Frequently asked questions
How is Abrome different?
Functionally, we are quite different than traditional schools. We have no teachers or students. We have no homework, testing, or grades. We have no curriculum, classes, or age-based segregation.
However, it is the theory and practice of emancipated learning that really makes Abrome different. At Abrome, we believe that every young person is competent and loves to learn. And that when we construct an intentional community of remarkable young people, coupled with Learning Coaches who will help guide Learners to take charge of their lives, and parents who give them the freedom to construct their own learning pathways, that they will lead remarkable lives.
What makes us different is not that we are "alternative" or "progressive," relative to traditional schools, or that we can get a majority of our Learners into a top ten college or university. What makes us different is that there are no losers at Abrome. Every child can lead a remarkable life.
What makes Abrome better than other alternative private schools?
We have a unique approach to education that is not replicated by any other alternative private school. In fact, we do not consider Abrome to be a school. However, whether we are "better" than other alternative private schools depends on the unique needs and goals of each Learner, and his or her family.
Is Abrome a better alternative for my child?
We believe that Abrome is a clearly superior alternative for virtually every young person relative to traditional schooling. But, because each young person is different, we may not be the best alternative education option for every one of them. Fortunately, there is a growing number of alternative schools in the Austin area that may fit the unique needs of your children. Please read everything on the Abrome website before applying. You should start with the page, Is Abrome right for you?
How do you learn math, writing, algebra, foreign languages, or physics if there is no formal instruction?
At Abrome, learning is an intentional act. However, learning isn't achieved through a prescriptive formula. We support Learners by helping them identify for themselves what their needs, goals, and interests are. They then decide what types of learning experiences they want to engage in to move toward meeting or satisfying their needs, goals, and interests. In the process, they identify what resources are available to them, and what resources they believe they need to acquire. Through the support of the Learning Coaches, other Learners, and their learning community, they not only learn what they need to learn for college and career success, but they also learn how to learn, which will equip them with a skill set that few people have.
Can you help students with learning disabilities?
With the exception of severe learning disabilities that require special accommodations and therapy, we are eager to include young people with learning differences into our learning environment. We consider learning differences to be a form of diversity that everyone can benefit from. Be sure to notify us of such learning differences so that we can have an honest conversation about whether or not Abrome will be able to fully support your child.
Why don't you use the words student or teacher?
The terms student and teacher are out of place at Abrome because we do not have a culture that perpetuates the notion that young people's minds are empty vessels to be filled by omniscient adults. We reject authoritarian approaches to education. We will never lecture to young people in an attempt to help them learn. We view Learners as our equals, and Learning Coaches (adults) exist to protect the space, to preserve the culture, and to support the Learners as they craft their own remarkable lives.
Why does the day start at 10 A.M.? This makes it harder for me to drop off my child in the morning.
There is ample research that shows that young people in America are suffering from a severe shortage of sleep, which hampers their cognitive, emotional, physical, and psychological development. It is generally accepted that teens need between 9-10.5 hours of sleep per night. We are starting at 10 A.M. because we cannot best help young people if we have structures in place that also harm them. We will allow Learners to be dropped off as early as 9 A.M., but we cannot accommodate earlier drop off times.
Most schools have a 180-day academic calendar, with a three month summer break. Why does Abrome have a 210-day academic calendar that stretches through the summer?
At Abrome, we do not want learning to end when Learners go home at 4p, on the weekends, or over the summer. Lifelong learning is required for people to lead remarkable lives, and long summer breaks undermine that mindset. Because we are not a school, we do not arbitrarily hold ourselves to the traditional practices of schooling. However, we also see the value of Learners taking their learning beyond the doors of Abrome. For that reason, although we have a 210-day academic calendar that stretches year round, we encourage our Learners and their families to decide for themselves at least 30 days that they will engage in learning experiences away from the Abrome learning space (such as day trips, summer camps, and family vacations).
I would rather have you tell me when our children should be at Abrome. Can you tell me what 30 days we should take off?
We encourage you and your Abrome Learners to discuss the best way to structure the year so that they have agency over their education. We anticipate some families taking time off for planned family vacations based on non-peak travel dates. Other families may want to spend four days at Abrome so that they can have three-day weekends. Families that have one Learner at Abrome and one child at a traditional school may choose to map their schedule on the less flexible traditional school calendar. Finally, some Learners may want to spend all 210 days at Abrome.
Is it ok to take vacations while Abrome is in session?
We highly encourage families to pursue every opportunity to engage in the most dynamic and meaningful learning experiences possible, and that includes travel. We look forward to reconnecting with Learners when they return from vacation.
Is part-time enrollment an option?
We do not have a part-time enrollment option. However, our 210-day calendar gives families considerable flexibility as to when their Learners are at Abrome.
Does Abrome have sports?
No, Abrome does not sponsor sports. However, like any other learning experiences they would undertake, Abrome Learners will identify ways in which they can (if they care to) incorporate sports into their education. For most sports, especially olympic sports, Learners can join highly competitive club teams, homeschool teams, or start their own team to participate in a private school or religious sports leagues. If participating at the highest level of Texas High School Football is a primary concern, then Abrome may not be right for you.
How long has Abrome been around?
We opened our doors as a learning community on August 22, 2016. Our first year has been magical.
Abrome College & Career Outcomes
How can my child get into Harvard or Stanford if she doesn't receive grades or a class rank?
