Loudoun Now Article: New Venture Offers Education à la Carte

(From LoudounNow — Dec. 3, 2015)

Loudoun County parents now have another choice when it comes to how their children are educated.

Jill Turgeon, former educator and vice chairman of the Loudoun County School Board, has teamed up with Leesburg businessman and parent Butch Porter to launch what they’re calling a micro-school.

They describe IndED Academies as an al la carte school program that allows parents to choose afterschool or day courses for their students.

“We’re trying to create options,” Porter said. “Right now you have three options—private school, public school and homeschool. We want to create a more modular option.”

Within the next few months, the school is expected to offer a robust course list. Each class will have no more than 15 students, and students can take just one course or almost a full school day of classes.

The concept is similar to a homeschool cooperative, or co-op, which combines parents’ skill sets and resources to educate children in the group. But Porter said IndED Academies will use certified teachers to serve as mentors to, at first, students in grades four through six.

“The parents are still responsible for the education of their kids, but they may not have the time or the intuition to do it all,” he said.

IndED Academies co-owners Porter and Turgeon are calling the school’s instructors mentors because they want the learning to be student led, and individualized to each child.

“IndED believes that students should be proactive in their learning, working closely with mentors who support that process so the students can develop skills that promote innovation and initiative,” Turgeon said. “They then apply that knowledge across a variety of areas throughout their lives.”

For now, IndED Academies is offering afterschool programs that are scheduled to allow public, private and homeschool students to attend. The first nine-week, 18-class course ran from September through October.

Two more courses begin the first week of January. IndED Academies is partnering with StageCoach Theatre Company to offer a “Seeing the World through the Arts” course, which runs 4-5:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday for nine weeks starting Jan. 4. Instructors will use visual, music and performing arts to teach four subject areas: community, the classical era, scientific exploration and nature.

The second course, “What It Means to Be a Citizen,” is the school’s flagship course. It helps students gain a deeper understanding of the country’s foundation, offers an opportunity to launch a real business and work with local government officials to learn about the legislative process. The course meets 4-5:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for nine weeks, starting Jan. 5.

Each course is for students ages 8 to 11 and costs $375; deadline to register is Jan. 1. Courses are held at IndED Academies’ Learning Library, 7 Loudoun St. SE, Suite 1, in Leesburg.

Learn more about IndED Academies and see its full course offerings at https://inded.wpengine.com.

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