Student advocate and all-around dynamo Andre Feigler, who was featured in a previous Young Bloods column for her work with YRNola, has launched a new startup designed to reach students during a notoriously dead portion of the school year: substitute days. EnrichED gathers diverse professionals – from public health workers to poets – and invites them to serve as guest teachers on substitute days. Students then spend the day learning about music, improv comedy or entrepreneurship from a first-hand source.
Launched in 2012, EnrichED is part of 4.0 Schools and it operates in a shared office space with Uber, mSchool and a variety of startups. In the past two years, EnrichED has pivoted and grown as its team re-imagines how kids learn.
While teaching in Chalmette, Feigler realized that her students would benefit from greater enrichment in their curriculum. Drawing from her background as a dancer, Feigler’s initial idea was to gather a coterie of elective arts teachers to rotate among different schools. After chatting with Josh Denson, founder of Bricolage Academy, Feigler joined forces with the 4.0 Schools group. Subsequent conversations helped them hit upon the idea of a talent hub for substitute teachers. She started with yoga and dance teachers to rotate among the schools.
Because there’s no map for growing a startup, Feigler is still helping EnrichED build step by step. The organization now has 15 school partners. She sees her staff as “guest teachers,” not babysitters. After completing a multi-step vetting process, the guest teachers receive personalized classroom management lessons and workshops.
Feigler gets good feedback from schools that are grateful to EnrichED for attending a real issue and providing valuable services. Many of her guest teachers are grateful to EnrichED for helping them get involved with schools. Feigler tries to elevate experience for everyone, and she likes seeing the program’s impact on underserved children.
EnrichED is now focused on building a solid foundation in New Orleans and then expanding to other cities. Feigler works to balance the demand-driven nature of substitute work against a long-term vision for EnrichED. Overall, he hopes EnrichED will redefine the role of teachers. Many people care about students and should teach them. Bankers, entrepreneurs and artists alike can all lend their wisdom to the next generation, because any number of situations can spark a student’s imagination.
Feigler’s goal is simple: “Find awesome people and match them to awesome schools, so kids can learn more.”
To learn more about EnrichED, visit EnrichEDSchools.com