The Scoop Behind Egypt’s Most Talked About School: Mavericks

Via Mavericks

 

Just like thousands of Egyptian parents, I’ve been recently panicking over schools. You have hundreds of choices, yet only two or maybe three actually impress you. The fees are out of this world, the assessments are humiliating, and you feel lost. Then along comes a school with a mission and an out-of-the-box education method.

 

Parents have been talking about Mavericks International School non-stop on Facebook school groups. We hear it doesn’t conform to any traditional standards that we’re used to — kids don’t have a school uniform, each child is allowed to follow his own pace and students can sit on a bean bag or the floor — as long as they’re learning.

 

For me, as a parent, the acceptance and tolerance sounded like a dream come true. Along with Facebook posts about anti-bullying sessions and a staff with impressive resumes, I couldn’t help but have high hopes for this school.

 

We still had questions! The system is completely new to us and we feel responsible to offer our kids the best. We talked to Mavericks School’s management team and they gave us all the answers we needed and so much more:

 

 

What is the blended learning system?

 

Blended learning is an education model that implements face-to-face learning, supported with the use of technology to widen children’s scope of knowledge. This methodology ensures that the student is always engaged in activities for individual academic progress and for acquiring life-related skills.

 

The approach integrates offline/online learning, individual/group work, hands-on activities, procedural activities and indoor/outdoor activities to cater to specific cognitive and developmental needs of each child. We implement a station rotation model where students get to experience a whole class’ instruction, small group work and individual work.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

Observation happens through a school system called LMS which stands for “Learning Management System.” It is an app that we developed to track students’ learning progress. This facilitates students’ learning based on their individual needs, interests, and potential. LMS takes teachers’ input and students’ learning to make the personalization concept a reality. We’re developing the LMS with the help of all stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, and community members.

 

We use portfolio assessments where we document all of the students’ work through different media, including written/presented work, individual/group participation, interests, performance on projects and performance in every learning step. Formative assessment helps us identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses. We also use reflection assessment to assess students’ learning process and different methods to assess students’ overall learning.

 

 

What does this concept have to offer Egyptian students?

 

Students work with their own pace. First of all, want our students to be critical thinkers who will be able to create their future with own potential and be active citizens for their country. Thus, we adopt the station rotation model, which provides a lot of flexibility in teaching and learning, which benefits both students and teachers alike.

 

Our blended learning experience utilizes face-to-face and online resources interchangeably. This allows students to alternate between both according to their pace and interest while being guided by their teachers’ input and feedback. We allow our students to have many resources so that they would have wider fields of knowledge. As for KG, the use of technology will be limited to the teacher who will guide the learning process. 

 

Via Mavericks School

How does a customized learning system actually work?

 

Students have their own portfolios consisting of their own work and progress steps. It’s our aim to notice and take action when finding weaknesses in order to work on them and to make sure that strengths are further developed. Students will be actively involved in contributing to their own progress to make the educational process as student-centered as possible.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

Which international curriculum will students receive at Mavericks school?

 

We follow American standards; however, we’ve developed our own curriculum in-house as a frame that will be fully shaped, based on students’ interests and everyday experiences.

 

 

How difficult is it to present Egypt with a whole new education concept knowing that we are very skeptic towards anything different or new?

 

I believe this generalization cannot, and should not, be made. We have met so many parents who want their children to learn differently than how they learnt in the traditional systems.

 

The difficulty comes when someone believes the “factory model” of education is what’s best for the students — where they’re spoon-fed information and asked to memorize it and then dump it in the exam. Anyone with the mindset of understanding that children are different and need to have personalized learning experiences is a person we would like to work with.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

If the school allows each student to take his own time and follow his own academic pace, will a personalized system affect the number of years a student spends at Mavericks school?

 

No, the numbers of years they spend will be the same. We know from research and experience that children learn by default. Accordingly, providing them with the proper environment should cultivate their learning, in academic and non-academic learning steps.

 

The learning steps we use at Mavericks are developed by researchers and pedagogues, and are cognitively appropriate for the students’ respective ages; this means that the time needed to go through these steps is taken into consideration.

 

 

Will parents be able to follow up with their children’s academic achievements since this has proven to be challenging in other systems such as the IB?

