San Antonio Catholic School starting school year with a new microschool model

St. Jose del Rio Catholic School is the first in South or Central Texas to adopt a microschool model.

SAN ANTONIO – After the COVID-19 pandemic forced all schools to close early in March, St. Jose del Rio Catholic School quickly realized it was time to try something new.

The decision was made to turn the school into a microschool for the upcoming school year.

“We think that it can provide new opportunities and help families be flexible in a time when they need flexibility,” designated priest for St. Jose del Rio Catholic Church Father Lawrence Christian said.

This will be the first Catholic School in Central and South Texas to adopt this new model of learning.

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The new model has blended studios (classrooms) that follow a Socratic dialogue, E-Learning, and project-based learning.

“Instead of a teacher just giving the facts, the students are actually discovering on their own and it’s self-paced,” principal Dr. Mary Longloy said.

Everything about the school is different from the traditional model. Classrooms are called studios, teachers are called guides, there is no designated seating, it’s spaced out and instead of earning grades, the students will earn badges. Each student will have their own curriculum to study at their own pace and children will be in a cluster of students from several age groups.

“I think that what the pandemic brought to us, is that we can do this well, meeting the needs of our students in non-traditional ways,” Superintendent of Catholic schools Marti West said.

There will be about 50 students attending this year starting on Aug. 17. If proven to be successful it’s a model that may spread to more Catholic schools in the San Antonio Archdiocese system.

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About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.