Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of Khan Academy, has launched an independent school in Mountain View, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Khan Lab School (KLS) was founded in 2014 to develop new, personalized practices that center around the student. The team at KLS is creating and testing learning experiences to share with the world.
In keeping with Sal Khan’s One World Schoolhouse philosophy, KLS is an extended-year, extended-day, mixed-age program with a collaborative, project-based learning approach. Students are grouped into "Independence Levels," which are based on executive function skills as opposed to traditional age restrictions. There is no required homework, and students are assessed holistically without the use of letter grades. The main focus in all subjects is leveraging world-class teacher-designers to build a community that encourages inquiry and self-direction.
KLS currently serves approximately 100 students ages 5-13 and intends to expand to a full K-12 model. The academic experience is coordinated by a team of advisors, specialists, and associate teachers who work together to meet students' needs. The school is designed for students and families committed to taking ownership over their education and being part of a new model of learning. In an interview with National Public Radio, Mr. Khan explained,
"We view the virtual [information online] as something that can empower the physical — that if students can get lectures at their own time and pace, they can get exercises; they can have a programming platform. That doesn't mean that the classroom gets replaced; it means the classroom gets liberated. It doesn't have to be about a lecture anymore; students don't have to learn at the same time and pace. . . We have a lot of focus on kind of meta-cognitive skills like entrepreneurship and creativity."
KLS has a unique daily schedule, with the school open for all students from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and core school days extending from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The school comes together each morning for Community Meeting in order to discuss important cultural matters. Half of the day is dedicated to "Core Skills," where students practice reading, writing, math, and computer science. The other half of the day is dedicated to "Studio," where students work on team projects integrating social studies and science. Wellness is also an important value of the school, with time set aside in the middle of the day for physical activity and mental well-being. Students benefit from a mixed-age environment and from mentor/mentee relationships with Khan Academy employees. The last two hours of the day, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., are dedicated to electives and continued studio projects or goal time. Students have the opportunity to work with subject experts in painting, robotics, and other fields.
KLS offers an excellent salary and benefits package and is interested in hiring educators of every profile. Employees' children are eligible for a 50%-80% tuition discount, and insurance includes medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and long-term disability. In addition, the school contributes 3-4% towards employees' retirement plans. Finally, KLS provides eight lunch options each day and a fully-stocked snack bar!
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