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How to build a The Concept Our DNA Our Goal Our pledge to pupils The basic elements The virtual school The physical school Personal Development Plan Curriculum The organization The community Our sCoolsuite tools sCoolToolTM iDesk LTTM sCoolProjectsTM sCoolSpaceTM How to become a SteveJobsSchool get our tools contact us stay in touch Developing talent

Developing talent and 21st century skills with all of today’s tools.

Building a Steve JobsSchool. “We named our schools after Steve Jobs. A tribute to man, who with his talent, vision, entrepreneurship and tenacity, developed products and services that have changed the future of society. Our mission is to give pupils the best possible preparation for the future and enable them to make the most of themselves, given their curiosity, talents and opportunities.”

0.1. The Steve JobsSchool DNA. The DNA of the Steve JobsSchool consists of our teaching approach and our pledge to pupils. Everyone concerned – the administration, the teachers, the parents and the pupils – act in accordance with this pledge. This manual outlines how the school should be set up and managed so that we can meet these goals and honor our pledge.

Our Objective.

The objective of the Steve JobsSchool is to encourage children, by means of an innovative new teaching approach and the most up-to-date learning tools, to develop their individual talents and teach them the skills that are crucial for success in the world of tomorrow. In addition to basic subjects such as language, mathematics, and world studies, other areas of focus include: ►Analyzing, processing, and

presenting knowledge, both in analog and digital formats. ►Creativity, originality, and flexibility. ►Critical thinking and problem solving. ►Communication and teamwork, in both the real and digital worlds. That’s one of the reasons why we always include English in the curriculum, even when it’s not the school’s main language. ►Digital skills. Of course, group participation and the social-emotional development of the child are also very important to us.

Our Pledge to Pupils. We promise to: ► take

a close look at the ways you learn best; when you tell us what you want to study, we promise to listen. ► help you ask the right questions, so that you can determine yourself what you want to learn. ► help you discover your talents and make you better at what you can already do well. ► always push you to take on more difficult challenges and learn something new. ► give you plenty of room to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it; we will help you where needed. ► do everything in our power to protect you from being bullied and, on the flip side, prevent you from bullying others. ► help you get along with others and teach you how to work together. ► use all of today’s technology to prepare you for tomorrow’s world. ► teach you to use your imagination to come up with better solutions and create something beautiful. ► do our very best to make sure that you will look back and remember having a great time at our school. We promise to leave you well-prepared for further education and your future life!


The Six Basic Elements of the Steve JobsSchool.

There are six basic elements necessary to fulfill our goal and to honor our pledge:

2.A. The virtual school.

The virtual school is open to pupils 24/7. To access the virtual school, all pupils are equipped with their own iPad, for use in school or at home. The contents of the iPad are determined in part by the school, based on the pupil’s current individual requirements, and in part by the pupil’s parents. All pupils and their parents will sign a special agreement concerning the use of the iPad at home and in school. In the virtual school, pupils work independently or on group projects that are not limited to a particular place and time. The hours spent at the physical school are best used for group education, sports, games and personal coaching. This includes an emphasis on each pupil’s social-emotional development and collaborative skills. Pupils are definitely not expected to do all their schoolwork on the iPad. For each teaching objective, the best tools for a particular pupil are selected from an arsenal that includes not just the iPad, but also all traditional materials such as paper, pencils, notepads and books. Their enthusiasm for this new way of teaching combined with the wide variety of learning materials helps pupils concentrate for longer periods, work more quickly and independently, and achieve better results.

2.B. The Physical School

Obviously, there is also a “bricks-and-mortar building” where the pupils assemble. The design of this building however, is completely different from a traditional school. As opposed to a traditional school, a Steve JobsSchool is not a building with all the classrooms roughly the same size, where groups of children roughly the same age pass most of their day. Classrooms have given way to a number of large and small studios. There are studios for language, mathematics, and history. There is a creative studio, a world orientation studio and a technology studio, each especially designed and furnished for its particular purpose. These studios are used for instruction, workshops, coaching/progress meetings between pupils and teachers or other activities related to the studio’s specific subject. Workshops are recorded as a regular practice, so that pupils who were not physically present can also watch them at a later time. There are indoor and outdoor areas for sports and games, and also an outside space for plants and small animals. The number of studios and the size of the other areas depend on the size of the school. Smaller schools will have a smaller number of studios and can have spaces suitable for a variety of activities. A Steve JobsSchool also has a large area where pupils can work in silence. In addition, there are one or more working spaces where pupils can work on project in small or large groups, without having to maintain silence.

2.C. A personalized program for every pupil and a curriculum that makes it possible.

Every pupil receives a Personalized Development Plan (PDP). Every 6 weeks the plan is modified in consultation with teachers, pupils and their parents. A balance is sought between the child’s current talents and abilities and the school’s requirements for reaching educational targets. The PDP is evaluated every 6 weeks between pupil and coach. The PDP contains the pupil’s targets for the next 6 school weeks. The targets are “childfriendly”, taking into account both a pupil’s talents as well as areas needing attention. Coach and pupil meet at least ones every 2 weeks to discuss day-to-day progress.

The curriculum.

