By Patrick Hart
With the school year now in full swing, students have settled into their classes, and one of the Glebe’s newest educational institutions, Blyth Academy, has settled into its third year at its new campus.
Blyth Academy The Glebe is a private school located in Lansdowne Park on Bank Street, beside the west entrance to TD Place. The school moved to the Glebe after starting out in Westboro.
“We started in Westboro, and we just grew out of our place” says Chris Masson, a teacher and marketing coordinator at the school. After reaching a point where classes were being run in two different buildings, the school decided to move somewhere that could accommodate a growing student body, and its new location in the Glebe fit the bill.
The school serves students from around the Ottawa area in grades 8-12, teaching the curriculum set out by the Ontario Ministry of Education, with students ultimately working towards the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). With a student population around 80 and an average class size of 12, Blyth Academy’s calling card is its individualized learning experience for students. Students can construct a unique academic plan that fits their learning style and interests. Also helping to deliver an individualized experience is the school’s emphasis on flexibility.
“We provide an array of different learning opportunities and platforms” says Masson. “Some of our students will be taking classes here in school and taking online classes.”
Online classes are delivered in a self-paced format through Blyth Academy Online or in a live, teacher-led format through Blyth Academy Orbit. For Blyth Academy Online courses, students have access to regular office hours and teacher support via tutoring and are given 365 days to complete the course. For Blyth Academy Orbit and traditional in-person classes on campus, flexibility is further achieved by employing the “quadmester” structure, which splits the school year into four terms and gives students the opportunity to register at the start of any term.
The school is a part of the larger Blyth Academy network, “the largest network of private schools in Canada,” according to the school’s website. Established in 1977 by Canadian entrepreneur Sam Blyth, Blyth’s early days were rooted at the intersection of education and travel, offering bike tours and later a variety of educational travel experiences. In 2002, it opened its first high school in Canada in downtown Toronto and has since grown to include eight campuses throughout Ontario, with Blyth Academy The Glebe being the most recent addition to the network. Blyth Academy also has schools in Washington, D.C., Florence and Doha, Qatar.
Blyth Academy’s ethos of experiential education comes into play at the Glebe campus in a number of ways. One is through the school’s Launchpad program where students in grades 8, 9 and 10 learn critical school and life skills. Everything from effective note-taking to building a budget to changing a tire to the basics of 3-D printing is covered in a program that is part of the daily school schedule, just like any other class.
“It’s a really positive program that gets students outside of the mandatory credits they have to achieve,” says Masson, who has been a teacher at the school since its days at the Westboro campus.
Masson notes that the school embraces a philosophy of “the community is campus.” There is no better manifestation of that than the annual graduation ceremony held on the field at TD Place. “Parents can see their kids up on the big screen when they graduate, and it really makes for a special day for everyone.”
Patrick Hart recently moved to the Glebe and is getting to know the neighbourhood.