The Silicon Valley startup AltSchool spent the just-completed school year test-driving its personalized learning software in a handful of elite private schools — including two in Florida.
When the company first announced its plans to expand beyond a handful of pricey private schools it operated itself, it pledged to gradually extend its reach into a more diverse cross-section of institutions, including public school districts. This week, it announced plans to do just that, starting with a handful of additional schools and districts around the country.
AltSchool also announced its existing partner schools, including Temple Beth Sholom Day School in Miami Beach and the Greene School in West Palm Beach, have signed on for another year. Another Florida institution, Jacksonville Beach’s Discovery School, is joining its roster.
Here’s how the company describes its work:
As a public benefit corporation and a Certified B Corporation, AltSchool is one of a new class of for-profit companies that provide a positive impact on society and must meet high standards of social and environmental good. Its team of educators and engineers are working together to design an operating system for education. The platform runs behind the scenes to empower real-world learning between teachers and students — helping teachers key-in on individual student needs, letting students manage day-to-day activities and long-term goals, and providing parents visibility into their children’s progress.
Truly personalized learning is going to require more than an operating system. It’s also going to require systemic change. The company is focusing on cutting-edge private schools at first, in part because they provide environments that are naturally receptive to its so-called “Montessori 2.0” approach. It’s worth asking what it will take to make similar learning experiences available to all children — including those in the public system.