Prince Edward microschool now set to close in September

Published 5:50 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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RICE – Only a few months after changing to a microschool, Full Circle Education Center is closing its doors for good.

Full Circle School started in 2016 as a small nonprofit private school in Rice with only a handful of students meeting at Jamestown Presbyterian Church. As it grew, the school adapted and made room as it strived to provide an educational model that served the whole child and all stakeholders.

This spring, the school announced a change to its format due to financial challenges. The school shifted to become a microschool named Full Circle Education Center. As a microschool, the school had a shorter week and a more flexible schedule, closer to a homeschool co-op. On days they didn’t meet, students could get tutoring where they struggled or learn in other ways like through field trips. 

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“We have grown and evolved over the years just as our students and families have grown,” said Angela Whittaker, director of Full Circle Education Center. “When we began, we had no students enrolled, just two teachers and the determination to do things in a way that served the little humans that would walk through our doors in a way that supported them mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

What is a microschool?

The idea is described as similar to the learning pods students had during the pandemic. During that time, families got together to set up groups, sometimes bringing in a private tutor. The group effort makes it a bit different from homeschooling and why, after the pandemic restrictions lifted, people started calling these types of programs “microschools”. Well, due to that and the small space inside the actual facility. Most have no more than 10 to 15 students in a classroom.  

Whittaker said her group was inspired to make the switch after seeing people leave local school districts. The group also offered classes for adults to take with their children, like bike repair, Yoga, Brain Gym, Heart Math and meditation. 

Community changes its mind

The switch to a microschool and homeschool co-op was supported in community surveys that showed significant interest in supporting this shift. However, as the program unfolded, the willingness to commit to the new schedule and structure was not something Whittaker said the homeschool community was willing to do. 

Unfortunately, due to a lack of enrollment, Full Circle Education Center will close its doors permanently, with the last class on Friday, Sept. 8. 

“We are so grateful to the supporters past and present who have helped us offer our community and educational alternatives,” said Whittaker. “[We] love and appreciate our families and friends for the countless ways you have helped the vision grow and continue. We are deeply grateful to Jamestown Presbyterian Church and its community for their commitment to our vision. I want to personally thank the board members for their passionate commitment and service. We will forever hold the memories of you all close to our hearts. Thank you for the privilege of serving your children for the past seven years.”