A recent deep dive into the impact and future of microschools, learning pods, and other learner-first programs by The 74’s Linda Jacobson features the Vela Education Fund and several of their grant recipients including the nature-focused microschool Green Gate, the homeschool co-op Cultural Roots, and Nevada’s Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy.
The 74 story begins with Megan Monsour, a parent who pulled her two sons out of the Wichita, Kansas, district and enrolled them in Green Gate. Not only did she fret over her sons’ exposure to COVID-19, Jacobson writes, but she wondered whether they’d get the attention they needed for persistent reading difficulties.
“Although we believe in and want to support public schools, it was frustrating that there was no flexibility to have the tutoring I wanted,” Monsour said, noting that their reading has improved. “I also like the independence and autonomy Green Gate teaches. They have a lot of time outside and I think children need more recess and chances to have hands-on learning.”
Jacobson also looked at the VELA Education Fund which launched last year to support nontraditional options like microschools. “Some programs use the funds to provide scholarships, and those leading larger pods and co-ops frequently offer sliding fee scales for families,” Jacobson wrote.
VELA Education Fund was launched in August 2020 as a national, nonprofit fund dedicated to accelerating innovation through hundreds of small-dollar investments in education entrepreneurs serving families outside of traditional classrooms.
VELA’s Fall 2021 microgrant application is now live! Everyday entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for a microgrant of $2,500 or $10,000 to support innovative, nontraditional education programs. This includes parents, teachers, community members, and, yes, students.
Applications will be accepted through 11:59pm EST on Friday, November 5, or until 750 applications are submitted, whichever comes first. The application is available at velaedfund.org/apply.