West Virginia has experienced a dramatic expansion of educational freedom, from the state legislature passing a near-universal Education Savings Account Program, called the Hope Scholarship, to loosening state compulsory school attendance laws for participants of learning pods and microschools.
Microschools, learning pods, homeschooling collaboratives, and low-cost private schools are launching or growing to meet parent demand for more education possibilities. The education entrepreneurs who are creating these models are diverse in their educational philosophies, building a dynamic landscape of learning options from which families can choose.
Our guest today is one of these visionary West Virginia education entrepreneurs. Katie Switzer is a mom of four young children and founder of the Monongalia Family Forest School. A mechanical engineer who spent 10 years working at companies such as SpaceX, Katie launched her forest school program last fall and it quickly doubled in size. Her program also recently won a grant from the VELA Education Fund, a philanthropic non-profit whose goal is to provide startup and expansion support for non-traditional K-12 learning models.