Special Reports

The Workspace Academy: Nontraditional School Opens In Bethel [VIDEO]


There is a new academy that has opened in Bethel that hopes to become the model for the future nontraditional education. The Workspace Academy opened in January in the Clarke Business Park.

The 32,000-square foot space assists about 30 families with children aged 5 to 17-years-old with a project-based education center for those students who do not thrive in the traditional school setting. Catherine Fraise, Executive Director of Workspace Academy said the families who take part either homeschooled their children for years or have pulled them out of the traditional school.

The News Times reported the academy hopes to eventually serve 125 families.  Fraise said their goal is to build a vibrant learning community that supports parents as they develop personalized learning for their children.

She added that she wanted to create an environment that represents the best of what is out there in the real world. She wants to make the academy as an incubator place for ideas for children of all ages that come at a low cost to help solve problems.

Families pay $4,900 a year for one child to attend and $990 for additional children. Fraise said they encourage students to follow their passions and strengths as it helps them to learn quickly. Instead of the structured courses with traditional assessments, the students are taught by parents or specialists, individually or in small groups.

The environment is ideal for students with mental health or learning challenges. Fraise said they have a lot of gifted people, such as high-functioning Asperger students and dyslexic children.

The academy focuses on real-world problem-solving, innovation and collaborative projects. Students also get to organize social events and hold a marketplace each month where they feature items they created. They also communicate with other kids in Madagascar and Ukraine the academy's global awareness studio.

They are able to use state-of-the art technology such as 3D printers and virtual reality. The academy has several studios that include places to practice the arts such as woodworking. Fraise plans to open additional studios for film, culinary arts and more.

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