The Branches program at ALC Mosaic is designed for children seven through eighteen. We use light-weight structures for self-organization and intentional culture creation, allowing our students to engage authentically with the world through their passions and strengths. Our learning environment embraces choice and freedom along with collaboration between students, facilitators, other adult community members, and the larger community in Charlotte. We are all about creating space and using tools that support students, facilitators, and parents in having a voice and taking an active role in creating the community they want.

 
 

A Day at Branches

Kids start arriving between 9 and 9:30am and are encouraged to take a few minutes to think about their intentions for the day or schedule any activities that involve other people. The day starts on time — somewhere between 9:30-9:35 — with either a scheduling or intention sharing meeting.

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The week starts with a schedule-coordinating meeting that we call Set-The-Week. All students and staff gather to determine days and times for offerings, workshops, trips, projects, and meetings that will take place during the week. These opportunities come from students, staff, parents, and community members.

From Set-The-Week on Mondays, or to start the day Tuesday through Friday, students gather in their “Spawn Points.” The facilitator reminds them of the activities scheduled for the day while they document and declare their intentions for the day. Students and facilitators share the various roles that exist within a Spawn Point—someone facilitates and someone chooses a connection game or activity. The meeting is usually ten to fifteen minutes; when it ends, everyone has heard each other’s plans useful for sharing inspiration and scheduling—and had their intentions documented for checking-in with later.

Sometimes, the description for what happens between 10 am and 3 pm is best described simply as “magic.” It changes monthly, weekly, daily. The days are full of trips, classes, games, discussions, stories, creation, collaboration, and surprises. It’s all work and it’s all play. Check out our Facebook page to see what kinds of things are going on.

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In the afternoon, everyone participates in a 10-15 minute school clean-up. They then move into the reflection-focused part of the day. Monday through Thursday, students return to their Spawn Points. They have a short meeting in which they check in on their intentions from the morning, document the things they did during the day, and reflect on whether they accomplished what they wanted to. On Fridays, a longer chunk of time is set aside for community blogging, during which students and staff write weekly posts for their personal blogs.

In addition to this daily pattern and Monday’s Set-the-Week meeting, we also gather once per week for what we call Change-Up. Change-Up is a meeting where we create and iterate community agreements together, allowing us to build and evolve our micro-culture. Change-Up meeting can sometimes involve solving problems together, connecting deeper, or coming up with ways to bridge any gaps between the kind of school we are and the kind of school we want to be. Students take an active role in managing this process by nominating their peers to serve as Culture Chairs — a leadership position responsible for scheduling conflict resolution meetings, preparing proposals for Change-Up, and facilitating the discussion towards new community practices.

 
 


A short video that features various ALCs our network and reflects scenes from groups similar to our Branches program.

 
 

Hours

9:30 am - 3:30 pm, Monday - Friday
All Branches students attend full-time, though we offer a flexible Off-Site Learning policy.

Staff

Nancy Tilton, Director
• Melissa Mulligan, Facilitator
• Amber Irvin, Facilitator
• Aaron Mahnaz, Part-time Facilitator

Enrollment

See the Tuition Info page to learn more about tuition at ALC Mosaic. 

Read our enrollment overview page to learn about the admissions process.

Apply online here