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Open Classroom Charter School of Salt Lake City

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Open Classroom (often referred to as "the O.C.") is a K-8 charter school in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a long history. It enrolled 377 students as of 2009–2010.[1]


The Open Classroom began in 1971 as the private Thoreau School.[2] It became a K-6 optional program of the Salt Lake City School District in 1977.[3] In 2007, it became a district charter school and expanded to include a middle school and a pre-K program. The school is not a part of the open classroom educational movement of the 1970s.[why?][citation needed]

The Open Classroom Charter School is a parent cooperative learning community in which teachers and parents collaborate to educate the whole child and empower lifelong learners. The founders named the program "the Open Classroom" because they wanted the program to stand for a flexible approach to education, where the needs of each child are considered individually.

The O.C. is located in the former Lowell Elementary building, located in the lower Avenues neighborhood at the intersection of E Street and 3rd Avenue.

The O.C. is one of several schools described as following the "whole child" model that are pictured at the end of the documentary film August to June, which was released in 2013.[4]


Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway highlighted Open Classroom's "unique philosophy" of education in his 2013 State of Education Address.[3] The school's philosophy is centered on the ideology that everyone is a learner; teachers, parents, and of course students. The O.C. does not incorporate desks or other stricter methods of teaching, and instead members of a classroom meet in "circle", where literally all the students sit in a circle. The curriculum is centered on choice-oriented learning, with students choosing what they want to learn for some, but not all, classes.


One key facet of the O.C.'s philosophy is "co-oping". Co-oping is the system in which parents must "co-op", or help teach in their student's classroom, for at least three hours a week per child they have enrolled. This is central to the O.C., as it is largely based around small group learning, where instead of learning as a class, students go around to different centers and learn different concepts at each.[5]

Helping in my child's classroom ... made it so most of the Open Classroom became like an extended family to me, my husband, and my kids.

— An Open Classroom parent.[original research?]

Notable alumni

American actor Patrick Fugit, best known for his leading role in Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous, was a student in the O.C.[6]


  1. ^ "2009-2010 Utah Charter Schools Annual Report". Utah State Office of Education.
  2. ^ Rogoff, Barbara; Turkanis, Carolyn Goodman; Bartlett, Leslee (2001). Learning Together: Children and Adults in a School Community: Children and Adults in a School Community. Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ a b Shumway, Larry K. (October 9, 2012). "State of Utah Education Address". Utah State Office of Education.
  4. ^ "Schools Using the Whole Child Model". August to June website. Tamalpais Productions. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 05:44
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