Great Hearts Microschools take the best aspects of virtual school, including flexibility and family togetherness, and provide additional support and a sense of community. These independent learning institutions, based on the Great Hearts Online platform and consistent with the classical education tradition of bricks-and-mortar Great Hearts Academies, offer a higher level of student formation, family well-being, and academic success. We have assembled this guide to help you learn more about Great Hearts Microschools, especially in Texas, and take steps to join one or even become a microschool founder.
What Are Microschools?
The story of Great Hearts Microschools is interwoven with the Covid-19 pandemic and the launch of Great Hearts Online in Texas in January 2021; we encourage you to read our guide to Great Hearts Online Texas to learn more.
Families experienced rapid shifts in education settings during the pandemic, including improvised remote education offered by bricks-and-mortar schools. Some families sought more stability and control by homeschooling or forming pandemic pods, typically small groups of students from a few families who gather in a home with private tutors.
Microschools have some similarities to pandemic pods, homeschooling, and private schools. A microschool is an entity that helps families organize learning resources for a small group of students and create a sense of community around their educational vision. They often meet in a home, but sometimes in a community center. The size of a microschool is typically 15 students or less. The families who organize a microschool may form a relationship with an organization that provides curriculum, online instruction, back office functions, and more. In some states, but not Texas, families who join microschools can draw on public funds for support.
Growing Community at Great Hearts Microschools
The vision for Great Hearts Microschools involves connecting families together to design in-person co-learning spaces that meet the individual needs of students. Here are the key elements:
- Imagine gathering your children with a few others in your community to do school together in a shared physical space.
- This strong-knit group of families and children, across multiple grade levels, living life and doing school together.
- This small community joins their teachers and other students across the state for a few hours each morning in meaningful, live virtual classes.
- Your kindergartener has a kindergarten teacher, specific to them, and a world-class kindergarten classical curriculum. Your fourth grader has a fourth grade teacher, specific to them, and a world-class classical fourth grade curriculum.
- Each student in your in-person group has their own online teacher, their own virtual community, and their own individualized feedback and instruction.
- After live, virtual classes, your unique community is learning and growing together in-person through hands-on projects, reading great books, playing sports, and designing science experiments.
For families who are willing and able, their students will receive a rigorous, grade- and content-specific online education with world class curriculum and instructors alongside a close-knit, in-person, and flexible community. After launching in the 2021–22 school year, Great Hearts Microschools continue to form to promote additional community and flexibility for families.
To read more about Great Hearts Microschools in the news, we recommend that you click on the articles linked at the bottom of this post. Also, we invite you to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook and ask questions; the group includes current Great Hearts Online families who can comment with answers based on their own experiences.
Building on Great Hearts Online
All students in Great Hearts Microschools are also enrolled in Great Hearts Online, a full-time online school offering a classical education model
School communities matter deeply for student formation, family well-being, academic success, and student happiness. Great Hearts Online is designed to create communities virtually through small class sizes, live classes, daily homerooms, lunch gatherings with families, an active Parent Service Organization, and small intervention groups. Faculty are trained to create genuine virtual communities, and students share that they are excited to come to school and see their friends every day. Additionally, they facilitate the gathering of families and students—virtually and in-person—through school events as well as grade-level and regional parent-organized gatherings.
Great Hearts Microschools provide an additional community and support layer wrapped around the core academic program of Great Hearts Online, offering in-person support and enrichment for students and their families.
Great Hearts Microschools in Texas
The leaders of Great Hearts Microschools welcome families to join an existing microschool community or become the founder of a new microschool. The vision is to build, with Great Hearts Online as the foundation, a national body of families and students, connected by a common purpose, in community and citizenship together.
There is currently one Great Hearts Microschool operating in North Texas. Great Hearts Microschool Dallas/Fort Worth is located in Carrollton, Texas. Families who are interested in joining can send an email to email@example.com or schedule a meeting at calendly.com/ghmsdfw.
There are two microschools in Arizona, Phoenix Classical Microschool and Victory Garden: A Great Hearts Microschool.
We also recommend following these social media accounts:
- Great Hearts Microschools on Facebook
- Great Hearts Microschools—DFW on Facebook
- Great Hearts Online Texas on Facebook
- Great Hearts Online on Instagram
- Great Hearts Online Arizona on Facebook
- Great Hearts Texas on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Great Hearts Academies on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about Great Hearts Microschools and Great Hearts Online Texas.
