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A different kind of school opens in Boca

Public school starting the new semester online isn’t the only reopening Monday. A longtime Delray Beach alternative learning center opens a second location in Boca.

“Our Boca location will be to support distance learners using their regular school curriculum. They can sign up for that now,” said founder and CEO Ali Kaufman. “They’re coming to our location and logging in and we’re overseeing them. Part of the Boca location will open for that,” she said. “Parents can inquire through our website https://findspaceofmind.com/ There’s follow-up and they don’t have to come to our site” at 8230 S. 210th St.

Described as a “co-learning community for distance learners and enrichment seekers,” SOMspace, short for Space of Mind, “pioneered a trademarked Social Homeschooling program over the last 10 years,” Kaufman said. “Homeschooling can look a lot different. We are a program and the kids come here full time or we offer a curriculum the parent can license.”

Now she’s finding even more demand out there. “A lot of families are happy to hear there are options. We’re hearing from families that are scared and confused,” she said. “We have been steadily getting more and more interest since April and May.”

They’ve added students to their virtual program from as far as Maine and California. “We doubled our student population. We had 54 and now between virtual Delray and Boca we have over 100 and still growing.” she said.

Both locations are socially distancing now with shifts, two or three a day, Kaufman added.

The cost is a monthly membership between $500 and $750 that doesn’t include private coaching, she said, adding “after school is also available.” The program accepts members in grades K thru 12 and will offer scholarships and aid, according to the opening announcement.

The centers also offer an art space, music, Zen yoga space, maker space for engineering and science and outdoor recreation. The schools have 14 flexible learning spaces for students in mixed-age groups. Each space accommodates a group of three to eight members and one to two coaches.

“We call educators coaches and we base our approach on a life-coaching partnership, so we’re guiding students through the curriculum,” Kaufman explained.

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