Monday, November 5, 2012

New Education Model: Carpe Diem Schools

Carpe Diem's educational model is radical.

At the center of the school is a cubicle area that looks like a call center. Each student is assigned a cubicle and a computer. The student does all of her lecture-style learning with online video tutorials on the computer so that she is prepared for small group projects.

Teachers do not lecture. Instead, they facilitate small group learning experiences and answer their students questions.

Each teacher stays with the students throughout their educational career. So, your math teacher when you are in 6th grade is still your math teacher when you are 12th grade. The teachers know their students well enough to have a relationship with them and to design instruction for that student.

Carpe Diem is a public charter school that spends less per student than traditional public schools in its district, but achieves significantly better results. Carpe Diem spends about $5,300 per student compared to an average of $7,000 per student at traditional public schools in Arizona.

If I were designing a brand new educational model from the ground up, I would seriously consider the Carpe Diem model as a starting point.

Here is a short video introduction to the school:

Note: This is part two in a series of posts about big ideas in education. Part one asks, "If you were building a new education system on the moon, what would it look like?"


  1. Great post Josh. Thanks for passing the info and thoughts along. So many things about that school are awesome. Very interesting indeed. I love forward thinking and changing what is not working in our public education system. I am all for individualized learning!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Cheri. I think you are right. Individualized learning is a big key and a big shift from our current paradigm.