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Dear Miss Vicky

Miss Vicky is always happy to give advice....whether you ask for it or not. Of course she always responds in the nicest possible way. So if you've got a burning question, a confusing dilemma, or are just curious about something ...

talk to the hand!

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Mea Culpa

Miss Vicky Tue Nov 26, 2013

Miss Vicky received the following email in her inbox:

MISS VICKY! Shame on you, you used to give regular updates about the neighborhood on your site, now it's been over 3 months!!! and not a peep. Shame on you!

I am sorry! You are correct, I have been neglecting you all! I have no legitimate excuse, other than a busy work and family schedule, and much energy spent on the Near West Accommodation Review, the school board process to determine what to do about the overcrowding at Devonshire and Elmdale schools. By the time I get home and sit down to chill out (the time I would normally set aside for writing), I am spent.

But fear not! There are indeed some posts in me and I shall endeavour to get them up one the screen for you. Thanks for sticking with me!
21 Comments

Self-Directed learning for teens

Miss Vicky Sat Nov 10, 2012

So apparently Ottawa is getting a few new high schools - 3, according to this CBC piece. One of Kitchicoo's co-founders is part of this project, Compass Centre for Self-Directed Learning, which opens in January in the Bronson Centre. It's not high school per se - that is, the students would be considered home schoolers, and the outcome is not a diploma.

Basically the idea is to tap into teens' innate desire to learn by giving them the responsibility for their own learning. The tools and resources are there - the kids decide for themselves what they want to do with it. It's an interesting proposal, especially for those kids who may not fit with traditional learning models, who might be at risk of dropping out - or who have already and need a route back to learning so they can prepare themselves for better future careers.

The (non-profit) centre is holding a promotional launch tomorrow (Sunday, November 11), 7pm at the Bronson Centre. You'll be able to hear from those who've been through a similar program in the US - a program called North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens, which has been operating successfully for 16 years.

If you can't make the launch, the Compass website has some promotional videos with testimonials about the approach.

Speaking as someone who had a rough time in high school and ended up leaving early (to go to University, but that's a whole other story involving some kind of mysterious luck), I can see the appeal of this kind of approach, especially for kids and families who feel they've exhausted all the options.





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Self-Directed learning for teens

Miss Vicky Sat Nov 10, 2012

So apparently Ottawa is getting a few new high schools - 3, according to this CBC piece. One of Kitchicoo's co-founders is part of this project, Compass Centre for Self-Directed Learning, which opens in January in the Bronson Centre. It's not high school per se - that is, the students would be considered home schoolers, and the outcome is not a diploma.

Basically the idea is to tap into teens' innate desire to learn by giving them the responsibility for their own learning. The tools and resources are there - the kids decide for themselves what they want to do with it. It's an interesting proposal, especially for those kids who may not fit with traditional learning models, who might be at risk of dropping out - or who have already and need a route back to learning so they can prepare themselves for better future careers.

The (non-profit) centre is holding a promotional launch tomorrow (Sunday, November 11), 7pm at the Bronson Centre. You'll be able to hear from those who've been through a similar program in the US - a program called North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens, which has been operating successfully for 16 years.

If you can't make the launch, the Compass website has some promotional videos with testimonials about the approach.

Speaking as someone who had a rough time in high school and ended up leaving early (to go to University, but that's a whole other story involving some kind of mysterious luck), I can see the appeal of this kind of approach, especially for kids and families who feel they've exhausted all the options.





12 Comments

Soccer Monsters!

Miss Vicky Mon Mar 12, 2012

A reader writes:

I want to get my 3 year old going in soccer this spring and I'm wondering if you would know of any programs in Hintonburg, Civic Hospital or Little Italy? I'm aware of the one in the Glebe but I'd prefer closer to home.

An excellent question! We here at the Finishing School are anxious to get our wee ones signed up for run-em-til-they-drop activities this spring as well.

There is one option for 3 year olds that Miss Vicky knows about - City of Ottawa soccer at Hintonburg Park for 3-5 year olds runs on Tuesday evenings starting in May. Unfortunately, we just checked the online registration and it's sold out. Boo!

Dovercour has a "Soccer Stars" program for 3 and 4 year olds on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings - registration opens on March 27.

Fisher Park has an excellent soccer program for kids ages 4 and up. It's unfortunate that it doesn't start at age 3, but for next year (and for kids over 4), I highly recommend it. Wee G had a great time playing soccer there last year and we look forward to signing him up again. Registration is on March 20 between 6 and 8pm in person at the Fisher Park Public School. Cost is $70 per child (slightly less if you register more than one) and you need to bring cash or a cheque.

Does anyone else know of nearby programs? I wasn't sure what was available on the Little Italy side of the tracks. The St Anthony's program starts at age 4. Are there others?



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Breezehill Development?

Miss Vicky Fri Jan 6, 2012

Miss Vicky received the following question from reader Nancy today:

I love your blog site. Do you have any idea what is moving into the building at the corner of Breezehill and Somerset. I noticed framing on the Breezehill side of the building where there are windows - maybe putting in doors??

Aw, shucks.

I don't have any confirmation about what is happening to the former site of the 168 Market, but I do know the following:

Claridge Homes bought the property several months ago, and even held an exploratory meeting with the Zoning Committee, presumably to feel out how the community might react to a substantial development on the site. Miss Vicky attended the meeting. They were pretty cagey about what we wanted to do but there were plenty of subtext and code words employed. It was pretty clear that their intention is to go high, and they were fishing around to figure out how high the community would allow without too much of a fuss.

This was, of course, obvious to everyone in the room. So the obvious points were made: the community isn't opposed to height, per se (within reason, of course - 35 stories is a non-starter). But there are tradeoffs. The story of how the GCTC came to be part of the development at Holland and Wellington was recounted. Section 37 was referenced as a possible way for the community to be open to a proposal for increased height.

(Section 37 is a mechanism that would allow the city to accept development proposals that do not conform to the Official Plan, in exchange for benefits to the community. I'm not sure the guidelines have passed yet, and they have been under development for some time, but they would mean that the kind of deal that brought the GCTC to Hintonburg - a theatre space in exchange for increased height - would happen more frequently).

There was some hypothetical discussion about what kinds of things the HCA would consider to be a community benefit for more height at that site - things like a grocery store on the main level, parking for Devonshire Teachers, space for the Devonshire daycare program which may be threatened when Full-day Kindergarten comes to that school. There was also some discussion about traffic flow and other possible concerns that might arise if the company planned to go really high.

Claridge was supposed to come back to the zoning committee with a more comprehensive proposal. They had just bought the property and it was early days. Several months have passed, however, and nothing.

Nothing except a lot of activity at the site - they took down the signage before the holidays and now they seem to be putting up walls inside and perhaps putting in doors. Me, I'm thinking showroom for whatever development they're planning to build there. I guess we'll find out sooner or later just what they think a "gateway" building (their favourite code word at the meeting) means.


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