Can Techie Parents Reinvent School For Everyone–Or Just Their Rich Kids?

Can Techie Parents Reinvent School For Everyone–Or Just Their Rich Kids?

Six-year-old Tiana had just gotten her ice cream machine working for the first time, and she was triumphant. Wrapped in hot pink decorations and duct tape, the device was now capable of churning out flavors that the young scientist planned to dub “Mint Speshel” and “Tiana’s Dlitght.”

Eyes wide, Tiana turned to her teacher, Shira Leibowitz.

“Shira, this is the most important day of my career,” she declared.

Leibowitz, a founding team member of startup Portfolio School in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, recalls that story with a laugh. Portfolio School has been designed to look and operate more like the workplace of the future than the classroom of today, but no one expected students to internalize that approach quite so literally.

“They view themselves as working,” says Leibowitz, who has a doctorate in education. “They’re never learning something because one day they’ll need it, they’re learning something because they need it right now.”