Yes, Laura Galindo knows that there is no “e” in Scholastic. The reason she named her education program Schelastic Academy is because of her commitment to a flexible and expanding — ahem, elastic — curriculum.
“I’m a product of traditional public schooling so I have nothing bad to say about its possibilities,” said Galindo, a former Dallas public school teacher who now leads Schelastic in Arlington, Texas. “But when you go to a traditional school setting, public or private, sometimes you’re put into a box you just don’t fit into, or I sometimes call it a cookie-cutter system, where every child has to go through the same type of classroom experience, and I felt like that was an injustice to our children…We care about the child more than anything else – there are no cookie-cutter kids here.”
Schelastic serves about a dozen students from 3rd-12th grade, though most are middle and high school-age learners. Grouped by age, not grade, these learners receive an individualized education that meets them where they are and allows them to proceed at their own pace, making it an attractive learning environment for students of all backgrounds. Though the school was not designed specifically for special education students, many learners with special needs have found a home at Schelastic, including students with ADHD, dyslexia, or anxiety.
Families can choose a full-time, part-time, or online model. Most core academic offerings take place in the morning, and the afternoon is dedicated to project-based learning. One of the most popular electives is entrepreneurship; Schelastic Academy’s mascot is a shark, inspired in large part by Galindo’s and the students’ passion for ABC’s Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their products and services. Students build skills in subjects of their choosing and have gone on to start businesses in everything from music to baking.
As Schelastic enters its 11th year, the program is looking to grow. The pandemic put a dent in its enrollment, and now the school is looking to add up to 20 more learners. Schelastic recently received its accreditation from Cognia and its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Galindo believes the success students have had in the past – she’s had graduating classes since 2015 – will lead to increased enrollment.
“The biggest compliment I get” from students, Galindo said, “is ‘Now I can learn in peace.’”