Sunday, June 21, 2015

Compass Community School

Blog contributed by Elaine Su and Nicole Treitz of Compass Community School

Education is an interesting topic. Every person that you speak to holds an opinion about what education should look like, whether it is rooted in reflection on personal experiences, a vested interest in the education of one’s children, a belief about public services, an opinion about tax-dollar spending, a vision for the overall purpose of education, or any other one of the countless connections that individuals form with education. The bottom line is that everyone has an opinion when it comes to education and more often than not, we are all looking for change.

There is a fun exercise that we like to do when talking about education – we ask people to imagine their “dream school”. What does it look like? Who is inside? Who is outside? What is being learned? How are things learned? What is the overall purpose of this school? So please, go ahead and take a moment to envision your dream school.
Ours looks something like this:
·      A learning environment not bound by walls. One that counts its natural surroundings, built surroundings, peers and neighbours as crucial components of the learning landscape.
·      A place where knowledge is sought, shared and respected. One that does not rely on one voice to guide learning, but welcomes and encourages mentorship from community members and experts. One that values and honours Indigenous knowledge and the history of our land.
·      A hub that welcomes, nourishes, and supports the community. One where we do not only learn from and within the community, but actively engage with and as advocates for the community. 
·      A place where individuals are celebrated. An environment that supports students in their social, emotional, and intellectual development while fostering a space in which they can explore their curiosities and interests.
·      A student body that is mobile.  A visible force within the community that cycles, scoots, skips, and walks to their next learning adventure. Everyone who sees them pass by waves and smiles because they know, appreciate, and respect who they are.
·      A safe space that is welcoming to all.

This is our vision. This is Compass Community School.
Compass Community School is a new place-based community school, based in Vancouver, B.C, created in response to a collective desire to see change in our schools and communities. Our team is built of parents, educators, and community members with a diverse range of interests and experiences, who have all come together to imagine a new way of learning. 
It is a growing concern amongst Vancouverites that there is no sense of belonging in our communities. Everyone seems to be searching for it, and yet the feeling of belonging remains elusive. Compass hopes to change that, by bringing community into the classroom, and bringing the classroom into the community. We believe that children should be active, valued, contributing members of their communities and that they have the capacity to revitalize and reinvigorate spaces that feel stagnant and isolated.  
Now that we have told you our vision, we would love to know: What does your dream school look like? 
To us, the most heartening aspect of Compass Community School is that it is truly “of the community.” Our vision grows and evolves with each new voice that enters the conversation.  We invite you to share your voice and join us as we help build this dream into a reality.
If you would like to share your vision or find out more about Compass Community School, please contact us at or visit the Compass Community School website. 
We would like to say a special thank you to Isa Mundo Foundation for being a supportive and generous partner of ours. We deeply admire the work that Isa Mundo does internationally and look forward to being a partner in opening the first Canadian IMEC in Vancouver!