The new private school will offer specialized learning following Arrowsmith closure in Peterborough.
Chad Buchner’s child was flourishing at the Arrowsmith School in Peterborough.
Their confidence and independence quickly grew, and through a specialized, hands-on approach to learning — a departure from what’s offered in the public system — they began to thrive. But the progress soon came to a halt.
Faced with enrolment setbacks brought on by the pandemic, the Parkhill Road East private school for students with learning disabilities was forced to close its doors in March after operating in the area for 15 years.
“It was pretty tough. You see your child really enjoying school; you see your child start- ing to turn a corner and thrive. To have that go away was challenging,” Buchner said.
Buchner and other parents and families impacted by the school’s closure were left wondering how they’d fill the void. While students could still access Arrowsmith programming online, many parents wanted to see a continuation of customized, in-person programming— an educational approach that catered to the unique needs of their children.
They came up with an idea.
Parents asked Amelia Valenti, The Loomex Group’s director of education, training, and organizational wellness, to provide Arrowsmith programming at the organization’s Peterborough Airport headquarters. The Loomex Group manages the airport, specializing in aviation and emergency preparedness.
Valenti, a former teacher, consultant and coach with 20-plus years of experience in education, agreed, and Loomex Group’s president and CEO Trent Gervais signed off on the initiative.
The new private school currently dubbed the Learning Centre — will take flight this fall.
“We will be offering full-time Arrowsmith programming,” said Valenti. “Everyone is really excited about this venture.”
In year one of the new school, the Learning Centre will open its doors at the Peterborough Airport grounds for about 20 students between Grades 5 and 10.
Students can expect an “experiential” approach to learning with a focus on aviation, according to Valenti.
“We want to connect practical, real-life applications to every skill and strategy learned by students,” Valenti said.
“That could look like connecting with businesses at the airport; talking to staff; exploring some of the equipment — we may have classes in flight simulators or at the airport’s command post. There’s a wide range of learning environments and opportunities.”
The curriculum, which includes mindfulness exercises along with literacy and numeration components will be delivered to students at an existing. Loomex Group classroom. Outside of the classroom, students will engage in outdoor education and physical activity.
Valenti, who is assuming teacher-principal duties, will be joined by a former Arrowsmith School instructor. The Learning Centre is intentionally starting off with small classroom sizes to ensure students receive ample time and attention from teachers.
“For the families of students, it’s an amazing relief to know there’s still going to be a very caring and supportive learning environment for their children where they know they’re going to get the best care possible,” Valenti said.
For Buchner, the Learning Centre is a “perfect match” for his child, who is now enrolled in the new private school. Buchner said small class sizes, coupled with the school’s flexible and adaptive approach to cognitive learning will foster a “sense of belonging and a sense of community connection” for his child and other students who have unique educational needs.
“My child really flourished in understanding ‘hey, I’m not the only one that learns uniquely,’” Buchner said.
A Learning Centre open house will be held at the Loomex Group site at the Peterborough Airport on Aug. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more contact:
Director of Education, Training & Organizational Wellness
925-550 Airport Rd, Peterborough, ON, K9J 0E7
M: 249-387-0807 O:705-775-5077