Grades and class rank can significantly harm an college applicant's chance of getting into a top college or university, but they can do little to help them. At traditional schools, one is expected to outperform their peers in order to be in the running for an offer of admission. At Abrome, every Learner is able to demonstrate excellence and intellectual vitality, without being handicapped by grades or class rank. Learn more by reading our college and career page.
If there are no formal classes what do we use as a transcript?
Learners will construct transcripts based on their unique learning experiences. For Learners who want to go to college, we will assist them in documenting their experiences and creating a transcript that will impress college admissions committees.
Why do Abrome Learners have such a better shot at gaining admission into top colleges and universities than students from top public or private schools?
Four primary reasons:
- No grades or class rank means that Abrome Learners are not handicapped in the admissions process.
- No classwork, homework, or testing means that Abrome Learners can invest substantially more time into creating deep, meaningful, and enduring learning experiences.
- Having the time to create deep, meaningful, and enduring learning experiences, in conjunction with the support of the Abrome learning community, means that Abrome Learners will be able to clearly demonstrate excellence and intellectual vitality.
- Abrome has a unique competency in the college admissions process.
What experience do you have with college admissions?
We have over 13 years of college admissions consulting experience. Almost 50% of our clients who have applied to Harvard and/or Stanford have gained admission, and 75% of our clients have gained admission into a top ten program. Additionally, we organized all college fairs for West Point in the NYC area for a period of two years, we served on the West Point Admissions Field Force, and we volunteered with the Stanford Admissions Office.
Can you guarantee that my child will get into Harvard or Stanford?
No, but your child's chances of gaining admission into Harvard, Stanford, or another top school increase substantially if s/he leads a remarkable life. And his or her chances of leading a remarkable life through Abrome are significantly higher than they would be in a traditional schooling environment.
How much does it cost to attend Abrome?
The 2017-2018 academic year tuition and fees schedule is listed under the admissions tab. For those who enroll in Abrome before the end of the academic year, they will pay the pro rata portion of the 2016-2017 academic year tuition.
How much will tuition increase, each year?
Once your child enrolls (except for a one-time step up at age 13), their tuition and fees are locked in. That means that if we raise tuition to $40,000 in the future, your child will still pay the same tuition that we agreed to when they first enrolled. That means families will lock in lower tuition payments if they enroll their children immediately, as opposed to waiting until next fall.
Are there scholarships available to help with tuition?
Abrome sets aside one-third of tuition payments to cover the cost of attendance for low-income Learners and to promote diversity. Abrome is funded entirely through tuition payments; we do not receive grants or donations.
How does the cost of Abrome compare to the cost of other private, alternative schools?
The cost of attendance at Abrome is less expensive than several local private schools, and it is priced at a steep discount to the market value of the experience. Although Abrome's tuition is more expensive than the majority of private, alternative schools, we have a unique offering that warrants the pricing.
Why is your tuition higher than many other private, alternative schools?
Five primary reasons:
- We do not subject Abrome families to fundraising requests or requirements; the price listed is the real cost of attendance.
- Our college admissions competency is a unique offering for Learners who seek to attend college. We previously charged candidates over $5,000 a year for academic consulting and over $20,000 for senior year admissions consulting. This offering is now rolled into the cost of tuition. (We no longer accept clients for college admissions consulting.)
- Full-pay families subsidize our diversity mandate. Our learning community is significantly strengthened by socio-economic and other forms of diversity.
- We endeavor to attract and retain the most compassionate, dedicated, and talented Learning Coaches in the world. We do not believe our Learning Coaches should live from paycheck to paycheck, like far too many teachers do.
- Unlike other schools, Abrome focuses on the health, happiness, and achievement of all Learners. We provide the conditions for Learners to lead remarkable lives by the age of 18, and that warrants a significantly higher tuition.
May I join Abrome part way through the academic year?
Yes, if accepted. Because our Learners construct their own learning experiences on their own timelines, we accept Learners on a rolling basis throughout the year.
What are you looking for in candidates?
Our primary considerations are:
- Will the candidate substantially benefit from the Abrome learning community?
- Will the learning community substantially benefit from the presence of the candidate?
- Does the candidate really want to be at Abrome?
- Will the family support the candidate's newfound freedom in an emancipated learning environment? Will they allow the candidate to lead a remarkable life?
Are you a religious school?
No, we are not a school, and we are not religiously affiliated. However, we embrace diversity, and we hope to have a plethora of religious faiths (as well as agnostic and atheist) represented in our community.
Are you a micro school?
No, we are not a school. However, we acknowledge that micro schools have many advantages over larger traditional schools. Fortunately for us, like micro schools, we benefit from the limited size of our learning community. We also benefit from not being bound by the constraints and structures of school.
Abrome is a non-coercive environment. Are there any instances in which the Learning Coaches will take on an authoritarian role?
There are some issues or situations that are non-negotiable. Everyone at Abrome is there of their own volition, and agrees to certain rules and guidelines. Violence is forbidden. If anyone in the community engages in violence, we will immediately segregate them from others. Likewise, if we recognize a safety hazard, we will mandate that Learners steer clear of it. Additionally, a culture of diversity, tolerance, and respect is essential to creating a psychologically safe space. We will not tolerate any form of bullying, hazing, harassment, or ridicule. Also, alcohol, drugs, and pornography are not permitted in the Abrome learning environment. Bringing such items into the community is grounds for immediate dismissal.
How can I learn more about alternative education or defend my decision to emancipate my children from traditional schooling?
After you have read through our website, we encourage you to look at our additional resources page for further reading and viewing.