Project-based learning, which teaches concepts through hands-on projects, has been winning over educators for its ability to foster academic skills, but also impart social-emotional skills, also known as “soft skills.”
Designing engaging, interdisciplinary projects is easier said than done, but Portfolio School, a project-based learning school, is hoping to make it a lot less daunting for educators who lack either the time or expertise to design worthwhile projects.
This week, the school announced plans to develop an online platform to help teachers bring high-quality projects to life. Called Project ScaleUp, the platform will be funded with the support of the JW Couch Foundation.
Teachers will be able to search for project “maps” by topic and grade level and modify projects for their students. "With ScaleUp, teachers around the world will have access to Portfolio's research-based project design process as well as a growing body of project ideas," said Babur Habib, Portfolio School's Co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "It will remove the barrier to entry for lots of teachers and homeschool educators, and help Portfolio School increase our impact beyond our classrooms."
Based in NYC, Portfolio School will serve K-6 students in the 2019-20 school year and has plans to grow into a K-12 school over time.
The investment marks JW Couch's first program-related investment in a for-profit organization for the new private foundation.
"The kind of innovation we see at Portfolio School would not be possible without the remarkable projects that have been crafted by the team there," Sean Couch, President of the JW Couch Foundation, said in a statement. "We're proud to support Portfolio School and help kickstart Project ScaleUp so that more educators and students can reap the benefits. Millions could potentially get access to the ScaleUp platform, and communities will better understand how this is the future of education."