CONNECTING KIDS TO PLACE

LEARN LOCAL 

ACADEMY

Looking to enhance your child's learning this semester?

Learn Local Academy is a 3-level program designed 

with care for kids enrolled in online/home schooling. 

In-person learners can also participate.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING  •  SELF-PACED  •  FUN

 

STANDARDS-ALIGNED  •  INTERDISCIPLINARY  

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Level Up Your Learning!

 KIDS PRE K - 8TH GRADES

  • Designed with care to combat boredom, get kids off their devices and connect more deeply with their community, o​ur innovative 3-level format opens the door to
    3D Learning: Dynamic Deeper, and Different ©

  • Kids are engaged and empowered to own their learning with our proven Arc of Action ©

  • Flexible scheduling easily coordinates with time requirements for online/homeschooling. 
    A combination of self-guided experiences and staff-guided sessions at each level so your family will have support and flexibility every step of the way.

  • All experiences are interdisciplinary (STEAM, English Language Arts, Social Studies),
    standards-aligned and scaled for grades PreK-2nd, 3rd-5th, and 6th-8th.

BRINGING BACK WONDER AND "WHOA!"

COVID-Smart

We keep the safety of learners, families, TOPOnexus facilitators and our community as first priority. We are responsive to evolving guidelines put forth by the state of MI, CDC, local health department and local school districts and adjust our practices accordingly to reduce risk.  See FAQs below for more COVID-Smart details.                                       

 

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Why Learn Local Academy ?

Our 3-level format provides a structured, but unscripted, way to:

 

  • Go outside and get offline

  • Use your sense of wonder

  • Connect with community

  • Learn about where you live

  • Build real-world skills

  • Develop citizenship and a civic mindset

  • Apply classroom knowledge

  • Discover your interests

  • Tap your talents

  • Do something to make a difference

  • Own your learning!

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Bringing back Wonder and Whoa!

Tuition assistance is available with partial scholarships and/or payment plans.


LEVEL 1: BACKYARD ADVENTURES


Grades PreK - 8

$210; ENROLLMENT IS ONGOING

Suggested pacing: Start anytime after Sept 21 with 1 Quest and 1 StoryMapping session each week (4 weeks)


Experience includes:
• Learn Local Academy Gear Bag (reusable drawstring bag with water bottle, journal, pencil and compass)
• 4 Quests* (self-guided) with Field Guides and Quest Maps plus supplies
• 4 StoryMapping** sessions (staff-guided by TOPOnexus) plus supplies

• 4 Bonus Bags with activities to extend your learning
• Level 1 Handbook for parents/caregivers 


Choose your 4 Quests from the following locations:
Harbor Springs - All Around Town; Springs of Harbor Springs; LTC Offield Viewlands; Petoskey State Park; Petsokey - All Around Town; Petoskey Waterfront; 
Bear River Recreation Area; North Central Michigan College campus

* Quests are not traditional walking tours but rather interactive experiences in a place around Little Traverse Bay area. You will have fun discovering this place in a whole new way.  Your quests can last anywhere from 1-3 hours (or more) depending on your age and how much you slow down to enjoy. You can always return to the site to use the "Discover More" prompts.
** StoryMapping is an interactive way to capture your learning from the Quests by combining drawings, diagrams, words, text and/or data. Kids create their own StoryMap, share their discoveries, and identify ways to keep exploring.
Our process is unique to TOPOnexus and based on Esri’s ArcGIS online platform.

LEVEL 2: LOCAL LABS • DEEP DIVE

Grades PreK - 8
$180; ENROLL BY OCT 25; Must complete Level 1 to participate

Suggested pacing: Start Oct 26 with 1 staff-guided Local Lab every week and self-guided Deep Dive


Experience includes:
• 4 Local Labs*  (staff-guided by a community expert) plus supplies including Create! Write! Build! Present!

 • 1 Deep Dive (self-guided) using your Deep Dive Field Guide
• 1 StoryMapping session (staff-guided by TOPOnexus) plus supplies

LEVEL 3: A2A AWARENESS TO ACTION

Grades 3 - 8
$90; ENROLL BY NOV 29; Must complete Level 1 and 2 to participate

Suggested pacing: Starting Nov 30 with suggested 3-week pacing


Experience includes:
•  1 Check-In session (staff-guided by TOPOnexus) 
• 1 A2A Project (self-guided) using your A2A Field Guide
• 1 StoryMapping session (staff-guided by TOPOnexus) plus supplies

All You Need To Know

We opted for online / homeschool / in-person. Can we do Learn Local Academy?


