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This Phoenix startup made smaller, more individualized schools…

In Arizona, Prenda microschools are public and affordable for students to attend! But what IS Prenda? One of the pioneering names in an increasingly popular new format for schools: the “microschool.” Prenda has expanded to hundreds of schools in just a handful of years in Arizona and it’s only getting bigger…while staying small.

“A microschool is kind of a midpoint. You don’t have to go all the way to homeschooling, but you can get some of that flexibility and some of that engagement you’re looking for,” –Kelly Smith, Prenda’s founder and CEO in a recent AZMirror article.

The definition of a microschool can be difficult to pin down, simply because there is considerable flexibility in how they are set up. They are built custom to the needs of students and, as a result, can take a great many different forms. That being said, they tend to be very small with a mix of students from different grade levels (5-10). They also typically have a curriculum that is personalized to the students and rely on guides who assist with student-driven learning instead of traditional teachers. Some advocates describe it as the best of all worlds: the student-centered learning of homeschool, the group engagement of traditional school, and the project guidance you’d find in a private school.  

Students attend Prenda microschools for 20 hours per week, with a flexible schedule that allows variation on the days and times students will attend. But this may surprise you: Prenda doesn’t actually run the microschools. Not unlike Uber, where the company doesn’t provide the actual rides, Prenda empowers its growing network of expert guides with the tools and curricula to have success. Prenda guides are provided with the curriculum, equipment, supplies and ongoing support needed by microschools across Arizona.

Prenda is by far the best-known name in miscroschooling in Arizona, but there are some others. Acton Academy Phoenix, for example, is a private microschool that is part of the larger Acton Academy network. These schools are independently operated and connected through a common support network.

You have choices. With the right information and a little help, you can find your kid’s custom-fit education! There are dozens of organizations dedicated to helping parents wade through the choices, the funding, and the implications of each path. The form on this page will connect you with an expert from one of those groups. They’ll walk you through your options and work with you to find the right-fit school for you and your family.