AltSchool Hub

First Look at AltSchool East Village

Posted by The AltSchool Team

Jun 17, 2016 9:32:30 AM

We recently put the finishing touches on AltSchool East Village, our newest school in New York City. We’ve created a responsive learning environment that will support each student’s process of self-discovery, giving them the tools and confidence to pursue their interests while building strong academic skills.

Our new Head of School, Alex Ragone, and the entire teaching team are excited to welcome new families this fall. Alex brings 18 years of experience teaching in and leading independent schools in New York City. He will join experienced AltSchool educators from our San Francisco and Brooklyn Heights schools -- Jaqi Garcia, Sophia Espinoza, and Jamie Stewart -- to start the inaugural year at AltSchool East Village.


Who we are - When designing the space, we always want to incorporate our learning cycle, milestones, values, and the people who make the school come alive. You will find pictures of our educators and students spread throughout the space, as well as visual representations of our learning cycle.


Flexibility - We understand that each child learns differently and that the learning environment plays an important role. There is consideration for different activities -- core skills, small group work and entire class projects. In our classrooms you will find moveable desks and walls, a place for morning meetings, and space for independent work. Over the course of each school year we make changes based on observation of our students as they grow and as discover themselves as learners.


Community - Experiencing and learning from the local community is an essential part of AltSchool’s educational approach. We reach out to local businesses and resources, and create lessons involving the unique elements of our locations. Students visit local parks or community gardens every day.


Documentation - Documentation of project work makes a school’s walls come to life. We’ve borrowed amazing projects from our Brooklyn Heights school to incorporate into the space. As the school year starts, we will begin to add new student work to the walls of each classroom.


Provocations - Adding provocations sparks delight, wonder and engagement in students. In AltSchool East Village there are prisms in the windows and hidden stickers for the students to find.


A message from our new Head of School, Alex Ragone: “I'm passionate about the idea of bringing student-centered, project based learning to a wider audience through AltSchool's microschool model. AltSchool East Village will be a school where students are empowered to become lifelong learners, critical questioners and solution finders. We will create deeply meaningful learning experiences for children and adolescents while building strong academic skills. We're going to start by getting to know each other, building a school community and exploring the local neighborhood. I can't wait to explore the East Village and the Lower East Side with the children!”

We are currently accepting applications for limited spots at AltSchool East Village for fall 2016.

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Topics: School, Meet the Team, Locations

Next Stop, Brooklyn

Posted by Max Ventilla

Nov 6, 2014 11:49:54 AM


View of New York City from the Greenway, Brooklyn Heights.

It’s official -- AltSchool is expanding beyond the Bay Area, and I am thrilled to announce that our next location will be in Brooklyn, NY.

A few questions have come up regarding this important step in AltSchool’s growth:

Why expand beyond the Bay Area?

With 4 locations around San Francisco, we are still new to the Bay Area, and we are excited to have built a community that will help us expand here. We continue to take advantage of all that the area has to offer us and our students, from incredible expert resources to local environments that foster AltSchool’s brand of interest driven, real-world learning.

Growing around San Francisco has demonstrated the value that an expanded network affords our community, which is why its time to go beyond the Bay area. I’ve spoken and written about the importance of scale at AltSchool and how growth will help us improve the education for all of our students. For many reasons, New York -- and more specifically, Brooklyn Heights (where we also keep our east coast AltSchool office), has become the logical next step.


Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights. AltSchool's newest location.

Why Brooklyn?

Anyone who lives around or who has spent time in Brooklyn knows about the active community there. In fact, there are many parallels that have been drawn between the communities in Brooklyn and San Francisco. Brooklyn families are interested in progressive education, in diversity, and in experiential learning.  Brooklyn itself is an incredibly rich environment; full of the types of local experts, resources and cultural experiences that have enabled AltSchool success in the Bay Area.

It should also be known that, when we asked our extended community where we should consider expanding outside of the Bay Area, Brooklyn raised their hand the highest. AltSchool is always looking for interested founding families to help us build new micro-schools and we will continue to strongly consider initial interest as we expand to more geographies.

What will AltSchool bring to Brooklyn?

The families we’ve spoken to in Brooklyn tell us they are ready for the kind of personalized, rigorous learning plans we are now known for in San Francisco.  We’ve already seen their interest in our whole child education, which incorporates aspects of social and emotional learning into every student activity and experience. They also tell us that demand far outweighs supply when it comes to quality K-8 schools in the area.

More broadly, AltSchool is excited to bring -- to Brooklyn and to all future locations -- the promise of the micro-school network experience. From a growing group of outstanding teachers that can tap each other for expertise, to centralized internal functions that do not need to be “dealt with” on an individual school level, there are so many benefits that a growing AltSchool network affords.  Beginning next fall, we can't wait to have Brooklyn part of that extended community of students, parents, and educators.

I invite you to take a look at our admissions calendar and submit an application to join us.


Mara Pauker, Head of AltSchool Brooklyn Heights.

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Topics: Learning in the Community, Locations