At Progressive Academy, the focus on a warm and safe environment with maximum class sizes under 18 are just a few of the factors that help ensure that students are not only taught how to learn but are constantly engaged in their educational success. Attend their open house on September 21st, 2012 to experience it for yourself!
With a strong literacy and phonics program that begins from age three, one of the many benefits of the Alberta curriculum allows students to work at an accelerated rate, provided they demonstrate a strong level of understanding in reaching their goals.
As Director of Outreach, Robyn Roberson, explains, “At Progressive Academy our goal is to teach students how to learn, which means having the skills and self awareness to determine what they do not understand and having the courage and confidence to seek the help they need to figure it out.”
She elaborates on the goal of the school, which is “to build independent learners that understand that they have a voice in their educational process, and are engaged in their educational process. Our program is not built around pure rote and memorization. We want our students to demonstrate to us that they have an understanding. Our classrooms provide a lot of projects and demonstration.”
“For example, students from as young as Kindergarten participate in project and option classes. These classes are developed and guided from student interest. If students are expressing a desire to explore more dramatic arts, then the option classes are developed into play writing, or film production, or performance.”
School Environment, Philosophy and Unique Features
In addition, the school prides itself on having a comfortable, welcoming environment for families where students are encouraged to discover who they are and pursue their talents, interests, and passions.
According to Robyn, their philosophy emphasizes the student as the focal point of any educational program and an educational process that values the uniqueness of the child, cultivating creativity and helping students discover who they are. This approach allows students to pursue their talents, develop self discipline, develop exceptional research skills, develop independence and confidence, ability to reason, and engage them overall in helping to shape a better world.
The unique alternative and traditional program delves into areas of numeracy, phonics, and reading and writing right from Early Childhood, and additional projects, field trips, work experience, volunteering, art, music, and play, also encourage a well rounded experience.
The mentorship experience, in particular, is described by Robyn as follows: “Students start a mentorship or volunteer process from grade 7. We want them to see what the working world is like, as well as have a chance to see what daily life is like in the field they are interested in pursuing or learning more about. This mentorship program takes place once a week for a minimum of 8 weeks. Students attend the workplace for an entire day out of the week and work on a project that is valuable to their mentor, and that they present to the school at the end of their 8 weeks.”
How School Atmosphere and Activities Promote the Progressive Community
With full time Junior Kindergarten (age three) and Kindergarten programs, before and after school care is also offered for students, and because of the small, close knit atmosphere students of all ages often play together on the playground or pair up with reading or math buddies in younger classrooms. Kindergarten students in particular also participate in school wide activities.
Says Robyn, “The Winter concert is a school wide production that students work hard at building, practicing and putting together months before. Last year’s performance of Annie Jr. was spectacular with Kindergarten to Grade 6 on stage and Junior High working behind the scenes.”
In addition, the school is described as being “an extension of home. Walking in you feel relaxed and comfortable. The student body and staff are friendly and welcoming, and the students actually look happy! If you visit in the morning most students are in their classrooms with their teachers working away in class or on a project. If you visit in the afternoon most students are not in their classroom. They are either outside, or combined with another class engaged in a project, or mentoring in a younger classroom, or out on a field trip.”
The school itself is located in Glenora, not far from downtown Edmonton, and as a result of the close proximity has the unique advantage of being a central drop off point for those that work and interact with the community.
What Types of Students Benefit From a Progressive Academy Education?
“Our program works best with children who exhibit the abilities to be both self-directed learners and highly capable collaborators. As well, it is important that our parents not only embrace our educational philosophy so we pursue the same goals, but also take the time to understand who their child is, as our goal is to shape what’s there, not force something that isn’t.
Parents at Progressive Academy comment on the warm, positive atmosphere at the school where everyone is welcome and kids are allowed to be kids. The small class sizes allow for teachers to develop a strong relationship with their students and really work with their unique abilities. A Progressive Academy student is a master of literacy, numeracy and research, demonstrates a strong sense of community and integrity, and knows and builds on what they know, recognizes the need for clarification and has the skills to pursue understanding. They are engaged, and curious learners,” says Robyn.
How Parents and Educators at Progressive Work Together
Parents also have plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get engaged in school activities. Progressive Academy offers workshops for parents on study skills and practices to help children succeed at home in reading or studying, providing parents the chance with a better understanding of what educators do during the school day.
Performances and activities, such as family tea’s, family dances, celebrations of learning and evenings out, keep parents involved and participating in their child’s education from start to finish.
Furthermore, Robyn emphasizes, “Teachers document the student outcomes and understanding quite well so that parents receive a true and realistic idea of where their child is at in their learning. If your child is a straight A student, we want them challenging the curriculum beyond their age level to learn what they don’t yet know or understand, not just sit back on their good grades. On the other hand, we want to make sure that any gaps are filled before they move on so that the learning process continues to be smooth and engaging, not a frustrating event. Student confidence is key in the learning process.”
Post Secondary Success and Life After Progressive Academy
After students graduate, Robyn elaborates, they move on to follow many different educational and professional avenues. “Our youngest graduate graduated when he was 15 years old and went on to engineering at the age of 16!” she states. “Another graduate followed her passion with animals, particularly dogs, and now runs a top dog training facility in the country and travels extensively because of it. Another is continuing her interest in giving back that started with her work in founding and a chapter of Engineers Without Borders at her university. The majority go on to Post Secondary education but they pursue many different fields. The list includes, engineers, physiotherapists, teachers, psychologists, accountants, artists, business owners, mathematicians, and more. I find the majority are doing what they want to do and love, not trying to succeed in a position that is expected of them by their parents or friends.”
It’s clear that attending Progressive Academy benefits students from all walks of life in a multitude of ways. Executive director, C-Anne Robertson, provides just a few additional examples below:
“There are so many benefits to sending your child to a school that recognizes the incredible potential of each individual, to give one answer is impossible. The real benefit to sending child to Progressive Academy is that we recognize individual interests, abilities and needs and work with each child.
Therefore every child benefits in a different way. Here are some examples:
- Dan is an intelligent but disorganized child with a definite opinion. Through some unhappy educational circumstances he has come to the conclusion that just average will do and that to express your opinion is dangerous. After two years at Progressive Academy we see organizational skills developing and thus resulting in academic achievement. Dan has also found his voice and has become an emerging political activist.
- Mary is a brilliant student poor social skills, which in turn affect her academic performance. With patience and persistence and excellent coaching of both Mary and her peers, Mary has become a capable communicator. This helps her put her attention on her work and the brilliance shines through.
- Cameron is an emotionally, socially and academically capable student who’s goals are clear and wants to get on with his life. The ability to move forward with his program allowed him to complete courses quickly and move onto post-secondary early, where he completed his engineering degree before the age of 20.”
What are the Biggest Rewards for Students and Parents?
Robyn concludes, “The biggest reward for both students and parents at Progressive Academy is being recognized for being you. Being allowed to be who you are makes all the difference in both achieving success and in happiness. We strengthen creativity by recognizing the individuality of each student and help them build skills to demonstrate their creativity.”
For additional information and a chance to visit the school, please join them for their Open House on September 21st, 2012!
Open House Event Details
Date: Friday, September 21st, 2012
Time: 10am – 2pm
RSVP by phone at 780-455-8344 or by email at email@example.com (alternatively firstname.lastname@example.org)
Join our Open House and get to know the Progressive Academy family. Get a chance to see the school, meet some students, and speak with the staff. There will be a brief introduction, school tour, and refreshments. Staff will be available to answer and questions one-on-one after the tour as well.
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