Location: Public spaces in Austin
Students served: Ages 14–15 (grade 9)
Current enrollment: 1 (growing to a maximum of 8)
Model/philosophy: Ignite, a learning model and microschool, combines proven theory in human behavior with new methodology to explore equitable solutions to structural issues in the education system. Students use public spaces to identify multiple environments that elicit inspiration. They focus entirely on the mastery of a skill/content before moving to another skill or new content. They are not pressured by the timeline of the syllabus but are focused on laying the necessary groundwork for educational retention.
Special features: Students meet weekly to collaborate in public spaces (determined by Ignite students). They meet a total of 12 hours per week. They spend four hours completing tasks that require them to observe, think, and create. Experts provide feedback on these tasks. Four hours are spent collaborating on their academic coursework with experts present. The remaining four hours are unstructured to allow students the ability to determine how to use their time and to provide them with time and space to complete a research project. All of the collaboration sessions include critical thinking development and physical education as Ignite sees students holistically.
Schedule: Weekday evenings 6pm–9pm and on weekends. Dates determined by the cohort of students.
Tuition: None; tuition free
Contact: Julia Sainz or Travis Helm | igniteschoolsaustin.org/contact
Each listing in this alphabetical directory gives you a snapshot of a small, independent, alternative school in the Austin area.
This ever-expanding list spans several pages, with navigation buttons at the bottom. Clicking on the name of a school will take you to its own website. To easily find schools by geographical area, see our Alt Ed Maps page. If you know of a school that’s missing from this directory, please drop a note here, and see Alt Ed Austin’s criteria for “alternative” and “school.” You may also be interested in our directories of other recommended schools, as well as special programs for children and adults.
Full disclosure: Alt Ed Austin founder Teri Sperry has ties with several of the schools listed on this site. Her child has attended two of them. She has friends and collaborators who direct, teach at, or are otherwise involved in others. Some programs choose to advertise from time to time on Alt Ed Austin as Sponsoring Partners. She firmly believes that all of the schools featured on this site (including the ones to which she has no personal connection and those from which she receives no advertising fees) are great choices for some kids, each for different reasons.