)

We’re hard at work using what we learned in the past year to continue to deliver on our goal of building the best, most innovative educational program.