Yes! Learn Local Academy is a fun and innovative way for all students to enhance learning and is specifically designed for online/home schoolers.
It won’t feel like “too much school” because our experiential approach puts the Wonder and “Whoa" back into learning.
Common concerns with full online schooling – boredom, too much screen time, not enough hands-on, the need for socialization and/or a lack of opportunities to connect with community – are addressed by our innovative, 3-level format.
Note: Kids doing in-person schooling can easily participate in Level 1. Participation in Levels 2 and 3 are dependent on scheduling.




How does the 3-level format work?


With Learn Local Academy, you get to watch your child take learning to the next level!
Our three levels of real-world learning are carefully designed to create a semester-long progression.
Learners can enroll in Levels 1-2-3 with reduced tuition (by Sept 20) or start with Level 1 only and then level up along the way. Note: In order to do Levels 2 and 3, you must first participate in Level 1.
Level 1: Backyard Adventures; Starting Sept 14 with suggested 4-week pacing
Level 2: Deep Dive and Local Labs; Starting Oct 12 with suggested 4-week pacing
Level 3: A2A–Awareness To Action; Starting Nov 9 with suggested 4-week pacing




Are scholarships available?


Partial scholarships are available to parents/caregivers with a demonstrated need whose child may not otherwise be able to participate. Assistance includes payment plan and/or partial funding for tuition. To be eligible, a Tuition Assistance Form (available on the website) must be submitted for review.




Where does Learn Local Academy happen?


Level 1: Backyard Adventures are self-guided in the Little Traverse Bay region; StoryMapping sessions are staff-guided outdoors at Zorn Park, Harbor Springs or at Basecamp. Self-guided option is also available. Level 2: Local Labs are staff-guided outdoors at Zorn Park, Harbor Springs or at Basecamp; Deep Dive is self-guided at location of your choice; StoryMapping session is staff-guided outdoors at Zorn Park, Harbor Springs or at Basecamp. Self-guided option is also available. Level 3: A2A Check-In is staff-guided outdoors at Zorn Park, at Basecamp or via zoom; ; Deep Dive is self-guided at location of your choice; StoryMapping session is staff-guided outdoors at Zorn Park, Harbor Springs or at Basecamp. Self-guided option is also available. Note: If required by Executive Order, staff-guided sessions will be offered via Zoom.




Is there an opportunity for pod learning?


TOPOnexus encourages families to create small groups of 3-8 learners, aka “pods”, who are comfortable learning together. To form a pod, parents/caregivers discuss and agree on which practices they will use to reduce Covid risks during self-guided sessions for Learn Local Academy. TOPOnexus will act as a hub for local families wishing to form a learning pod. If you are interested in pod learning, please send us an email with your child(ren)’s name(s) and age(s). We will connect you with interested families as they identify themselves.




Is Learn Local Academy Covid-Smart?


Yes! We keep the safety of learners, families, TOPOnexus facilitators and our community as first priority. We are responsive to evolving guidelines put forth by the state of MI, CDC, local health department and local school districts and adjust our practices accordingly to reduce risk. Currently our practices are as follows but may be subject to change:
• Using the outdoors as our classroom whenever possible • Creating Level 1 Quests so learners are NOT required to enter a building • Offering curbside pick-up for Learn Local Academy gear bags and other supplies • Offering self-guided, at-home options for all StoryMapping sessions and the Level 3 Check-In • Offering all guided sessions virtually via Zoom if required by Executive Order
AT BASECAMP • Limiting indoor capacity at Basecamp per MI Exec. order 2020-160, p.5 • Requiring self-health screening before entering our outdoor classroom and/or Basecamp • Requiring masking upon entry to our outdoor classroom and/or Basecamp • Using social distancing • Providing hand sanitizer and promoting frequent hand washing • Wiping down communal surfaces (tables, etc.) frequently with a minimum 60% alcohol solution •Minimizing the use of shared materials and providing each learner with personal supplies SELF-HEALTH SCREENING (per HSPS guidelines) Adults and learners must complete a self-health screening prior to entering our outdoor classroom and/or Basecamp. The following symptoms and close contact exposure should be screened for: Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher Sore throat New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline) Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever Had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with a person with
confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days Had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with person under
quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19 in the last 14 days Traveled somewhere where there was increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the last 14 days If the answer to any of these statements is “yes”, please do not come to any Learn Local Academy experience or enter Basecamp. Please contact us by emailing molly@toponexus.com if you need clarification or with other questions.




