Start Your Own School

Have you thought about starting your own school?

For 28 years the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) has been helping people find and start educational alternatives. For the last 12 years they have offered an online School Starters Course. They have helped start more than 100 educational alternatives, including alternative schools, democratic schools, Sudbury Schools, Public Alternative Schools, Charter Schools and homeschool resources centers.

The School Starters Course takes each student through the process of creating a vision, different types of alternatives, school governance, legal requirements, community organizing, recruiting students and teachers and an action plan.

I would recommend the school starters course if you are considering starting a school. I found it very valuable to get an overview of the alternative education sector, to get a sense of what has happened before, what is happening now and what is possible. My confidence grew throughout the course as my awareness of the possibilities grew and my thoughts crystallised around what I wanted for our school. And our school is gradually now becoming a reality. I am so grateful for the commitment of Jerry and Chris to this movement. And grateful to Chris for his thoughtful and considered answers to questions, from which I learnt a lot. It is a living example of self directed learning, as the course is what you make of it. I found Jerry and Chris were led by the learners with healthy doses of guidance and encouragement along the way. I recommend being prepared for the course, prepared for the questions you want to ask about alternative education and starting a school and prepared for it in terms of timing of personal commitments and commitments to your school project. It is really worth committing to this course early in your journey before you are overtaken by actually starting the school. I recommend using these 10 weeks as time to lay solid foundations for your project.

The course starts on September 25th—less than a month away! It will run through January.

It is done with a peer group of other school starters who give feedback on each vision and proposal, along with mentoring from legendary educational pioneers, AERO founder Jerry Mintz and Albany Free School teacher and director Chris Mercogliano, author of How to Grow a School.

Here’s a typical comment from a course enrollee:

“I just finished reading all of the posts in the introductions thread, and I have to say I’m at awe with everyone here and grateful to be here. Even just reading your fascinating stories and following the links or looking up concepts has already given me incredible new ideas and resources, and we’re just starting! “


The cost of the course is minuscule compared to the ultimate finances of the alternative you will start. Each year enrollment ends when we reach 25, to register soon or you’ll have to wait another year.

For me general information or so see a map and a list of alternatives AERO has helped to start, go here.

 Register Now

The 11th annual AERO School Starter’s Course will start on September 25th, 2017.  AERO has helped start at least 85 schools that we know of, but there are many more out there! You can see a map a listing of over 70 of them here.

After studying alternative education & being involved in schools for years, I still wasn’t sure how self-directed our school would be until I took the School Starters Course. I wanted to know more about the history and current climate of alternative education from those who had been working in the field even longer than I had, and especially who had actually started their own schools. The course satisfied those needs & allowed me to feel connected with schools starters all over the world who, collectively, allowed me to be a part of a bigger community, which I needed more than I had realized.

College Credit Also Available

This year we again have the option of getting transferable graduate credit! Of course for many people this has not been an issue;the bottom line is that they wanted help to start their school. But for some people is could make a difference, for a variety of reasons. It can enable more funding. It can bestow more credibility for some people in their communities. The credit is given by the highly esteemed Antioch University New England Graduate School of Keene, New Hampshire.

Click Here To Register For Credit