Studyville’s student workspace at Perkins Rowe also serves as home to its new micro-school concept. Photo by Collin Richie

Studyville’s new microschool offers students a new option

Traditional education was turned upside down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many parents had to figure out how to work while educating their children at home. While parents rushed to find teachers to homeschool their kids, the concept of microschools began to emerge as another option. Microschooling falls in between homeschooling and traditional schooling, offering students individualized attention, accommodations and a compressed class schedule. 

Over the last two years, as microschooling became widely known, parents contacted Studyville in Perkins Rowe expressing a need for an alternative learning environment for their children. Founder Amanda Vincent had planned to expand the company’s services to include a microschool in fall 2022, but that wasn’t fast enough. There was such an immediate need for an alternative education option that Studyville quickly put together a pilot program in spring 2022—at the same time it was preparing to launch a second company location in Alexandria—knowing that the full microschool program wouldn’t be unleashed until August 2022. 

While Studyville already offered homework support and test prep in a youthful, coffee shop-style atmosphere, Vincent initially wasn’t convinced that adding a microschool was the right move. “I was hesitant at first to dive into this concept, but it’s been great,” says Vincent. “Interest peaked in spring 2022 from parents who were looking for alternatives to traditional school and realized the freedom of the Zoom era. At the same time, I had a teacher come to me looking for work, and everything matched up.”

This fall, Studyville is offering its own Baton Rouge-based microschool to 12 students in middle school and high school grades, with set curricula following federal and state guidelines, as opposed to the program in the spring which involved a lot of homeschool outsourcing. The new offering is Studyville’s own teacher-directed program and comes with the bonus of no homework assigned to students. Students attend school Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and learn core subjects like language, science and history, coupled with electives including theater, video editing and entrepreneurship. 

In the microschool space, students essentially lead the learning pace—moving ahead quickly in subjects they are quick to conquer, and taking extra time to learn trickier concepts or to brush up in areas that are more challenging. Teachers constantly review and test students’ retention of subjects to make sure they complete requirements for specific grades. Students have an official transcript and grading standards, and high school students can even leave Studyville with a diploma.

While microschooling is a big leap from traditional schooling, it is the right choice for a variety of students who say it takes the social pressure and anxiety out of school. “Last year, my son came home crying every day because he didn’t feel smart,” says parent Stephanie Prestridge. “I knew he needed a change. As a traditional person, stepping away from the comfort of a traditional school was terrifying, but at Studyville, he has a curriculum based on his interests.”