Galileo Welcomes Younger Learners

by John M. McLaughlin, Ph.D.

While the inaugural year of Galileo Preparatory Academy focused on middle and high school learners, the core philosophy of Galileo is equally beneficial to younger learners as well.

Galileo was founded on the experiences Mark Claypool and I have accumulated regarding the accommodations offered in mainstream education to facilitate learning for children with special needs and the modification of attendance requirements, a focus on mastery learning, and other flexibilities enacted to encourage at-risk teens to complete high school. It’s simple, the learning opportunities provided to students with special needs and those at risk of school failure can be and should be available to all students whether they are six or sixteen. In short, personalization is the core philosophy for Galileo.

A student should not have to fall into one of thirteen special education categories in order to receive a custom designed education. And a student should not have to be at risk of quitting school before reasonable accommodations are made to support the journey to graduation. Special education and at-risk programming are positive developments created to recognize the individual needs of learners, and the benefits, the customization, and the parental involvement they incorporate should be available to all students.

Unfortunately, most students (about seventy percent of learners) who are neither in special education nor at-risk of dropping out become part of the mainstream and are expected to go with the flow and obtain an education taught to the mean with little accommodation for those who can go faster or those who need to go slower. Teaching to the mean results in innumerable learners bored or floundering – never getting what they truly need. And this antiquated model of delivering education still dominates across our country.

But Galileo goes further than just personalizing the academic program for its learners; Galileo accommodates family schedules and family values, focuses on student agency via such tools as pacing guides and student-led conferences, intelligently uses technology and remote learning, blends individual exploration and group growth, and nurtures a culture of acceptance, understanding, and service. These and other Galileo characteristics are modified for younger learners – more structure, less technology, no remote learning – in an atmosphere fully committed to academic advancement, individual exploration, and group engagement.

Galileo is excited to add a focus on younger learners beginning September 2023. It makes sense for the foundational reasons noted above, it enables Galileo to share its qualities of goodness with more families, and it allows learners, whether six or sixteen, to attend a school designed for the future.

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