The LiberatED Podcast with Kerry McDonald features fresh ideas on education trends, entrepreneurship, innovative K-12 learning models, and schooling alternatives.

A Letter from Kerry McDonald of LiberatED

I am in Las Vegas, Nevada this week visiting with microschool founders and hosting a workshop for local education entrepreneurs to hear more about their startup challenges. Like Iowa, Nevada has some of the most restrictive regulations on private schools in the country.

Despite those regulations, or perhaps partly because of them, there is a thriving microschool community here. According to Don and Ashley Soifer of the National Microschooling Center, who support these microschools and others across the US, there are approximately 25 microschools within a 10-mile radius of the Las Vegas Strip serving more than 300 learners. The Soifers expect this number to double very soon.

Some of these microschools, or intentionally small, mixed-age, personalized learning communities, operate as recognized private schools but many don’t like the private school regulatory constraints and instead function as learning centers offering full-time and part-time options for homeschoolers.

One full-time, faith-based microschool I visited on Monday decided not to be registered as a private school due to these constraints, and instead opened as a microschool in the fall of 2020 with 30 students who are recognized as homeschoolers. Today, that microschool has nearly 100 students who attend 5 days a week, with a long waiting list.

Another microschool wanted to open as a private school but because private schools here must either have a state-licensed teacher or be religiously-exempt, that founder opened instead as a full-time tutoring center for homeschoolers. I’ll be sharing more about that founder’s story soon.

It was especially exciting to be in Las Vegas this week to mark the one year anniversary of the LiberatED podcast! I recorded an anniversary episode with Sarah Tavernetti and Yamila De Leon of Bloom Academy, a self-directed microschool in Las Vegas that continues to grow.

What a wonderful year it has been spotlighting the incredible stories of entrepreneurial teachers and parents who have built alternatives to the conventional schooling system! I can’t wait for year two!

Listen to the LiberatED podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or visit the podcast website.

Until next week,


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