As I stepped out of the San Diego sunshine and into the school located in a storefront in a strip mall, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve visited several schools located in storefronts over the years, but few that were also charters.
My jaw dropped. The facility was unlike any school I had been in before.
It was pristine, orderly, and inspiring. This was a place where anyone would want to work—a professional adult or a student—in stark contrast to most school classrooms. It reminded me of a mix of an airy Apple Store and a coffee shop.
There was no classroom space per se, but instead the open floor plan was divided in subtle ways into a variety of well thought out types of spaces—from those dedicated to individual work to other spaces for small-group and one-on-one work and from small breakout rooms for seminars to still other spaces tucked away for students to embark on virtual reality experiences, design for 3D printers, or do science labs.
Teachers had their offices upstairs. When they were downstairs, they were exclusively focused on the students.
The school I was visiting was The Charter School of San Diego, which itself has a total of 14 different resource centers across San Diego. The school is one of seven Altus Schools in California.