An alternate ‘Choice’ for Davis County studentsApr 05, 2021 12:05PM ● By April Shumway
Walking into the Choice School is unlike the typical experience you would have with any other elementary. Instead of being met by an adult, you can expect to be met by a few children.
At Choice School, each student is referred to as a hero. Teachers are not called teachers either; they are referred to as Guides. Heroes Lillie Seeley, Aiden Borchert and Isla Cardon provided a tour and explained some of the core concepts. They were all so excited to talk that at one point one of the children interrupted the other but was reminded by another student not to do that. At Choice you will not see guides correcting behavior. “We hold each other accountable for our behavior,” said Seeley, “and the fact that actions come with consequences,” added Borchert.
Former high school Biology teacher and Seattle native Jeyevone Tanner and her husband opened Choice School on August 25, 2020, and started their first year with just under 30 kids. The action academy is their parent company that has schools all over the U.S. and been in business for 12 years. Their model is called learner-based teaching. It is a hybrid-homeschooling model based on a 3 1/2-day week, and is located at 146 West 300 South in Bountiful.
Fridays are used for goal setting for the following week. There is a big emphasis on challenging yourself. They have a philosophy that uses a donut as the visual.
“When you are outside of the donut you are freaking out and it is too much. When you are inside the donut you are too comfortable, so on the donut is where you want to be, challenging yourself,” Borchert said.
Children are taught business and entrepreneurial skills and do exercises where they are given fake money. The heroes were extremely excited for the upcoming children’s business fair. After an exhibition for the heroes families, the fair is later opened to the public and gives them the opportunity to make and sell their own products. An award is given to the hero that makes the most money!
Every week there is a town hall meeting. The purpose of the town hall meeting is to give the heroes an opportunity to talk about problems, concerns, or anything else they want to discuss with the class. They are not allowed to ask the guides questions. When the heroes were asked the role of the guides, they said they are there for their safety, to keep the energy up and ultimately to guide them in whatever they are interested in studying.
Children can learn at their own pace and study what they want when they want to. They also have the freedom to not work on anything, but they are not allowed to disrupt others that are.
Most of the children there had come from public school. Students were asked what they liked best about Choice School. One hero said that he did not like having to sit so much and he preferred having the freedom to walk around if you want to. There is much more physical movement than a typical school can provide. One of the words heard several times at Choice is freedom. The heroes also agreed that they like having the freedom to study at their own pace.
The Choice School emphasizes creativity, critical thinking and ultimately empowering children to take ownership of their education. Tanner explained that although a learner based environment can be more chaotic than a typical children’s learning environment, that is part of what makes it work.
To find out more information about Choice School or to schedule a tour, visit www.choice-education.org. They can also be reached at 801-215-9138.