The most enjoyable part of my job is meeting and getting to know students and families who leave the conventional school system. The students are incredibly creative, inquisitive, and intelligent, and they are an inspiration for me. I treasure sharing our respective learning journeys, and I respect their boldness. It takes guts to listen to one’s heart and go against the current!
As I thought more about our new school, Austin OneHeart School, and its mission, the more I wanted to celebrate students choosing alternative education and their amazing talents. The National Merit Scholarships, for example, recognize and award academic achievements, but they measure academic achievements almost solely by grades, ranking, and test scores. Just as alternative education has redefined “learning,” I want to change how we all view “merit” and celebrate excellence that goes beyond grades and test scores.
I am happy to announce that Austin OneHeart School will offer full and partial merit-based scholarships for its Upper School (11–18 years) starting in early 2018. The OneHeart Scholars will be selected based on their scholarly achievements, extracurricular leadership, and good citizenship.
Scholarly achievements will include not only school evaluations or their equivalents for homeschoolers but also a student’s record of self-directed and holistic learning. We will consider academic curiosity and innovative ways a student has engaged in learning.