At Future Earth Academy, there is no grade level system or age-based learning hierarchy. This is a learning collective with high school-aged learners and adult mentors collaborating in groups of varying size and age range in a variety of cross-disciplinary projects.
The adults are experts in their disciplines but are open to new ideas, fresh perspectives and global insights contributed by the learners. The learners are able to advance at their own rate and may outpace older peers and even mentors in some domains. As learners advance, they have opportunities to teach and mentor others, even their own mentors.
Everyone in the school interacts with members of the public (young and old) through remote and live public talks, workshops, exhibitions, and community-based projects. This seamless public interface adds yet another dimension to the school's learning collective as members of the public are invited "in" to learn and teach alongside those who are part of the school's program.
Projects are organized around the common interests of learners and their mentors (eg, water quality, quantum computing, STEM ethics, science journalism, etc.) and around their collaborative potential. Groupings change in size, age mix, duration and purpose, offering all learners and mentors a rich variety of opportunities to connect in meaningful ways.
Experts in human development and psychology ("Social-Emotional Mentors" or "SEMs") support everyone in the school collective by supervising and facilitating group activity, modeling best practices in collaboration and mentorship, providing private and group counseling, and enforcing behavioral "rules of engagement" for learners and mentors.