Jay will be returning to Blue Sky School next year. It’s become a second family for him. Once the kid who avoided class, his heart broke at the thought of the year being over and having to spend two months away from some of his favourite people and his very favourite place. The turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. Although, with a school environment this remarkable, I’m not the least bit surprised.
I Wish I'd Had the Chance to Attend Blue Sky School - June 13, 2018
My daughter is finally part of a community, the BLUE SKY SCHOOL COMMUNITY! As human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships we develop. My child is happy. My child is making connections. My child feels empowered.
I wish I had had the chance to attend Blue Sky School when I was school age. What an amazing experience that would have been. I am grateful and thankful that I can provide my children with this opportunity, with this investment in their future selves, and give them a chance to feel safe, happy, engaged. To have positive self-esteem, feel part of a community and to know that they can make a difference in this ever changing world.
Last year, Madison did extremely well in the public system. She was motivated, polite, and achieved high marks. This year, during school hours, among many other things, Madison has self-selected to organize and host two major charity events, co-write a novella, learn to play and perform duets on the piano with a fellow learner, write blog posts and policy documents for the school, record a near dozen podcasts with VoicEd radio, analyze the Ontario curriculum, meet with a science student from the University of Ottawa to help her learn about electricity, attend over 40 field trips, attend and take notes in a Masters’ level university night class with me, run her own “history mystery” workshops for visiting students, opt out of workshops when she felt she had taken on too much, etc. All of this was self-selected. Every day, Madison checks in on her learning goals, shares her daily intentions with a coach, adds evidence of learning and a reflection in her digital portfolio, and checks-in with a coach to tell them how she’s feeling. Madison is 13.
90 Days at Blue Sky School Turned My Daughter into a Changemaker - January 28, 2018
It will take time to break down all the anxiety and worries that overtook her over the eight years she spent
in the traditional school system. Blue Sky School customizes learning goals to the learner, and the
learner takes the lead in setting their priorities. My twelve year old daughter has consistently explicitly
stated that mastering her emotions is one of her goals. And at Blue Sky School, the coaches actively
support her in making progress in working through her fear.
It never occurred to me that this was possible -- that mental wellness could be an explicit target in her
daily learning, every single minute of every single day. After all, in a traditional classroom setting where
the day was structured to pack in math, English, French, science, social studies, physical education,
etc., there was simply no time to actively and continually engage on such a complex need.
But at Blue Sky School, it is more than possible. It's the norm.
What skills and knowledge does a person need, in order to thrive in adulthood? Whatever you think
of, I can confidently assure you --- my daughter is getting this, at Blue Sky School.
Reflection of a Pioneer's Parent - November 28, 2017
Blue Sky School is not just a place that gives lip service to mental health, to kindness, and the host of other life skills that are rarely truly developed in typical schools, like conflict resolution, or collaboration. These “soft skills” are at the forefront of each day; skills that will undoubtedly provide endless value regardless of the path in life chosen by each learner.
Furthermore, Blue Sky School learners are exposed to vast experiences and interactions. And, the quality of the opportunities are enriched due to the small group sizes and the expectation that the learners come as valuable contributors to the conversation between the experts and learners. The field trips and in-house workshops have varied from art to chemistry to biology to sustainable technology to volunteering at a food bank. The exposure is to help the learners determine what interests and excites them — this is truly amazing to me; the time and energy to make connections and organize time with professionals to spend educating and interacting with learners is stunning.
What is also fascinating with this school model is to see how educators can operate without the restraint of time. Lessons are not divided into chunks that must be taught within a short time; the educators here have the time, years in fact with each child.
One of the favourite quotes of my son these days is how Blue Sky School has ruined week-ends…..because they have lost the value they once held. He enjoys every day now. And, really, isn’t that the ultimate goal of life?
But more than that. And what is truly at the heart of every mother, is that (at Blue Sky School), they enjoy my son. They like him. They care about his well-being. They want to hear his hopes and dreams, and his day-to-day thoughts. They value what he brings to the table. They believe in his potential to do good in the world and of course, to learn!