Creating your own high school

Kristin Kim, founder of Sansori School, is on a mission to transform the world collaboratively through compassion, community, and commerce. Along the way she has served in multiple roles: educator, Harvard program director, attorney, nonprofit developer, parent, and many more. She joins us on the blog today to announce a new program for teenage independent learners and to explain why she decided to create it.

Is your high-school-aged child charting his or her own path? Does your son or daughter already know what s/he wants to do (e.g., writing, dancing, firefighting, farming), pursuing in-depth training in that chosen field supplemented by community college courses in math and science? A dear friend recently shared her observation of this trend, and as someone who started an alternative high school in Austin last year, it made me pause and reflect. Of course, my initial response resembled fear—I wished for more students to come to our full-time high school program. But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but smile.

I have to admit that I like that these families are bucking even the alternative school model. They are going on their own and integrating a hands-on learning apprenticeship model. This path is not for everyone. Some need slightly more structure and/or more time to discover their passion or select among a few. But for those who are clear about what they want to do, at least for their first career, and are disciplined, creating their own high school allows for ultimate customization, freedom, and cost savings.

So I applaud these families, and would like to see teenagers who are inclined to follow this path do well. One way to encourage their growth is to bring these independent thinkers and doers together, to meet other trailblazers from our vibrant local sustainable business community, and to share and forge their ideas for living that are, as much as possible, free from the collective thinking that is so prevalent in our times.

I am proposing a once-a-week program for these independent teenagers to come together at Sansori to share what they are learning, reflect about life and being active citizens, meet local sustainable business leaders, and share music and art. This gathering of like-minded souls will strengthen, embolden, and liberate each person further than they could do on their own.

I invite teenagers who are already pursuing their own independent projects and taking one or more community college courses to find others on the same path and co-create a gathering space at Sansori. If your son or daughter is already on this path and this invitation resonates with you, please write to me (

The plan is to start with a Saturday gathering in early September 2017.

I am still learning about this amazing place called Austin, and I especially look forward to co-creating these Saturday gatherings with local mavericks.

At the core of the alternative education movement, we find our aspiration to liberate our children from the traditional model that is geared toward standardization. The more choice we can offer our children, and the more independent thinkers and doers we have, the better we all are.

Sansori is located in South Austin, at 8601 South 1st Street (near Slaughter). It is an independent alternative school and is not affiliated with any religious, ethnic, or political organization.

Kristin Kim