School Name – Phoenix Modern
School Address – 200 E Mitchell Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85012
Phone Number / or Email for inquiriesdiscover@phoenixmodern.org

How long has your school been open?

Opening August 2019

About how many children are served?

90 in year 1 and 210 by year 3

What grades does your school currently offer?

K-5 in year 1 and launching grades
6-8 in year 2

How did your school begin, and what are some of the reasons it was started?

We founded Phoenix Modern because we wanted to design a radically different school experience for children. In order to fall in love with learning, kids need more than lectures, worksheets, and tests. We focus on the whole child and care about social and
emotional growth just as much as academic content. We have small class sizes, multi-age groupings, engaging projects, and a personalized curriculum. We know that a child who will grow into a healthy, loving, and confident adult must be nurtured to thrive today.

What types of students or communities does your school serve?

We serve a racially and economically diverse community of families in midtown Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Children engage in mixed-age, flexible learning studios, starting in the Primary years (K-2), then moving into Elementary (3-5) and the Middle School (6-8).

Why do you personally feel your school is a great option for Arizona families?

While many schools have become laser-focused on narrow and rigid outcomes, Phoenix Modern remains focused on a holistic approach to supporting children. We are a learning community where children experience wonder and joy throughout their learning experience and where their confidence and curiosity grows.

What makes your school unique, and how do you meet the unique needs of your students?

The student experience at Phoenix Modern is designed to allow children to explore, create, and prepare for a life full of possibilities. There are several design elements that make us unique and support the flourishing of every child.

First, our curriculum is self-paced and personalized. We believe that one size does not fit all; rather students can be co-creators of their own learning experience. Children will navigate a curated compilation of diverse learning experiences, add their personal interests and ideas, and progress at a pace that best suits their individual needs.

We’re focused on the whole child. We respect and value children, encourage self-expression, nurture loving relationships, and create safe spaces for children to take risks and flourish. Our program design includes a focus on social and emotional learning, cognitive processing, and wayfinding skills in addition to deep understanding and application in core academic areas.

We use a hands-on project approach. Learning at Phoenix Modern is hands-on, collaborative, and multi-dimensional. Students participate in guided discussions and are immersed in multi-week projects, discussions, and writing workshops.

We view children as creators and collaborators. Children are resourceful, imaginative, and in search of relationships. At Phoenix Modern, children learn and become themselves through interaction with other people, ideas, and materials.

Finally, our daily schedule is intentionally flexible, granting us time and space to be creative and innovative. Although there is enough structure to provide a framework, children and guides are able to make decisions about what is most needed in the
learning environment throughout the day.

What makes your school a place that teachers want to be at?

We’re finding that talented educators want to join our team because of our mission to inspire joyful, curiosity-driven learning and the opportunity to be at the forefront of education innovation. With a flexible daily schedule, hands-on curriculum, and small school size, our teachers (known as Guides) are able to foster meaningful and personal relationships with children and their families. Further, all staff members at Phoenix Modern are valued as learners and leaders with ongoing opportunities to contribute to the future growth and improvement of themselves and the school community.

What does a day in the life of a typical student at your school look like?

A day at Phoenix Modern can be flexible based on student needs; however, most days follow a similar structure. Students arrive between 8:00 and 8:30 am. As they enter the learning studio, they have the freedom to engage with their peers and utilize the
resources in the studio. Some students may decide to work on their core skill goals, make updates to a project, or simply engage in a game of chess with a friend. Guides greet students as they arrive and monitor the studios. At 8:30, students gather together
in their studio for a morning community discussion. During this time, guides lead students in a discussion that sets the tone for the day. The intention of the discussion is to inspire students, equip them with a new process or tool, or to further connect as a community of learners. From 9:00 to 11:30 students work on self-paced core skills for math, reading, and writing. Each subject is broken down into “levels,” and learners engage with an intentionally curated compilation of hands-on materials, printed curriculum, and online instructional resources (Elementary and Middle School studios). For an hour each day, students also engage in special enrichment opportunities such as music, art, or physical movement. These opportunities are designed and guided by a specialized expert or partner organizations. Midway through the day, students have ample time for lunch and play.

After lunch, students gather together again in a community circle for a launch into the afternoon. This time is once again used to inspire, equip, or connect learners. A guide will also use this time to introduce or advance a project or writer’s workshop challenge. In the Primary Studio, the afternoon launch will include calm, quiet time, so that children can relax and re-center before the rest of the afternoon. Afternoons are very flexible, but typically they will be a time for our quests. Quests are interdisciplinary projects that are comprised of investigations and challenges that build off of students’ interests and
curiosities.

During the afternoon, students will also engage in Socratic discussions or Writer’s Workshops, both of which will integrate the quest’s topics and themes. Near the end of each day, students work collaboratively to reset the studio and prepare it for the next
day. Learners finish their day with a community circle to reflect on their day and to celebrate and encourage one another. After the closing circle, learners may go home for the day and pursue a wide variety of self-directed learning opportunities with friends and family. At the end of every session (6 times a year), students will present what they’ve learned and created to their parents and other community members in a student-led exhibition.

What are some of the characteristics you would say describe the students / environment at your school?

We imagine a community of learners driven by an innate sense of wonder, where children experience joy and loving relationships, and the learning approach is designed to support a lifetime of growth. On our campus, you will see ample natural light pouring into each classroom, inviting furniture with flexible arrangements, and community gathering spaces alive with conversation.

What is something you’d like to make sure we know about your school, or something that you would like prospective families to know?

Phoenix Modern is a community that starts with respect and honor for the child. Our central purpose is to support the growth and flourishing of children through each developmental stage. As children progress through all the academic levels at Phoenix Modern, they will gather a portfolio of high-quality work and will have the social and emotional strength for any high school or post-secondary learning experience they choose.

Why do you feel that school choice / educational freedom is important for Arizona families?

Standardized, one-size-fits-all education no longer meets the needs of our community. Every family comes with unique circumstances and needs. Even within families, one child may thrive in a particular school, while another child may engage better in a different environment. I hope we can one day say that every child has access to educational opportunities that truly prepare them for their life goals.

What’s the best way for families to talk to someone if they are interested in your school? Who should they contact?

The best way to find out more information about our school is through our website at phoenixmodern.org. From there, you can schedule a phone call or register for an upcoming info session. You can also email us directly at discover@phoenixmodern.org.