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Live Oak Leadership Academy in Marble Falls adds grade, new program

Live Oak Leadership Academy in Marble Falls

Patti Cryer (left) and Amy Jacob at a spring fundraiser for Live Oak Leadership Academy, a model school that is growing in the Highland Lakes. Cryer is board president; Jacob is the nonprofit school’s founder. Courtesy photo

Live Oak Leadership Academy in Marble Falls is expanding its grades to K-6 from K-5 and announced plans to add a higher grade each year through the eighth grade as students grow in the program. It also plans to add a new program called Career Team. 

LOLA is a model school for children that promotes creativity and collaboration through project-based learning. It teaches critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. Students are encouraged to be social and curious humans rather than obedient pupils. 

“We have learned this model of education really works,” founder Amy Jacobs said. “We’ve gotten great feedback on the model, and we’ve learned how to be a part of a student’s learning and not just simply a passenger on it.”

Jacobs founded the Marble Falls nonprofit school in 2020. She started a campus in Dripping Springs a year earlier. The Marble Falls school is located in Lake Shores Church, 704 U.S. 281, but is not affiliated with the church. 

After only two years, the school has 80 students and a waiting list for the 2022-23 academic year.

“We are helping grow students to become happy, well-balanced adults at age-appropriate intervals,” Jacobs said. “We’re giving them the skills to learn how to learn as opposed to telling them what they have to learn.”

For the new program, Career Team, a group of area small businesses will instruct LOLA students on a variety of jobs. About 12 businesses will be lined up for each campus as Career Team members.

“It gives those businesses advertising and support for what they’re doing,” Jacobs said. “The greater good is it gives our students a real-life glimpse into their future and the industries that are out there for them.”

LOLA also offers training sessions for teachers from across the state. The sessions follow the LOLA mission of student autonomy, creativity, and social development. The school has trained over 50 teachers in the past year.

“We just launched our first group teaching training session,” Jacobs said. “We do everything in a small group, similar to our school model. Our school motto is that every day we see, hear, celebrate, and hold accountable every child in our program, and we try to model our teaching training the same way.”