Charter School Offers Alternative to College Through Technical Training

Rooted School has set out to generate a consistent local talent pipeline for jobs in high growth industries, beginning with students well-versed in technical skills.

Founder Jonathan Johnson said the charter school, set to open next year, is a different model than most. Rooted School offers a chance for its students to compete with the same high tech jobs as college grads, which other schools currently do not offer.

However, students are not required to accept a job offer over a college acceptance letter. “The potential of this is that you have a school that proves that college does not have to be the only pathway to financial freedom,” shared Johnson.

Rooted School is designed on three pillars: pathways, practice, and possibilities.

The pathways pillar in the Rooted School model stems from partnerships with companies such as LookFar, Lucid, and Kickboard to design technical project-based curriculum. Digital media, 3d printing and scanning, computer programming, app development, and database management are a preview of the offerings. 

On the practice side, students will rotate through general classes such as science and math with support from teachers along the way.

Finally, the possibilities. Rooted School will set students up with work-based learning internships through the partner companies. The competitive paid internships will be during summer break for the first two years and included as part of school days in the latter two years.

Upon completion of the projects and curriculum, students will receive industry recognized credentials, three  in computer programming and one on the non programming side.

Johnson told Silicon Bayou News the goal is to build an ecosystem of schools locally, each will become their own talent pipeline to specific sectors. Health and advanced manufacturing are planned for the future if all goes well.

“We have the potential to shape public education nationally,” said Johnson.

Rooted school is in the process of recruiting the founding class of 40 students. Johnson notes the school is not for everyone. Students must like to create things with technology and must be comfortable with moving at their own pace, among other things.

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