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SMALL CLASS SIZES, MULTI-AGE CLASSROOMS, AND INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION

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    SMALL CLASS SIZES
    Branch Line School (BLS) is small by design. Classes are capped at 20 students. As we have grown over the last 10 years, we have had to add new classrooms in order to accommodate the number of students moving up. Students and families who are frustrated or overwhelmed by the size and impersonal nature of the traditional classroom will find welcome respite in the safe, nurturing and intimate learning community of BLS.


    MULTI-AGE CLASSROOMS
    Our school model is one of multi-age classrooms. Kindergarten (Junior Explorers) is our only stand-alone class. Explorers consist of first and second grade, Investigators are our third and fourth grades, Navigators are the fifth and sixth grades, and the Innovators are the seventh and eighth grades. We’d rather not have students identifying themselves with a grade, but as a community as a whole.

    The idea behind multi-age classes is a philosophy-based approach on teaching and learning. The main reason is that we have realized and fully believe that relationships/connections between students (peer to peer) and teachers is one of the most influential practices in student success.

    Our multi-age classrooms are purposefully designed to include students of all abilities. Coupled with project-based/interest-based learning, students are able to learn from each other – and show what they know. Our teachers teach in cohorts, or teams. Students stay with the same cohort teachers for two years, which allows the development of a stronger connection between peers, students and teachers, and also with families and the community.


    INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION
    Because multi-age classrooms are a school-wide structure, there is more than one class of each level, so teachers have the opportunity to plan and teach together. Because team-teaching has been successfully implemented, this allows our teachers to have more small group/individual time with students.

    Our students learn based on their individual needs and growth, not based on a graded average. Topics covered are based on Michigan Department of Education (MDE) standards, but projects/centers are designed so that students at any level can be successful and learn at their own pace. Our teachers have the autonomy to decide what they teach based on the needs of their students. They design the curriculum by identifying common outcomes/MDE standards from both grade levels and blend them together.

    Learn more about Branch Line School on our website at www.branchlineschool.org. We have limited availability in all classrooms – CLICK HERE to submit an enrollment request and schedule a tour today.

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