SM: It sounds as though you are getting the home schooling market.
RP: We do, but not as many as you would think. A lot of times the home schooling market wants religion embedded in their courses, and our programs are a little more secular than that. That being said, one out of every four or five kids that comes to us is previously home-schooled.
SM: Philosophies shift. In America, people definitely think that kids should be playing with each other, playing sports with each other, and things like that.
RP: Our kids do that, too. Most sports occur outside of school today, particularly in younger grades. In the UK they have club sports, and that model seems to be growing here. We have a lot of kids who are serious athletes in our programs. Some of the serious golfers have to be golfing all day. They are doing our programs because their sports are so demanding. We have kids who play on their high school teams in almost every sport. Using K12 does not stop you from doing that.
SM: Do students who play on their high school teams use K12 as a supplemental program?
RP: No, K12 is a core program. That does not mean that you cannot do extracurricular activities if you do K12. If gives you more time to train for your sport. A lot of times, local high schools have kids on their teams who are in our schools because the kids live in their area.
SM: Local high schools can have students playing on their teams who do not go to that school?
SM: I didn’t know that.
RP: In some states, such as Pennsylvania, they have to take them. In other places it is up to the high school.
SM: Do you have any geographic bias? Are there regions where you see more adoption versus another?
RP: We probably tend to be over-represented rurally, but most of our students are from cities simply because the cities have more kids.
SM: How many high school students have you graduated thus far?
RP: We worked our way up from K2, so last year was the first year that we graduated a lot of kids. They got accepted to over 150 different colleges.
SM: What is the spread of those colleges?
RP: Cornell, Berkeley, UCLA, University of Texas, and Michigan are just some of the top colleges who have taken our kids.
SM: Have you had any conversations with college admissions people about your strategy?
RP: All the time. They know how rigorous our program is. They realize that this is a viable option going forward and that a lot of our kids are going to be taking this route in the future.
SM: The education problem in the world is significant.
RP: It definitely is. We think that eventually there will be a huge opportunity internationally.
SM: Do you have international students now?
RP: We have kids from 43 countries in our private school.
SM: Would it be fair to summarize your private school strategy as being an international option?
RP: At this moment, yes. That may change in the future.