Our world has a changed a lot since the 19th century; despite this, our education system in Canada has not changed significantly, denying our children and youth to take advantage of some of the most powerful learning experiences the world has to offer.
Blue Sky School is an independent school and innovation hub with the aim of empowering the changemakers of the next generation. Founded by educators Shauna Pollock and Karen Hill, the school’s model is built around individual empowerment of students, encouraging them to discover and grow their passions.
Cool School: Kanata warehouse home to 'experimental school of tomorrow' - September 4, 2017
Educational prototype opens in Kanata, welcomes students
Blue Sky School was built to mimic entrepreneurial incubators and innovation centres.
The idea is to expose students to as many different topics, fields and interests as possible, while including them in creating their own education road map.
"One of the things we’re trying to really value is starting where kids are at. So for some of our students, the first goal is ‘believing in myself’ or ‘self-advocacy.”
Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley said the school’s vision is the way of the future. “This school excites me, I haven’t stopped talking about it,” he said. “I believe this is probably the future of education. I think that the pioneer students and others that follow are going to have a very unique advantage over the regular school program.”
Co-founder, Shauna Pollock and futurist Roxanne Nicolussi talked about the future of education and Blue Sky School's role in disrupting the existing system
Education in the Year 2117 is student-centred. It is fluid and flexible, just like a child’s mind. Children are embedded into the world around them, solving real world problems.
Blue Sky School brings this vision to life in September of 2017!
A New Way of Learning: Experimental Prototype School of Tomorrow Set to Open in Kanata in Fall 2017
Ottawa, ON - June 27, 2017
Blue Sky School, an innovative not-for-profit independent school, is set to open its doors in the fall of 2017 at the Modern Niagara campus in Kanata. A national leader in contracting and building, Modern Niagara is funding the construction of the more than 3,000-square-foot space that will initially cater to students in grades six to eight. “We’re thrilled to be supporting Blue Sky School,” said Brad McAninch, CEO of Modern Niagara. “Certainly we are a company that values community involvement, but beyond that, and when you look at the learning approach associated with the school: innovation, project-based learning, the teaching of trades skills at the elementary level, our support became that much more natural.” As to the location of Blue Sky School, McAninch said, “We wanted it located in our building to facilitate our company providing expert mentors and coaches to work with students in a meaningful way. This will create a sense of pride for Modern employees and build a foundation for an ongoing and meaningful relationship with Blue Sky School.” Founded by experienced educators Karen HIll and Shauna Pollock, the school is offering a unique, personalized learning experience that challenges the norms of traditional education by empowering students to discover and explore their passions through hands-on, real world learning experiences. Hill has a worked with children and youth in mental health and educational settings for the past 20 years. Pollock is a Prime Minister Award-winning teacher and author of the 2015 book Creating Classroom Magic, the blueprint for which the school is based. “Despite technological advances and unique student needs, the delivery model of education has barely changed in the last 150 years,” said Pollock. “We’re challenging the status quo by offering an educational prototype that caters directly to the students passions and interests to generate positive learning outcomes for all.” “It’s our responsibility as educators and as members of a community to ensure we continue to improve on our systems until we meet the needs of every individual,” said Hill. “If we are willing to take risks and implement innovative strategies in education we can transform the lives of those currently slipping through the cracks. Blue Sky School is doing this.”
What’s Different at Blue Sky School:
Students engage in passion projects that empower them to impact the world in positive ways
Students define and refine their own learning goals and have ownership and agency over their learning
High standards for student performance established by all members of school community: students, staff and families
Workshops and lessons offered based on student needs and interests
12 students: 1 teacher ratio, multi-grade learning groups organized in “houses” that are consistent throughout a student’s entire schooling
An enriched Ontario curriculum with a focus on themed and interdisciplinary learning; including global citizenship, digital literacy, innovation/entrepreneurship, mental health and wellness, healthy living, design thinking and financial literacy
Passionate subject matter experts, coaches and mentors from various disciplines and industries in residence
Students explore the community through field trips and volunteer opportunities
Construction of the school is currently underway and will be complete by the end of July 2017.
About Modern NiagaraAs a national leader in contracting for more than 50 years, Modern Niagara makes buildings work. We offer a substantial resource base, deep project management expertise, and financial stability. A Platinum Club member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2002, we bring national capacity and local personality to every project and every customer relationship. We are also innovative and entrepreneurial. Our Mechanical, Electrical, Building Services, and Building Controls divisions work together to turn common issues with building health and operation into high-performing solutions. For more information, please visit www.modernniagara.com
About Blue Sky School Blue Sky School is an innovative not-for-profit independent school in Ottawa that develops the next generation of changemakers. Our personalized education model empowers students to discover and explore their passions and includes partnerships with today’s innovative leaders in a variety of industries. For more information, please visit www.blueskyschool.ca
Education affects us all. We have all been to school, maybe you have children in school but we all know that education is essential for the future. Get Involved. Learn about Blue Sky School and partner up with them to show them that these educational change need to be made. Here is how you can help.
Blue Sky School is unlike anything you have seen or heard of. It challenges the problems of the current school system and find solutions to them. This school is different because it’s curriculum on demand; focused on skills and competencies. This curriculum is based on student needs and is shaped by current events. They value experimentation, celebration, kindness, balance, connections, passion and are lead by student voice. Oh, have I mentioned that there are no teachers at Blue Sky School? There will be strictly pedagogical coaches and Shauna will be the first! There will even be a dog named Ivy, the canine pupil to aid in emotional support.
"Experimental Prototype School of Tomorrow" Opening in Kanata - March 20, 2017
Blue Sky School, an independent not-for-profit, will be the first of its kind in Canada, said Shauna Pollock, who, along with Karen Hill, will host a meeting for prospective students and their parents on March 29.
“This is my dream, for my entire life, to open a whole new model of schooling,” said Pollock, an educator who has worked with students of all ages. “What we’re doing is we’re creating a space where there isn’t a wrong or a right kind of student. We actually create a space that works for every type of learning.”
Developer Modern Niagara Group Inc., a mechanical design company, has teamed up with the school’s founders Shauna Pollock and Karen Hill to build “an experimental prototype school of tomorrow” — a first of its kind in Canada.
“We found a partner who is in Kanata and they were able to help us with the space,” said Pollock, who has been teaching since 2005. “They’re helping us develop the actual physical school itself.”
Shauna Pollock is an educator in Ottawa, Ontario. She is in the midst of preparing to open her own independent school in September 2017 - Blue Sky School.
Listen in to hear what Shauna has to say about what she is currently doing in education and her path to becoming a teacher [experiences along the way: Disney's EPCOT and how it influenced her classroom (and her book writing opportunity), starting a school for Syrian teenagers, the passionate learner experiment, and now working on opening her own school]