What education model do you follow?
We've developed IOS to be a democratic, progressive model of education. We do not subscribe to any one model. We have researched and participated in various models of education and to date have not found one singular model that we think best provides for the individual development of students. Many models come very close, and we appreciate and utilize components of what those models offer. We believe that children need an educational environment that values their uniqueness, supports their strengths, provides for connection to the natural world, honors their ability to know who they are, celebrates the power of choice, supports their growth in self and community, and commits to nurture their overall development as a contributing human being. Students participate in cooperative and collaborative hands on learning, integrated project based thematic instruction, and independent study. Reading and Writing Workshop format helps students develop and hone the tools they need to become independent learners as well as math classes and math integration through sewing, cooking, gardening, shop and art. Natural Science is hands on and begins at the campus labratory level on our 7.28 acres and extends out as students grow to embrace our wider community and our state regions. Classes democratically select special topics of study to pursue as a whole group initially, and then work in cooperative small groups, culminating finally with an independent study project in the last trimester, which is celebrated by the community on Expo Day at the end of the school year.
What is an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP)?
The ILP is a plan that is developed for a student at an Inquiry Quest (IQ) Meeting by the IQ Team. The team consists of the student, the student’s parents/guardian, and a mentor teacher. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information about the student’s wants, needs, and interests. A series of inquiry questions will guide the development of a learning plan for the student to be implemented with the assistance of all team members. The ILP will be reviewed, amended, or redesigned each semester to best meet the needs of the student. It may also occur that another IQ Meeting is called to adjust the plan per request of a member of the team.
Are you a non-profit?
Inside Outside School (IOS) was founded in 2010. IOS is currently a privately owned small business and we are currently reviewing the process of becoming a 501(c)(3) organization. We are a member school of the Education Transformation Alliance , a coalition of small alternative schools in the Austin area.
What about children with special needs and/or disabilities?
IOS is committed to equality in educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees based on race, national origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. IOS welcomes any applicant who is interested in our school, and we seriously consider whether we are the right school environment for each student. We are not equipped to provide special services for students with severe learning disabilities or severe emotional or behavioral issues. We do not currently have the resources necessary to help these students reach their full human potential for greatness.
How about lunch?
At IOS we believe our brain and our body are dependent on proper nutrition and hydration. Our emotional equilibrium is affected by what we consume. In order to maintain optimal growth and an optimal school experience, we have the following policies:
- Students bring a lunch and snack from home daily. We do not provide food other than that which is prepared in culinary classes.
- Students may not bring sodas or energy drinks to school.
- Students may not bring candy to school.
- Food brought for snacks may not contain sugar or caffeine.
- A dessert item may be brought to enjoy after lunch.
- All students are expected to have a water bottle at school daily.
What is your philosophy on technology?
I have never seen my concerns about children and technology better expressed than in Chapter 4: Take Back the Afternoon, of David Sobel's book, Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. It is a good read. At the end of the chapter, David shares the suggestion for parents to limit the amount of screen time to 3 hours per week. We do not have a technology taboo as part of our school culture, but I strongly advocate for the 3 hours a week maximum. We see a huge difference in a student whose family has reasonable limits for screen time and those who spend 4 hours a day playing video games. I feel that this unlimited access is counter productive to what we are trying to create as a school community. At the end of the day it is the family's responsibility to make this decision, and....children need to be outside.
When you see our campus, you will understand. Nature literacy and place-based learning are all about location. We intentionally chose these grounds because they provide for real world, relevant learning opportunities in environmental science, sustainablity, daily interaction with animals and nature, various classrooms that include indoor and outdoor spaces, large and small gathering spaces, the workshop, the art studio, culinary classes and much more. We encourage you to come out and visit to truly get an understanding of our community. We are just about 15 to 20 minutes from central Austin. Daily transportation is also offered for students during the school year.