Imagine a learning environment where students’ needs are individually met; where personalized instruction is delivered because class sizes are manageable; where children feel valued, safe, supported and challenged. While in today’s world this may seem like an unachievable utopia, Janelle Wood of the Phoenix-based Black Mothers Forum would argue she has done just that.

“Our focus was to address the school to prison pipeline…we all determined we needed to get educated and organized to save the lives of our babies,” says Wood, and Covid offered the perfect storm of an opportunity.  “We needed to start at the school level because this is where it begins…somewhere [kids] lost their desire to learn, somewhere there was a failure, a breakdown, a breach and we determined that was in the school…”

Experts argue that microschools address the individualized needs of students and foster an environment different from that found in a larger public or private school. As a result of the growth of microschools in Arizona during and post-pandemic, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced his support for helping the new innovative learning programs grow, and committed “$3.5 million to develop 50 microschools, in partnership with the Black Mothers Forum… centered around meeting the needs of children from minority communities and their families.”

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