podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews educator Danielle Marolf

On this episode, Tuthill talks with the principal of Wellmont Academy, a faith-based private school in St. Petersburg, Florida, that serves traditional grade levels – with a twist. While some students participate in in-person instruction two or three days a week, others attend in person five days a week, depending on the needs and preferences of each family.

Marolf discusses how her experience with her son’s dyslexia led her to start an untraditional school of the type now growing in popularity in Florida and nationwide. She and Tuthill also discuss the day-to-day management of a hybrid school like Wellmont, how longtime homeschool families have adjusted to a different schedule, and policy changes that are needed to give families more flexibility in spending their education dollars.

“As many negative things have come from the pandemic, I think this has definitely been a positive. It is blowing wide open the concept of how we educate our children best. Not everybody fits the same mold.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

·       How a small homeschooling group grew into a popular hybrid school

·       How scheduling and curriculum work for students at the same grade level but on different schedules

·       The concept of “assisted learning rooms” where students operate in small groups with teachers present to guide them

·       How Florida’s education policy needs to change to accommodate expansion of innovative school models like Wellmont Academy