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Number of cutting-edge hybrid schools jumps in United States

Written on July 24th, 2009

Group envisions ‘turning the tide’ of education in North America with model

Since the inception of a Texas-based association of hybrid schools in 2002 the organization has grown by 67 per cent.

The National Association of University-Model Schools (NAUMS) began with a membership of 12 schools and is now at 36.

Executive director Barbara Freeman notes this growth has happened largely by “word-of-mouth.” She says the group is pleased with the progress.

However, the NAUMS mission is to see much greater growth and “turn the tide” of education in North America with this model.

“The vision of the (University-Model School) is to help parents prepare college-worthy, character-witnesses of Christ for the next generation,” says Freeman. “And the mission of NAUMS is to share this vision with Christian families around the world.”

The director says she would like to see parents across North America “get involved directly with their children’s lives and education through the University-Model School.”

For that to happen national media exposure, geared specifically to Christian circles, such as the radio program Focus on the Family, is necessary, she says.

“In my opinion, this (exposure) will lead to the development of hundreds of new schools within a matter of months,” says Freeman, adding she believes people of wealth and resources will also “catch the University-Model School ” vision and have a strong desire to underwrite the ministry.

As an educator of many years, Freeman says she finds the University-Model School to be the answer to most of the problems in Christian education today.

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However, she does also admit there are some potential limitations to the model. Only those parents who want and are able to devote time to their children at home will be interested in the model. This could mean giving up one income or partial income.

It can also be more difficult for single-parent families to participate in the schools, unless another committed family-member is willing and able to work with the children in the satellite classroom at home.

Freeman also says that locating a facility — most University-Model Schools lease space from churches — and procuring the financial resources to fund an University-Model School so that it becomes sustainable over time can be difficult.

For those interested in pursuing this model of education, they can contact NAUMS for a free introductory package of information. The package includes the steps required to developing a new University-Model School or transitioning a current school to the model.

Freeman notes that once a school is a member of NAUMS there is a wealth of resources at the disposal of interested parties, including training materials, free technical assistance, the opportunity to bring consultants on-site, and national and regional training and conference events.