There are many politics - local, racial, financial, union - to redesigning or building a school. We worked for two years with local community partners, and they have been invaluable to making our vision a reality. Collaborating with your community is critical.
When starting or redesigning a school, don't work in a vaccuum. Use resources that already exist. We actively encourage schools to use our open source materials (curriculum, schedule, VR courses) and use them as much as possible. Founding a school is very tricky and we want to make the process simpler for fellow educators.
Taking strategies to scale: WLA is trying to break the barriers to scale and growth that other charters haven't yet been able to overcome. The problem is schools rely too much on singularly amazing human capital. And without an evergrowing supply of exceptional human capital, the model can't successfully scale. So we went back to the drawing board to figure out how to overcome this. At WLA, we've launched with high-quality teachers but created a way to have an exceptional school without exceptional teachers in every class. Blended learning and virtual reality allow make this possible. Specifically, we're capturing every class at WLA in 360 film with the plan to edit, archive and share online to create a library of lessons, delivered by our outstanding faculty and accessible with virtual reality technology, that any school, anywhere can use. Our hope is that millions of kids in the world will be able to take these high-quality courses in 360 virtual reality.
Washington Leadership Academy is an open-enrollment public charter high school in the heart of Washington, D.C. WLA aims to reimagine high school education in America with a unique personalized learning model, an innovative mandatory technology curriculum, a blended-learning approach, and service-learning opportunities in American government to give its students an immersive experience in the democratic process. WLA’s mastery-based academic model will leverage state-of-the-art technology to provide rigorous and personalized learning experiences while producing top tier academic and civic content to share with the world. Students will graduate from WLA prepared for college, career, and lives of public leadership. WLA's inaugural 9th grade class started August 2016.
WLA also outsources all of their academic content, sharing their curriculum on a creative commons license via Github.
Contact: Jordan Budisantoso
Contact Title: Computer Science Teacher & Technology Coordinator
Washington Leadership Academy
3015 4th Street Northeast
Washington, District of Columbia
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