Become a Microschool Founder
The Great Hearts Microschools team is interested in supporting families in starting new Great Hearts Microschools. Specifically, they are looking for families who are enrolled in Great Hearts Online, live in close proximity to more Great Hearts Online families, and are seeking a tight-knit, in-person community. Potential founders who are interested in learning more can send a note to Andrew Shahan, Director of Great Hearts Microschools, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founders join a fellowship to help develop their vision for an in-person community of Great Hearts Online students. They receive support to build a playbook to address the questions that Founders face in developing their own Great Hearts Microschools. The goal is to create a location-based, flexible community with corresponding quality control, training, support, and enrichment. At a Great Hearst Microschool, scholars will attend live virtual classes with students across the state, socialize and play together with their in-person Microschool peers, receive asynchronous assignment support, and participate in a variety of clubs and enrichment opportunities.
If you like what you have learned so far about Great Hearts Microschools, then we recommend that you take more steps to get involved. If your kids are not already enrolled in Great Hearts Online Texas, then you can read our enrollment guide and apply for enrollment. If you are already a Great Hearts Online family, then you can join an existing Great Hearts Microschool or contact the leadership team about becoming a microschool founder. You are also welcome to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group to learn more and interact with families who are part of Great Hearts Online and other innovative learning environments.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Brian Daigle, Headmaster of Great Hearts Online—Texas, and Andrew Shahan, Director of Microschools at Great Hearts Nova, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on October 6, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Brian Daigle is the Headmaster of Great Hearts Online—Texas. After completing his Bachelor’s in Industrial Design at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Masters of Humanities from The University of Dallas, Brian was a founding board member and Headmaster of Sequitur Classical Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Brian has extensive experience with school consulting and school start-ups, a proven record of classroom instruction from elementary to college level, and a passion and talent for teacher development in classical education. Brian has completed select doctoral coursework in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University and select doctoral coursework in healthcare administration from The Medical University of South Carolina. He has published, edited, or contributed to over twenty books on classical education, philosophy, and literature.
Andrew Shahan serves as the Director of Microschools at Great Hearts Nova. Mr. Shahan works with families to build small school communities around Great Hearts Online students. Mr. Shahan has been working with microschools for the past four years as the Director at Atlanta Micro Schools. This project grew out of a desire to create a unique opportunity for his own children’s learning. Before getting into microschools, Mr. Shahan was the Founder and CEO of ARISE Schools in New Orleans, Louisiana. Before founding ARISE Schools, Mr. Shahan was the Founder and Principal of ARISE Academy in New Orleans. Under Mr. Shahan’s leadership, ARISE Academy was named “A Top Gains School” by the Department of Education for the increases in learning by its students.
Mr. Shahan is most excited to serve families and communities by working together to create unique learning communities—microschools—built on the Great Hearts classical tradition. These learning communities can be tailored to meet specific needs of families, take advantage of local resources for learning, and be rooted in the Great Hearts philosophy of truth, goodness, and beauty.
Andrew is married to Isa Shahan. They have three kids, four cats, and one dog. When he is not taking kids to soccer games, Mr. Shahan really enjoys sneaking out for a run or playing tennis.
Read More About Great Hearts Microschools
- “Arizona opens the final frontier of school choice,” Max Eden, Washington Examiner, June 28, 2022
- “Great Hearts Hopes In-Person Pods + Online Teaching = New Type of Hybrid School,” Beth Hawkins, 74 Million, June 8, 2022
- “Great Hearts Offers Classical Education Model in Virtual Academies,” Erica Haines, Philanthropy Roundtable, May 3, 2022
- “What Is a Microschool? Some parents see benefits in the modern-day one-room schoolhouse,” Andrew Bauld, U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 2022
- “Charter Moms Chats — Great Hearts Microschools, With Andrew Shahan,” YouTube, March 29, 2022
- “Great Hearts Online: Classical Education in a Fully Online School,” San Antonio Charter Moms, March 22, 2022
- “Could Great Hearts Academy Change the Face of Private Education?” Robert Pondiscio, Education Next, March 10, 2022
- “Online Schools in Texas,” San Antonio Charter Moms, February 2, 2022
- “Guide to Enrolling in Great Hearts Texas Schools in San Antonio for 2020–2021,” San Antonio Charter Moms, October 26, 2021
- “Great Hearts to pilot private microschools in fall 2021,” Great Hearts Academies, September 29, 2021
- “Great Hearts to pilot private Microschools program,” Daily Independent, September 6, 2021
- “Choosing Online Private Schools,” San Antonio Charter Moms, May 13, 2021
- “Charter Moms Chats — Great Hearts Microschools, With Kurtis Indorf,” YouTube, May 11, 2021
- “My Child My Voice Parent Connection: Great Hearts Online with Kurtis Indorf, Annika Cotton, and Inga Cotton,” Facebook Live, October 8, 2020