The top floor of that building is occupied by Khan Academy. I actually used the bathroom at Khan Academy - and even that was a stimulating environment ...
They had a continuos loop of calming running water sound track playing in the bathroom.
At Khan Lab School there is an absence of direct instruction.
In keeping with Sal Khan's One World Schoolhouse philosophy, the school operates an extended year, extended day, mixed age program with collaborative, project-based learning approach.
The students do not have homework. There are no grade levels (per se). Progression is based on mastery.
The main focus is to leverage world class teacher-designers to build a community that encourages inquiry and self direction.
They apply their 4 A's framework:
- Approach: personalised, mastery based
- Architecture: concept of 'independence levels'(as the student's independence level increases the degree of teacher direction decreases), extended year & day, mixed age peer learning, portfolio assessment
- Art of Teaching: the recruitment process is incredibly rigorous
- Academic and Character outcomes.
Personalised goals are established with (for) each student and (through one of their platforms) these are shareable with parents and all teachers. Each independence level (approximately 20 students) is led by an 'advisor' and the advisor is supported by content specialists.
To progress to the next independence level the student requests to be assessed. Assessment comprises: teacher observation, personal reflection, parental input and satisfactory completion of a performance task.
The school maintains an alignment with mandated frameworks of the education system within which it operates (common core etc).
Development of staff is prioritised highly and deliberately and purposefully: in service days, half day collaboration every week, weekly meetings, one on one meetings.
If you have seen the movie the Matrix you'll remember the scene when Neo was awaiting his meeting with the Oracle - he is understanding that the constraints on hat is possible is limited by his thoughts - once he realises that the constraints that he thinks limit his power are not real he begins to realise that far more is possible than he had previously thought ...