Ivy Ed’s FlexSchool Celebrates Its First Week

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FlexSchool students complete their first week, experiencing the benefits of an alternative schooling system.

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Courses are designed so that students master an intellectual toolbox –- communication skills, cognitive reasoning, resilience after failure –- so they learn how to learn.

Middle and high school students completed their first week in Ivy Ed’s FlexSchool, a new alternative school in downtown Fanwood. Designed on a two-room schoolhouse model, FlexSchool offers students who are not thriving in traditional school another option. Very small classes, projects designed for students to explore interests in depth, Common Core compliance, and block scheduling create an environment where students can learn differently. FlexSchool evolved from the excitement students and tutors felt during one-on-one curriculum instruction and while homeschooling students.

“Courses are designed so that students master an intellectual toolbox — communication skills, cognitive reasoning, resilience after failure — so they learn how to learn," says Jacqui Byrne, partner at Ivy Ed and head of school.

“In fact, colleges and employers want intellectually curious students who can synthesize information across disciplines because that skill underlies much of creativity and innovation,” adds Nicole Oringer, the Ivy Ed partner in charge of college counseling.

The first week looked something like this: the philosophy/debate class students are clustered around a square table offering opinions about Socrates’ logic in his Apology. Tennis balls bounced around the room in physics, Jonathan Swift’s satire of the Irish potato famine lead into the Communist Manifesto and Brave New World during the English/history block, and the middle school students mastered SOHCAHTOA. Weekly classes include: Spanish or Italian, English and history, math, science, computer science, philosophy/debate, creative writing, and test prep or writing workshop. Homework, except reading, is minimized by having a monitored study hall every day.

A test-prep expert and a college counselor created Ivy Educational Services to support students and families as they navigate the stressful prep school and college admission process. At Ivy Ed, counselors and tutors collaborate to customize and integrate academic support, test prep (SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, AP, IB, ISEE, SSAT, COOP, TOEFL, GRE, LSAT, GMAT), FlexSchool, English as a second language, post-college career counseling, college counseling, and essays and applications (prep, college, and graduate). For more information, visit ivyed.net.

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Jacqueline Byrne, Founder/Partner