A former Polk County public school teacher whose resignation letter went viral has started her own micro school.

  • New private R School located in Lakeland
  • Each classroom has students of various ages
  • Students get plenty of recess time and less standardized testing
  • R School website

Wendy Bradshaw posted her letter on her Facebook page and brought attention to what she saw as an overly regimented system that didn’t properly take into account the needs of individual children.

The new private R School is located at the United Methodist Temple on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland. It has two classrooms and a playground. Right now there are 32 students and Bradshaw said she doesn’t plan on having more than 40 students.

Each classroom has students of various ages. It’s based on the old one room school concept. Children often work together in small groups based on their abilities.

"They actually feel more confident about what they are learning and they are learning only things that are on their level,” said Bradshaw.

The students get plenty of recess time and the R School will not do a lot of standardized testing like public schools.

"There are a lot of different ways to assess whether or not a child is learning,” said Bradshaw. “It does not have to be a paper pencil test."

Parent David Stellato chose to put his kindergarten son into the school. He wasn’t exactly sure of what to make of the one room school concept where his son would spend time with older grade school children.

"But it's also positive because he can learn things from older children that have experienced what he has already gone through,” he said.

Bradshaw believes a big plus of the micro school environment is that the teachers, students, volunteers and parents all get to know each other well.

"It's a small group of people that know each other very, very well. We also develop really strong ties with the families. It feels more like a school family,” she said.

Tuition for the school is about $5,000 a year.