What about my child's social-emotional needs?


Learn Local Academy’s three levels ensure social/emotional learning along the way. We incorporate slowing down, mindfulness and reflection into each Quest. Kids have consistent opportunities to create connections to classroom/online knowledge, their town/community, and themselves. Here are some other ways we build community and a sense of belonging: • We use a shared lingo that has been developed around the TOPOnexus way of experiential learning • We emphasize building collective knowledge through collaboration and shareouts • Learners commit to and sign a Learn Local Academy Credo before participating in Level 2 •We use routines for interactive learning with consistency and intention• We culminate the semester with a Learn Local Academy Showcase where students share their learning journey with othersthat outlines how we learn and treat others




Who do I contact with other questions?


Email Molly Ames Baker at molly@toponexus.com and she will be happy to listen to your questions/concerns, provide answers and talk you through all the details.




What's a Level 1 Quest?  StoryMapping?


Quests are not traditional walking tours but rather interactive experiences in a place around Little Travers Bay area. They take about 2 hours (or more if you explore hard).

Choose 4 from the following locations:
Harbor Springs - All Around Town Springs of Harbor Springs Petsokey - All Around Town Petoskey Waterfront Bear River Recreation Area North Central Michigan College campus LTC Offield Viewlands Petoskey State Park. StoryMapping is an interactive way to capture your learning from the Quests by combining drawings, diagrams, words, text and/or data. Kids create their own StoryMap, share their discoveries, and identify ways to keep exploring.
Our process is unique to TOPOnexus and based on Esri’s ArcGIS online platform.




What's a Level 2 Local Lab?  Deep Dive?


Local Labs are are 2-hour sessions staff-guided by a TOPOnexus community educator who has expertise in a specific area. Labs are experiential, interactive and open a doorway to powerful learning! You get to try new things and hone your skills by practicing new techniques. You may uncover hidden talents or even find a career path. Local Labs create a progression: Create It! - focus on specific art techniques Write It! - focus on specific writing techniques Build It! - focus on specific STEAM techniques Present It! - focus on specific public speaking techniques Deep Dives are an opportunity to take what interested you on your Level 1 Quests – your "Whoa!s" – and pick one and find out more. You use your Deep Dive Field Guide to research the topic by using multiple sources and summarizing your findings.




What's a Level 3 A2A?  Check-In?


A2A is an Awareness To Action project that you design yourself. No 2 A2As look the same because you create your own project based on your discoveries from Levels 1 and 2 plus your unique talents. The purpose of A2A is to find something you care about in our community, figure out how you can make it better, and then do it! A Check-In is a 1-on-1 session (in-person, by phone, or via zoom) with a TOPOnexus staff to get you started on your A2A project. You will start by building off your discoveries from Levels 1 and 2. Together you will indentify your key area/s of interest and start mapping a path for something you can do to make our community better. You will share ideas about what needs bettering and who you need to talk to make a plan.





What's At The Heart
of Learn Local Academy? 

BUILDING SKILLSETS, MINDSETS AND HEARSETS

FOR DOING COMMUNITY BETTER


At every level, kids practice relevant skills in a real-world setting including:

 

  • Making firsthand observations and theories

  • Exploring their local community

  • Recording wonders and asking questions to go deeper

  • Researching topics of interest using local, national and global sources

  • Navigating the real world (literally with a map) and solving problems in real time

  • Determining how to use their talents to take action in their own community

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Go Explore! Discover More! Do It Better!

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

"I highly recommend this daily self-paced adventure around our great town! My kids and I got a whole new view of some very special places around Harbor Springs."
- Molly Hoggard, Mother and MI Certified Teacher

"The adventures were varied and the content was integrated (social studies, english language arts, science, etc. all incorporated in each mission). It was differentiated to meet the needs and interests of all types of learners.” - Katie Lapham, Mother and ESL teacher

 

"It gives you a chance to show who you are and it’s more unique than other projects. You really hold the reins. It’s different from other projects where you have to do exactly what the teachers tell you." - 8th grader

 

 
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Enroll Your Child

Enroll in Levels 1-2-3 by Sept 20th for 10% off tuition
Both forms MUST be completed and submitted to receive your Learn Local Academy Gear bag with Level 1 resources.

Basecamp

141 State Street

Harbor Springs, MI 49740

231.242.4600

molly@toponexus.com

TOPOnexus

CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE

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