There is no tuition. There are no textbooks. Yet School Class founder John Neel calls his new venture “getting an education.” We never wanted to go back to school, but now we’re reconsidering.
The idea for School Class sprouted when Neel moved from Texas to California, and he found himself searching for classes in town. “I thought that it would be cool if there was a small school-themed storefront that hosted random subjects,” he says.
“I started with the mental image and built the rest of the idea around that. It was a place where people could come hang out and learn something new.”
Classes are donation-based so they are accessible to everyone. “And if you decide to skip class, there is no out-of-pocket loss,” says founder John Neel.
Thankfully Neel moved back to his hometown of Dallas to turn his idea into a reality, and he now has a little storefront at 1222 W. Davis St., next to The Kessler in Oak Cliff. The space is filled with funky, colorful desks from Etsy and artwork from Neel’s personal collection.
“It’s a great location near Winnetka Heights — full of smart people with great taste,” he says.
Upcoming classes include “Figtastic: A figure drawing class” and “Blood, Guts, Gore & Tits: An intro into SPFX makeup & horror.” And, unlike most school grounds, snacks and alcohol are not only allowed but encouraged.
In addition to his duties as School Class principal, Neel works in the hospitality industry by day and explores the city by night.
“Despite the bad reputation Dallas has culture-wise, from the outside, there are plenty of awesome things to do here,” he says.
We can add School Class to that list — especially because classes are donation-based. There will be a jar on the desk for cash contributions, and Neel also will accept credit cards. But his main goal is to make the classes accessible to everyone.
“Nobody wants to pay for school,” he says. “And if you decide to skip class, there is no out-of-pocket loss.”
If you’re interested in teaching, that’s an option too, but of course you’ll be donating your time. Neel says there are three requirements for becoming a School Class teacher: You must have a friendly attitude, you need to be engaging and the subject matter must be interesting.
Teachers are encouraged to use PowerPoint and video to keep costs down. But if they need to use printed materials, School Class will help pay for those.
Neel aims to hold a variety of classes, and he hopes to keep the classes short and engaging, so neither teachers nor students feel obligated to commit for a long period of time.
School begins May 4. For now, three to five classes will be held every other Saturday, between 5 and 10 pm. To sign up for one of the classes listed on the School Class Facebook page, you can email Neel at firstname.lastname@example.org.