Reinventing education at AltSchool

- It was the first week of school for many in the tristate area, and the first time AltSchool the East Village opened its doors to students.

"The mission to impact education in a wider basis and making sure that every child has the opportunity to learn in a deep way," says Alex Ragone, head of AltSchool's East Village campus.

It's the second campus in New York. Last year AltSchool opened in Brooklyn Heights.

Jacqueline Johnny decided to enroll her 9-year-old son, George Daniel, this year. "Change it from the traditional chalk and talk to something different," she says.

Three years ago founder and former Google executive Max Ventilla decided to begin a pilot program in San Francisco with the idea of reinventing education.

"What you see here at AltSchool every day is this education about each child and it finds, it looks at them as a whole child more than what you would look at just an academic program," Ragone says. "We look at academics, we look at physical health, we look at social and emotional wellness. And so we call that whole-child learning and then we personalize education."

"Loved the fact they were going to use technology integrated into the education because my son is big on technology," Johnny said. "That's the is generation he's growing up in."

Ragone says the students are learning common core -- the same skills taught at a traditional school.  "our goal is to have independent learners," Ragone says.

The grades are broken up into age groups. The youngest is the foundational which are the 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds, lower elementary which are the second and third graders, and upper elementary which are the fourth and fifth graders. Tuition costs between $26,000 to $30,000 a year.

AltSchool has only been around for three years, but Ragone says it is working.

"Right now we are tracking with the progression and watching kids' development. We also do some standardized testing -- we use a computer-based computerized called map that allows us to track children's growth," Ragone says. "The idea is that we are going to build a program here and then start taking our technology and our tools and sharing them with third-party schools, which would be schools that use that technology and then continue to expand the network.

AltSchool will be expanding in 2017 when the middle school campus will open in Union Square.

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