The Steve JobsSchool curriculum focuses on the world the pupil will face as an adult: a place where all the world’s knowledge is available online. Key objective of our curriculum is that children develop the skills to find the knowledge that is relevant to them, assess its value, process it and communicate it to others (Find, Filter and Apply). They also need to learn how to work as a team in both the physical and the virtual world. A Steve JobsSchool gives this objective full attention, next to a focus on developing routine use of traditional, audiovisual and digital learning tools. In addition, it is crucial to the pupil’s future that we work on developing their own voice, creativity, and self-confidence. Because today’s average educational curriculum is still based in the world of 50 years ago, we strive to meet the challenge of attaining our objectives by looking for the best balance between teaching traditional skills and tomorrow’s valuable skills. Each child’s learning plan lets pupil, coaches and parents determine naturally when and how basic skills will be acquired.

2.D. A new type of organization

The pupils are not divided into grades, but into two core groups of various ages (max. age difference: three years). The core group primarily plays a role in the process of collaborative group formation. The most important parts of the child’s learning takes place in smaller groups in the studios, or by working on independent or group projects. Each core group is coupled with one or two members of the teaching staff who act primarily as a coach/mentor. As one teacher so aptly stated, “All the years I spent teaching in a traditional school I felt sorry, that the pupils had to live with the limitations of the traditional school system. It’s great that I can encourage them now, to discover their full potential. Every day I tell them: Show me that you can do it. And they have never disappointed me, not even once.” Supervised teaching assistants (trainee teachers or even parents with special skills) help at the school, allowing the teachers extra time to focus on coaching. Memorization and practice are usually done in the virtual world, where pupils will be offered challenges and can check their results immediately. The iPad apps will typically adapt to the user. This allows pupils who are more gifted in certain subjects to develop to their full capacity, as they are no longer limited by the pace of their classmates. This approach also gives teachers more time for pupils needing special attention.


The virtual school is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The physical school is open weekdays from morning until early evening, 50 weeks a year. The core group’s activities will be allocated a time slot between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm. Agreements are made with each pupil about their mandatory presence at the physical school. There are several morning time slots for children to arrive at school and several afternoon time slots when they are free to return home. The pupils are required to spend a fixed minimum number of hours at the school building. The number of extra hours spent at school depends on the results and development of the pupil and his or her family requirements. This flexibility also gives parents the opportunity to plan family vacations outside of the traditional school holidays. However, that doesn’t mean the children are excused from their lessons. The virtual school and the virtual coach ensure that the agreed upon targets are completed. Often the pupil will even get an extra assignment related to their vacation, such a giving a presentation on a topic related to where they went and what they did there.

2.E. A community of teachers, pupils, parents and the neighborhood

The Steve JobsSchool is a learning organization where, in addition to the teaching staff, parents play an important role. Not only are parents partly responsible for their child’s learning process, they are also asked to make contributions based on their profession, hobby, country of origin, or life experience. They can do this at either the physical school by, for example, giving workshops or within its virtual counterpart. The registration process includes taking stock of parents’ skills and expertise. Parents wishing for extra involvement at their children’s school are especially welcome to join a project group and contribute to communications, festivities, arts and culture, sports, teaching support, or help in the schoolyard or in the garden. Each project group is assigned a teacher who is responsible for ensuring all activities are planned to best contribute to the educational targets. The neighborhood around the school is also involved. This may include local businesses, the physical landscape or anything in the neighborhood that is relevant to the school. Facebook will also be used as a community meeting place. Here, Steve JobsSchools from across the globe, as well as other schools that use tablets, can connect with each other and bring children and teachers together in real life.

2.F. Our sCoolSuite Tools

The Steve JobsSchool has developed a number of tools to help it achieve its objectives. These tools comprise the various aspects of the virtual infrastructure, connecting students, teachers, and parents and facilitating the realization of the school’s objectives. In addition, sites like Symbaloo and Facebook will be used to share experience and expertise among the teaching staff as well as between teachers and students. A special public sCoolApps website can be used to share experience and lesson plans based on educational apps and websites.


This tool consists of a real-time schedule with a choice of components for pupils on the iPad and automatically detects whether the student is present at the school and, if so, where exactly they are located in the building. It also maintains a digital portfolio and the pupil’s own Individual Development Plan. An app allowing parents access to their child’s schedule, portfolio and IDP, and a special tool for teachers are also included.

iDesk Learning Tracker™

This is a tool that registers the pupil’s activities/performance on the educational apps that have been connected to iDesk Learning Tracker. The information can be accessed by teachers and is made available to parents by app or online (and, as aggregated data, to publishers). The tool also offers the possibility to compare results with other users of a particular educational app.


A tool that enables pupils to work together on a project, link with each other and the teacher and exchange whatever is necessary to get the best possible project results: links, drafts, chat sessions, calendar, etc. When the project is completed, it is added to the library and can be accessed by other pupils.


This virtual schoolyard is just for pupils from a single Steve JobsSchool and enables them to communicate with each other at school, at home, or anywhere. The configuration, best described as “Second Life meets Augmented Reality”, actively challenges a pupil’s creativity.


Become a Steve JobsSchool!

As of August 2014, more than 25 schools in the Netherlands will implement this approach: the seven schools that started in the fall of 2013 and an additional eighteen registered schools. Pupils, teachers and parents respond very positively. The concept is expected to be introduced in ten more countries in 2015. We hope this manual inspires you to start working with this approach, or to adopt certain elements. Several resources and training programs are available to support the transition or introduction. These will be available in at least four languages after the summer of 2014. For additional information on how to build a new Steve JobsSchool - or transform an existing school- please contact us at For additional information about the sCoolSuite Tools, mail us at Want to become a member of our community and keep up to date regarding the latest developments? Visit our website, sign up to our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.



Steve JobsSchool | sCoolsuite B.V. |


How to build a Steve JobsSchool  

The DNA and key elements of an innovative school concept, preparing children for their future in a highly digitized world.