DREAM Technical Academy
I love that DREAM allowed me to be myself, which allowed me to find myself. I feel like DREAM has really made me ready to be an adult and have a successful career and life.
FACTS & FIGURES
Free and reduced lunch
Black or American Indian
Tammie and Doug Knick didn’t want to create a learning environment they thought would be a great fit for kids. Rather, they wanted to create a learning environment the community thought would be a great fit for kids. And, more importantly, an environment young learners themselves would be eager to be a part of from day one.
When families and young learners express interest in attending DREAM, they are invited to tour the space and ask questions about DREAM’s learner-centered model. Then, an intake interview is conducted to identify the needs and challenges the young learner and parents have experienced in previous settings. This 360 degree interview process sets young learners who have experienced educational trauma—from bullying or a lack of social and emotional resources—on a path to transform their relationship with adults, their peers, and learning itself.
Take one learner who came to DREAM reluctantly in January 2014. During his first semester, the socially embedded nature of DREAM was terrifying to him. He would rarely speak to anyone and would often miss multiple days of learning due to his social anxiety. He wanted nothing to do with being recognized in any capacity. Fast forward five years and that same learner has to be reminded not to dominate group discussions. Through DREAM’s learner-centered model of learning, this young man found that his voice matters, is wanted, and can be used as a force for good.
And, for DREAM’s leaders, they are quick to highlight these kinds of outcomes in any story they share. A learner might create a cool project exploring the question: “What would happen if states determined they no longer wanted to be a part of the union?” But, it is the fundamental life skills and dispositions that DREAM leaders point to. Did the project cultivate learner agency, expand creativity, and form connections to knowledge gained inside and outside DREAM’s walls? Those questions are far more important than whether or not the diverse economy of California could sustain itself outside the bounds of the United States.
DREAM Technical Academy is ultimately driven by creating an environment “where serious people go to broaden their minds and learn to live the rest of their lives.” They are committed to cultivating lifelong learners who are active participants in the communities they call home. Whatever they develop next, this mission will guide the choices they make.
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