What is your school schedule?/When does school start?
Our program is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. with an August 2018 start date and a June 2019 end date.
What grades do you offer?
2018-2019: Grades 1-9 will be offered (will grow into HS grades 10th–12th).
Are you a school?
We are a learning community, a part-time micro-school. Explore our approach.
Do you accept all types of gifted learners -- both those that are not 2e and those that are 2e?
Yes! We accept all types of gifted students — both those that are not 2e and those that are 2e. If you are seeking high-quality, non-traditional, part-time education for your gifted child within a nurturing community of like-minded peers, we encourage you to get to know us better by attending an Information Session and Open House.
Which online learning platforms do you use?
We offer personalized, differentiated instruction in language arts, math, science, social studies, and computer science through online learning platforms such as Khan Academy (math, language arts, science and engineering, history, computing, and more), Nessy (Language Arts and Writing), Tech Rocket (computer programming), Pixton (Click N Drag Comics), NoRedInk (language arts), VoiceThread (online presentation/student interaction platform to develop critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) and Flocabulary (educational hip-hop videos and songs in math, science, language arts, social studies, life skills, and more).
What other learning materials are used?
Additional resources for group and independent projects are used and depend on the project. The students choose the topics/projects, so it depends on what students choose to use. We use Supercharged Science and a variety of other resources for science experiments, and an eclectic blend of resources for Socratic discussions and Tribe-building activities.
What is 2e/twice-exceptional?
2e, also known as twice-exceptional, means someone who is intellectually gifted and also has a learning difference, challenge, or disability. All too commonly, twice-exceptional kids are either viewed as not needing accommodations because they are gifted (and the learning difference, challenge, or disability is not addressed), or they are treated solely for the disability/challenge without nurturing the tremendous intellectual potential of their giftedness. At Great Minds Learning Community we nurture the whole child — both the intellectual thirst and the challenges — while creating strong relationships and a welcoming community of peers. Some common twice-exceptionalities/challenges/learning differences we work with are dyslexia, ADHD/hypermobile, sensory processing challenges, vision challenges, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, chemical sensitivity and allergies, Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism, anxiety, or social difficulties.
It can also be very difficult to differentiate between “Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities” — characteristic of gifted individuals — and disabilities. As a result, many gifted children are misdiagnosed by professionals with limited or no experience in giftedness because the “symptoms” of giftedness and many diagnoses have a huge overlap. (To learn more about overexcitabilities, visit: http://sengifted.org/overexcitability-and-the-gifted/)
Do you require proof of giftedness/testing?
What is the role of the guide at Great Minds and how is that different from that of a traditional teacher?
The role of the guide at Great Minds Learning Community is that of a caring adult whose role is to prepare and organize the learning environment to meet the needs and interests of the students and to ask relevant questions to help the students help themselves learn how to learn, both individually and in collaboration with others. Our guides teach directly in short, targeted bursts (to maximize student attention), both one-on-one and in groups according to what students on working on and the themes studied. The ultimate goal of the guide is to promote independence and support the students in creating their own learning experience. This is very different from the top-down structure – “the teacher teaches the lessons and the students listen” of a traditional classroom.
Where is the school located?
The school is at our guide’s home at 901 Cabriole Dr., Pflugerville, TX 78660. It is 7 minutes from the Pflugerville Pecan Street Exit 247 off of IH35 and five minutes from the SH 130 Pecan Street exit. It is about 60 seconds inside the Pflugerville city limits and is easily accessible from North Austin as well as Round Rock and other surrounding areas.
Four rooms of the home are dedicated to school space with a comfortable atmosphere and dedicated space for whiteboards, project tables, desks, and sensory tents. It is located in a cul-de-sac with ample room to play. The school is one block from Bohl’s park where we will go for lunch and recess. As we add students and additional guides in future years, we will be looking for a larger space to meet our growing needs, while still keeping the comfortable, homey feel.
Do you accept students with severe learning disabilities or behavioral challenges?
Unfortunately, we are not equipped to serve children who need specialized attention because of severe learning or behavioral challenges.
We welcome twice-exceptional learners who need minor support for learning challenges – for example, dysgraphia or dyslexia (e.g. students with dysgraphia can show mastery through typed answers on the computer or through hands-on project portfolios instead of handwritten answers); sensory processing challenges (e.g. can wear headsets during online learning time; go to a quiet room if it gets too loud; natural light and LED lights in our school instead of fluorescent lighting); dyscalculia (improvement through dycalculia-specific games and strategies, not “drill and kill” worksheets); students with chemical sensitivities (we have filtered water, air, and no perfumes or air fresheners to minimize chemical sensitivity); hypermobile/ADHD (e.g. we have body breaks to move bodies; executive functioning development strategies); students with high-functioning autism (Aspergers) or mild social challenges (e.g. small class sizes enhance peer interaction and support; improvisational theater strategies to develop social skills; actively use non-violent communications strategies to explore feelings and solve conflicting needs). Great Minds Learning Community celebrates neurodiversity and each individual’s uniqueness!
Please see Our Approach.