While on sabbatical in the fall of 2005, three Golden Apple Award‐winning teachers identified the common thread of their best practices in teaching: they all gave students the opportunity to “learn by doing.”
With this common ground established between them, they began to imagine a school where students were truly active participants in their own education and were encouraged to pose questions and pursue their own answers. They imagined a community where students develop as confident and intelligent individuals, and as thoughtful and active citizens. They imagined a school where each student was met at their own level, was given the attention and support they needed to succeed, and was expected to work their hardest and achieve their personal best.
The vision of Michelle Navarre, Tracy Kwock, and Roel Vivit came to fruition as Polaris Charter Academy opened its doors in the fall of 2007.
Polaris made a strategic decision in opening with grades K through 2nd in 2007. Focusing on primary grades provided an opportunity to cultivate a strong foundation of respect, while introducing students to a unique approach to learning before forming opinions about the school experience. With six classrooms and 150 students, the founders were able to be selective in hiring, screening for highly qualified teachers who shared the Polaris mission and demonstrated the ability to fully engage the Expeditionary Learning model. Growing deliberately provides the Polaris founders and teachers the time to reflect and optimize the curriculum within each grade level. Polaris currently serves 350 students in grades K‐6 and will grow one grade per year until reaching a total enrollment of 450 students, grades K‐8, in 2013. Polaris is currently a Level 1 school and in 2015 was profiled by “Think It Up’s” campaign launch.