No significant learning can take place without a significant relationship. – James Conan

The key words in this quote are “significant” and “significant”.  It is certainly possible for some learning to take place without a significant relationship.  However, in my experience, I can’t recall truly having an epiphany of learning while sitting in a lecture hall with a thousand others.  But, when I had a personal relationship with the teacher, I knew that I was not just a face in the crowd, but was a real person.  I still clearly remember the encouragement I received from my eleventh grade English teacher.

On-line schools struggle with finding means to establish significant relationships between teachers and students.  Email, text messages and even media such as Skype remain impersonal when compared to face to face interchange with a teacher who knows the student.

Elementary school teachers in a self-contained classroom usually get to know their students in a very personal way.  However, those in departmentalized situations such as the average middle and high school have far less opportunity.  They typically see from 100 to 150 students each day.

Willow Bend Academy enjoys an ideal situation for establishing significant relationships between students and teachers.  Each teacher has a group of no more than eight students for a four hour period each day. Students feel emotionally safe with the faculty and staff at Willow Bend Academy because they realize that the relationships are highly significant and there is no fear of ridicule.

When students have been asked on surveys what they like most about Willow Bend Academy, the typical answer involves the close relationships they have with teachers and the willingness of teachers to act as surrogate parent, counsellor and coach in addition to the basic role of teacher.

Significant relationships between parents and teachers are also essential to the academic, social and emotional development of our students.  We at Willow Bend Academy are not here to replace, but to complement parents in the role of raising our children to become significant in their future adult roles. Thank you for your willingness to work together with us in this endeavor.