“Most schools face the problem of oversight without context, so giving more power to the teachers - who are actually trying to make things work in the classroom - can be useful. Trust and support them to do their jobs.” - Indra Sofian
Indra Sofian offered us an inside look at the founding and launch of a progressive, student-directed high school known as Sora Schools. He walked us through the launch process from inspiration through formulation and iteration and ended with a glance towards his dreams for the future.
As a co-founder at Elevate Media, an Atlanta-based content-driven digital agency that provides marketing strategy, consulting, and content production services for businesses, Indra might seem to be an unlikely candidate for starting a school, but that is quite possibly what makes him so compelling. He is unfettered by the constraints of traditional education models and seems intent on formulating a new way of educating young people.
Have a listen, and enjoy the energy and inspiration of someone determined to reinvent the wheel - as long as he ends up with a rocket.
In our discussion, we cover:
00:24 Andrew asks Indra how the Sora Schools journey began.
6:03 Indra talks about the inspiration for and first steps in founding Sora.
11:20 Andrew advises Indra to keep a record of the journey so that others can benefit from his process.
12:15 Indra discusses the onboarding process for new students.
14:20 Andrew asks - what were the hardest challenges you have already overcome in the launch?
16:26 Indra discusses the need to stay focused on the student experience in spite of the administrative challenges of having students all over the country.
19:55 Andrew wonders about how the homeschooling trend will continue to evolve over time, and how Sora interfaces with the homeschooling community.
24:52 Indra offers advice for traditional schools on how to improve the educational environment.
30:23 Indra talks about other innovations that might be coming in the future.
36:34 Andrew asks - How can we collaborate with and support what you are doing?
13:00 “At every step of the way, we want student input because we really, really believe in giving the students agency.”
22:40 “Once a child gets to high school age, it becomes a bit more difficult for a parent to homeschool - regardless of the education level of the parent.”
26:30 “Most schools face the problem of oversight without context, so giving more power to the teachers - who are actually trying to make things work in the classroom - can be useful. Trust and support them to do their jobs.”
32:15 “I hope that the students who graduate from our program are entrepreneurial, thoughtful, independent, self-directed people.”
Here are some resources mentioned in our discussion:
John Danner https://twitter.com/jwdanner
Keith Rabois https://twitter.com/rabois
Workspace Education https://workspaceeducation.org/about/team/
One Stone https://onestone.org/
Where to learn more about the guest:
Personal website - indrasofian.com
Indra on Linkedin - linkedin.com/in/indrasofian
Indra’s newsletter - medium.com/@indrasofian/
Sora Schools - https://soraschools.com/
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Where to learn more about Enrollhand:
Our webinar: https://webinar-replay.enrollhand.com
Our free Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/schoolgrowth/