 

Yes, they will. We understand parent’s concerns over their children’s development, that’s why we have a solid communication system in which students’ portfolio and progress can be viewed. Each student will have an online and offline portfolio where we track students’ progress over each academic standard across the year.

 

Moreover, we have their hands-on activities stored offline in their folders. Teachers, parents and students have ownership over the folder with the teacher guidance and accountability.

 

 

What does the regular school day look like?

 

We believe that the school day shouldn’t start directly; therefore, students are allowed to socialize for a certain period in the morning. Once the official school day starts, they are invited to a check-in session where they communicate and share with their peers and teachers whatever they feel and believe is necessary to kick start the day.

 

Students then get to experience different learning environments throughout the day, which involve academic, social, socio-emotional, art, and physical activities. By the end of the day, students have a reflection session to go through what happened during the day, and discuss incidents or topics they feel were significant.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

As for the general look of the week, we have a schedule that we call 3+2 model; a weekly schedule that lets the students follow our school’s agenda for 3 days, and we follow their agenda for the other two days. Our agenda includes activities that work on different skills. These two special days, however, are divided into: one art/festival day, where students engage in different performances and in visual art forms; the other day, students get to do activities necessary for their own development, or anything they are interested in.

 

 

Every parent is excited about your unconventional classroom setup, as we constantly see on your social media. How does allowing a student to sit on a bean bag or on the floor affect his performance?

 

The freedom to choose where to learn is a big part of our Mavericks learning experience. At Mavericks, we give our kids the freedom to learn wherever they want. Whatever area they enjoy and feel relaxed working in, they can. It’s up to them to choose because when children feel comfortable, they concentrate more on the task at hand and try to do their best. Mavericks’ kids can learn and work just about in any area and on any surface. Some of our kids like and greatly benefit from having the freedom to choose where to learn.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

Learning shouldn’t be bound to the traditionally closed room construction, but should happen at any space once the child has the urge and curiosity to learn and ask questions. Changing the location and setup of the learning environment increases creativity and allows kids to choose their comfortable space so they can learn better.

 

 

The school’s campus location in Kattameya. Some are claiming you are using part of Futures school building. Is this true and should we expect the school to have a separate campus later on?

 

It takes tens of millions of Egyptian pounds to build a school, which forces investors to charge parents costly school fees. Therefore, we follow a lease/rent model to achieve our mission of providing children an affordable and high-quality education at the same time.

 

Mavericks only shares the playgrounds with other schools at different hours. Moreover, all other Mavericks school facilities are enjoyed by our students and managed by our team. Mavericks provides a learning experience that is flexible enough to be offered as a program within an independent school. We have rented a building that is owned by Futures but it’s completely separate and is not shared by Futures school’s students.

 

Via Mavericks School

 

On a side note, we can collaborate with other schools and share our schooling experience with their students. In the case of a school adopting our program, students are registered with the school campus they attend at and receive reports/certificates in both Mavericks and that school’s name. However, Mavericks always has independent management and staff in any model.

 

 

Since you offer a blended learning system, if a student decides to transfer to another International school, how difficult will it be?   

 

Via Mavericks School

 

We foster a learning environment in which students are allowed to develop life hacking and survival skills. Accordingly, our students have the character to survive whatever situation they’re put in, and have the intellectual capacity to be flexible and adapt to any situation. More often than not, our students develop the means to change what they don’t like, and act as agents of change. We don’t want our students to be just academically strong, but also capable of facing life challenges too.

 

 

We understand that books will not dictate your curriculum, then what is the studying source for the students?

 

Via Mavericks School

 

The world is our classroom. We’ve developed and prepared activities for every single cognitive stage-appropriate learning step and standard, where the activities blend online and offline learning, in-class and out-of-class learning, group, class, and individual learning. However, we understand that the curriculum has to emerge based on students’ needs, wants, interests, and abilities. Therefore, we have to be very competent, flexible, knowledgeable, and empathetic to be able to provide students with the necessary resources and tools to pursue their learning steps according to their personalized plans.

 

 

WE SAID THIS: You can follow the updates for the Kattameya and 6th October branches here. You can also email them via contactus@mavericks-hub.com, or call them 01288503378 (Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm).

 

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