a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Nov, 2009

Act today to save alternative education in Ottawa

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Yaktivism

Parents and friends of Churchill Alternative School are looking for letters supporting alternative schools in Ottawa – currently the school board is conducting a review, and there is some concern that the short time frame and structure of the review will put these schools at risk.

Click over to Miss Vicky’s blog to read an excellent guest post from a Churchill parent which describes exactly why it’s important that Ottawa parents have a choice in terms of their children’s education.

If there are any Churchill parents reading this blog I would love to hear your point of view. Use the comments function below if you want to share your two cents.

5 Responses to "Act today to save alternative education in Ottawa"

1 | Sara

November 16th, 2009 at 4:25 pm


Thanks for posting about this Andrea, I am a parent at Churchill Alternative and feel that this school is the best kept secret in Ottawa! We started off in the standard stream and then quickly realized that we were looking for more involvement in our childrens school and wanted an environment that was much more progressive in its learning techniques. In talking to other mums I am always astounded that few parents know that there is an alternative option in Ottawa. I really feel that more parents need to know about the Alternative Program and there should be more alternative schools available in the Ottawa School Board. This stream is not for all children and takes a lot of parental involvement but it is important to have that choice to make. We would be so sad to lose this choice in the Ottawa School Board and would hate to have to hike across the city to the Waldorf school in Sttitsville…

2 | Pam

November 16th, 2009 at 5:44 pm


It is great to see that you posted about the alternative program review! Thanks! Churchill Alternative School is Westboro’s best kept secret! I have to agree! It is a wonderful community of children, parents, and staff. We are very lucky to have it as an educational “choice”. We ended up at Churchill quite by accident and we really didn’t know much about the alternative approach to teaching, but after almost 7 years at the school I couldn’t see being at any other school.

3 | Becky

November 16th, 2009 at 9:26 pm


My two cents is I don’t know what we’d do without alt ed and Churchill. Although my boys are new to the school this year, it feels like we’ve always been there. It is such a welcoming place and it offers so much in terms of our needs. I think there is a lack of understanding regarding alt ed out there and I hope that this process will shed some light on it. Rather than considering closures, I think the board should be looking at how it can advance and expand the program.

4 | Karen

November 20th, 2009 at 11:33 am


Our kids (now 27 and 15) are both Lady Evelyn alumni, and both benefited enormously from being in the alternative stream.

My youngest, in particular, moved from a traditional Gr. 3 classroom in which her shyness and learning disability made her a target for mockery and bullying, into the alternative stream, where she discovered her talents for leadership and organizational skills. She went on to Summit, where she wound up winning gold at the school’s Science Fair, then first prize at the Ottawa regionals, and an honourable mention at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Not shabby for a girl whose Gr. 3 teacher said “wouldn’t go far!”

5 | Chrissy

November 29th, 2009 at 2:08 am


There’s a book out that I read recently called “Lives of Passion, School of Hope” by Rick Posner. There are stories of the alumni touching on each of the five goals of the school as well as the most frequently asked questions about a school without grades or credits such as those involving college and work. The idea is to present a feasible public school alternative that transforms lives and leads to the idea of a sustainable education, one that sticks with its students as they grow into their adult lives. You may find it helpful. It’s a truly amazing story. I now realize that well-rounded approach is the best way to guide kids towards be lifelong learners.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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