Successful Microschool Models

Katie Nafzger
Katie Nafzger
February 28, 2024
min read
Christian Schooling

Last month we queried, “What is a microschool anyway?” This month we’re excited to share how some of our partners answer that question. Each one has created a unique school expression. Each one features elements of a microschool that allow for innovation in a small setting. Each one is providing a Christian education option for families. As you wander through the following highlights, make it a thought-experiment: Do any of these stories pique your interest? Would one of these models work in your context? Let’s take a look...

Grace Lutheran Classical Academy grew out of a homeschool community. Several families from Grace Lutheran Church in Henderson, NV, part of the greater Las Vegas area, were homeschooling or planned to homeschool their children. They decided a hybrid option would be a good fit for their families by providing some structured learning in a social context. They expect their model will appeal to the greater community. 

Students at Grace Academy meet two days each week to learn together, guided by a teacher. They spend the other days at home continuing with some prescribed lessons. The families are using a classical curriculum chosen by the Academy. The director/mom reports, “It’s a good balance.” Her children get to learn alongside peers and the family follows up with lessons at home. “We’re also free to add some supplementary materials that we choose, and we try to take Fridays off to be together. We love the flexibility!”

CCLS Academy at Bethlehem is an exciting collaboration between an existing stable school in the county and a restart school in the city. Christ Community Lutheran School is a multi-campus Lutheran school known for its 21st Century learning model and a strong emphasis on character formation. A partnership with Bethlehem Lutheran Church resulted in a multi-age microschool. The two schools are unique in context, but united in mission: Christ, Character, and Community.

Imagine a modern one-room schoolhouse and you’ve got an idea what learning is like at CCLS Academy at Bethlehem. In this model, students in grades 3-5 learn together in a studio classroom. Many of their subjects are delivered through an online platform, allowing each student to work at an individual pace. They are supported by learning guides that monitor and encourage learning goals and prioritize relationships. This model is bolstered by the stability and momentum of CCLS’s organization and manpower.

LuTEC opened Fall 2023 as a hybrid high school in the greater LA area. In partnership with the Pacific Southwest District of the LCMS, LuTEC is an original school model that leverages technology to offer a customized high school experience in a social context with a career-ready focus. Students choose courses through Orange Lutheran High School’s online program. They also participate in theology classes that take place in person and benefit from community partnerships. These connections provide social interaction, leadership opportunities, and work experience internships.

The director’s enthusiasm is compelling! This model inspires teens to make decisions and craft their own learning trajectory. Students can earn their high school diploma quickly with the intention of working in a trade or they can complete coursework that prepares them to transition to a community college or thrive in a four-year university program.