School as we know hasn’t changed much since the 19th-century. Threefold Schoolhouse takes action by bringing the one-room schoolhouse model into the 21st-century. Launched in 2019 with 10 learners in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, about two hours west of Philadelphia, this microschool values learning by doing.
Threefold serves learners between the ages of 4-18. A typical day for a Threefold Schoolhouse learner includes Socratic discussion, small-group meetings, online programs with technology that adapts to students, interdisciplinary projects, and reflection. The use of technology allows learners to study at their own pace and fosters responsibility, goal-setting, and teamwork.
But Threefold Schoolhouse doesn’t just focus on academics; they help learners find their callings, whatever they may be. Starting in middle school, students are expected to find summer internships that will allow them to explore different industries and careers. “By the time they’re 18, they have tried out 5 or 6 different fields,” says Charissa Mitchell, founder, CEO, and Head of School.
As part of the Acton Academy network of microschools, Threefold also has learners also participate in the annual Acton Children’s Business Fair Mechanicsburg with other young entrepreneurs from the area. They learn what it takes to run their own business, including branding, production, and marketing, all culminating in a one-day marketplace where they can sell their wares for profit.
All told, Threefold fosters collaboration between its students. Consider the story of Carley and Arthur. At the end of each school year, awards are given out at the Celebration of Heroes, and learners are given the opportunity to speak. Six-year-old Arthur decided he wanted to give a speech, but he was very nervous. In stepped 3-year-old Carley to help him practice and deliver the speech, allowing him to defeat his fear. This accomplishment could not have happened without the trust and friendship they developed over the school year together.
From just 10 learners in 2019 to 35 in 2021, Threefold Schoolhouse keeps growing every year, proving the value of nontraditional learning.