News

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 Niagara

As 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