Our Model


Building 21 is designing a competency-based educational model that provides flexibility in how, what and where students learn.   Students will be supported as they design personalized learning pathways and choose from a variety of instructional opportunities which include, blended learning, problem-based learning and experiential learning.

Competency-based Education

Educational models in which students progress towards a degree or certification based on their ability to demonstrate mastery of a comprehensive set of skills, knowledge, behaviors and mindsets at multiple times in multiple ways.  Click here for an in depth look at the working definition for competency education.

Blended Learning

An instructional approach that gives students the opportunity to learn in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of control over time, place, path or pace.  While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.

Problem-Based Learning

A learner-centered instructional approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a real-world problem.

Experiential Learning

A process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting, such as an internship or service-learning project.

Learner as Designer

All students will be supported in choosing and designing learning experiences that are self-initiated, self-directed, and self-paced, giving the students the ability to choose how, when and where they learn. The end result is a learner who understands both the content and process of learning.

Learning Pathway

Each student’s learning pathway is a unique series of instructional opportunities and choices, based on personal interest, that enables the construction and application of essential knowledge and skills required for demonstrating mastery of competencies on the road to graduation.

Our Instructional Choices

The following components provide students with multiple and varied opportunities to design their own learning, achieve competencies and have choice and voice in how, what and where they learn:


Studios are designed around fields of study such as journalism, environmental studies, and personal finance. Studios provide students the opportunity to integrate content and apply their skills and knowledge to solve real-world problems.


A module is a blending learning experience that provides students with the opportunity to interact with Common Core aligned content in a variety of ways.  Students will be able to work at their own pace online but will also receive direct instruction from a content area educator.

Community Partnerships

Partnerships with local community organizations will be established to allow students to achieve competencies by participating in community based-learning activities such as art, music, recreation and culture.


Partnerships with local businesses will be established  to allow students to achieve competencies through practical work experience.  Through internships, students will be exposed to a variety of career options that will allow them to develop new interests and make informed educational and career choices.

Online Courses

Students can choose to enroll in online courses to gain content skills and knowledge necessary for demonstrating proficiency in needed competencies.

Dual Enrollment

While enrolled in a Building 21 school, students can choose to enroll in college courses to receive credit that may be applied toward their high school graduation competencies or toward a college degree or certificate.  Dual enrollment allows students the opportunity to get a head start on their college career, obtain an Associate’s Degree and prepare for the transition to college.

Our Student Supports

Intentional supports and scaffolds will be in place to develop students as they choose and design their own learning opportunities along their learning pathway.  Every   student will be well know by at least one adult in the network through our Advisory program.  Advisors will meet on a regular basis with individual students to set and revisit goals, reflect upon successes and failures, and track progress.  Advisors will also support students in designing their learning pathways to ensure students are choosing instructional opportunities based on interest as well as competencies needed for graduation.  Students will also meet with other students in Peer Teams to provide support and opportunities for reflection as well as to build strong teaming and collaboration skills.