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When I was a student, we learned writing skills via a series of assigned essays and uninspiring writing prompts doled out by teachers who gave me little to no choice in the content and subject matter of my writing (e.g. “Write an essay about the three branches of government,” or, “How does X author demonstrate Y concept in this book you have no interest in?”). At Alpha, we have a better way. So, what do we do differently?

In Level 1 (primarily 3rd and 4th grade), our students eagerly gather at 9:00 AM for what we call “Writing Rally.” Each…

I first learned about game theory as a sophomore at Princeton while taking Introduction to Microeconomics, surrounded by 300+ students in a dimly lit lecture hall.

Alpha L2 students (fifth and sixth grade) were introduced to game theory last month as they played the popular app-based video game Among Us. I’d bet your middle school student plays Among Us on their phone (maybe you do, too).

Among Us is a social deduction online video game. Players randomly receive one of two roles: Imposter or Crewmate. Crewmates can win either by identifying the Imposters and removing them from the game through…

“Students learn life skills” is the third promise that Alpha makes to parents. We believe that students who learn life skills build the confidence to chart their own path through life. Alpha students learn these skills through a project-based curriculum, where they tackle real-life projects both individually and in group workshops. We orient our life skills curriculum around skills that are specific, teachable, and measurable. When students learn concrete skills through fun projects, they build the more integrated, holistic qualities like leadership and adaptability along the way.

Our list of life skills is fluid — it’s always growing and adapting…

Education related articles found by Alpha staff that are worth passing along to parents. This list is updated weekly.

Wes Kao — Spiky point of view: Let’s get a little controversial

We live in a noisy world. Whichever industry you’re in, there are thousands of other people like you trying to get noticed. Unless you distinguish yourself, you’ll never get a chance to show how different you actually are. To stand out, you need to develop what I call a “spiky” point of view.

One of the life skills we teach at Alpha is Focus and Intensity. While a traditional school might reward intelligence by assigning letter grades, we design systems built to reward student effort and progress.

By the time Alpha students reach Level 3 (7th and 8th grade), they’ve developed the ability to consistently hit time benchmarks in their apps each week. In Level 3, students build on this skill by learning the discipline of working with intensity. …

Imagine this — it’s the beginning of the school year and you’re sitting with an ambitious student. This student can’t wait to tackle the new and challenging coursework ahead of them. In one version of the conversation, you tell the student, “You’ll have a great year if you just work hard and turn in your assignments on time.” In another version, you give the student the curriculum for the whole year and ask, “How much can you do in the next seven weeks?”

What’s the difference? In the first version, you take away the student’s control. You limit them to…

You can feel the excitement in the building each time MAP testing comes around. Students have been working hard in their apps, and the MAP test is an opportunity for them to show their progress to their parents, their Guides, and — most importantly — themselves.

Alpha MAP Results

As a part of Alpha’s standard MAP testing process, we’re dedicated to transparently sharing information with Alpha families and the broader community. Here is a summary of our Fall 2020 MAP results:

Achievement Percentiles — All Alpha Students

Compared to Other Schools

Parents often ask how Alpha’s results stack up against…

Alpha is not a typical school. Because we use adaptive learning apps, every student is able to progress along an individualized pathway at their own speed. Our approach provides a custom learning experience designed to address the unique needs of each student. The admissions process therefore, doesn’t follow the standard, “Take a test, provide a writing sample, send recommendation letters, wait half a year,” pattern that most private schools follow. We do things our own (wackier!) way around here.

Instead, Alpha’s admissions process focuses on metrics that matter — does a student demonstrate behaviors that are consistent with success at…

When the State of Texas required schools to close physical campuses, Alpha moved into “Alpha Anywhere,” a new, remote version of our program. Alpha Anywhere was a real-life test that required students to collectively demonstrate the life skills they’ve learned.

Life skills are one of the three commitments we make to families. Self agency, focus, and intensity are among our core life skills, and Alpha Anywhere particularly tested students in these areas. The asynchronous nature of remote schooling meant that successful academic performance relied on students being self-agents. The remote setting also required students to adapt to doing work at…

Let’s talk about Level 4.

While Alpha’s three commitments to love of school, 2x learning, and life skills will still steer our L4 program, we are adding additional commitments to make sure all L4 students can get into the best universities in the country.

L4 includes the following commitments:

  1. All students will achieve a 1500 or greater on the SAT
  2. All students will score a “5” on at least 3 AP tests
  3. All students will get into a top 20 university

Just as the three original commitments are the most ambitious goals for any primary/middle school in the country, these…


K-12 private school serving students in Austin, Texas. We are a community that believes that success lies in hard work and innovation.

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