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Canterbury Academy Experiential Learning for Complex Educational Needs

Canterbury Academy Experiential Learning for Complex Educational Needs

Canterbury Academy Experiential Learning for Complex Educational Needs

“Not one word spoke he more than was necessary; And that was said with due formality and dignity And short and lively, and full of high morality, Filled with moral virtue was his speech; And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.”

~ Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales


Canterbury Academy seeks complex, curious students who will flourish in a project based, experiential academic environment. Individual mentoring and the fulfillment of a Personal Growth Plan are Canterbury fundamentals. We believe that outstanding achievement is based upon the discovery and development of a student's social and emotional self.

We strive to instill the love of knowledge, the pride of citizenship, the importance of friendship, and the courage of individuality within every student.

We are a private, independent day school teaching high school freshmen through seniors. Our curriculum also includes rigorous Post Graduate and International Honors Programs. Canterbury Academy encourages the academic pursuit of personal interests. To facilitate student explorations and portfolio development, we cultivate collaborative relationships with subject experts from Northwest, Canadian and International learning communities.

Science Lessons.

Students engage in traditional classroom activities in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and on the Olympic Peninsula. Canterbury scholars also benefit from the unique learning environments offered by the Pacific Northwest's mountains, beaches and streams.

It is our belief that expeditionary learning brings depth and sophistication to our students' knowledge. Our thirst for adventure and knowledge has recently led us to Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, to Bend and Portland, Oregon.

Whether in the classroom, a lab, a studio, or in the field, Canterbury teachers guide and model the learning experience, challenging students with enriched content and with constant encouragement toward deeper thinking.

Academic Design

Canterbury Academy is a private, independent day school for bright, curious, complex, and capable students (Grades 9 through 12, Post Graduate and International Honors Program). Founded in 2005, Canterbury Academy cultivates success in our students with rigorous curriculum, in-depth research, experiential learning, personal portfolio development, professional expert mentors, individualized instruction (1:1), social and performance pragmatics and character education. Our students aim to achieve the ideals of knowledge, citizenship, friendship and courage.

We believe in field exploration, research and experiential education. We learn by combining field work, friendship, mentorship and fun with scholarly pursuits, library research and portfolio and project development. Our school is classroom, laboratory, library, studio and expedition based. The academic design intentionally mixes this rigorous curriculum and experiential learning with field based exploration, international travel, expert professional mentors, guest lecturers/presenters and integrated social and performance pragmatics.

Canterbury Academy enjoys multiple classroom sites across the region in Seattle, on Bainbridge Island, and on the Olympic Peninsula. We cultivate collaborative relationships with content experts and multiple Northwest, Canadian and international learning communities, so we also regularly establish classrooms in Vancouver and Whistler British Columbia, Canada; Bend and Portland Oregon; and the wilds of the mountains, beaches and streams across the Northwest.

Great students often need performance enhancement and promotion of their most passionate individual interests. Our students have constant access to utilize many wonderful outdoor/environmental resources, arts, culture, diversity and academic institutions that Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada can offer.

Canterbury Academy believes that social, emotional and performance pragmatics are paramount to creating a strong foundation for personal well-being, success and excellence. While rigorous academic study occurs in the classroom, our campus is not confined to the classroom setting. A thirst for adventure sends us traveling across the region in search of new experiences and applied learning opportunities. Field experience and applied learning bring depth and sophistication to our student’s thinking.

Our teachers and instructors are approachable and creative. They flex to meet our students’ needs. Canterbury teachers present students with rich content to meet their intellectual needs and challenge them to think deeper.

Canterbury Academy is a special niche for a unique, intellectually curious and complex student. Our students are adult mentored and part of an adult facilitated peer group which forms a positive peer culture and is the basis for interaction, academics and social skill enhancement. It serves as a template from which our students can acquire, learn, practice and strengthen their social, emotional and intellectual skills.

Student Experience
Pretty girl on the grass looking over the book

Courage     To pursue our dreams and support our convictions

Friendship     Meaningful people to travel with on your journey through life

Citizenship     Creating your place in society and contributing to the community

Knowledge     An endless journey

Counseling and Advising for Special Needs Students
A student tries to solve a math problem.

Canterbury Academy believes in the value of a truly diverse student population. We custom design an academic plan for each student. We also create a social, emotional and personal growth plan for each student. This plan is in addition to the student’s incoming Individual Education Plan (IEP). The student’s personal growth plan is continually refined in collaboration with the student’s family, multi-disciplinary team, and the student’s own evolving goals.

Our students are exceptionally bright, talented and multi-faceted. We welcome complex students and complex situations. Often exceptionally bright students are underachieving in school. Their performance does not match their intelligence and potential. The Canterbury team also has extensive expertise in working with complex issues such as social and school anxiety; transitions from boarding school or therapeutic boarding school; obsessive and compulsive disorders; Asperger's Disorder; reactive attachment if in transition from intensive integrated attachment therapy; transition from homeschool; bereavement; and some mild attention and concentration difficulties.

We do not serve students with disorderly or disrespectful behaviors; drug or alcohol involvement; psychotic or paranoid disorders; legal or adjudicated status; or other severe psychiatric disorders.

The Canterbury Academy team focus is on performance enhancement.

Enhancement Goals
Happy student posing with thumbs up looking at you in the street
  • Production via Portfolio and Project Development & Presentation
  • International Honors Program
  • (Honor students must meet higher criteria for presentation, competition and final exhibition)
  • Independence
  • Persistence
  • Friendship
  • Communication
  • Citizenship
  • Wider & Better Developed Interests
  • Executive Functions & Strategic Thinking & Planning
  • Generalizability of Skills Across Settings
  • Transfer of Knowledge
  • Resilience
  • Pragmatics
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Pride
  • Happiness
  • New Skills & Interests
  • Critical and Comparative Thinking Skill Development
  • Written & Verbal Expression
  • Mastery & Self Esteem
  • Comfort with Challenge
  • Leadership
white boater's rope on dock

Step One
Complete an Application. CLICK HERE  to print. If you have any questions regarding the admissions process, please call us. (206) 324-3344

  • Step Two
    Gather Student Records:
  • Educational and/or psychological test results
  • Progress Reports (last 2 years)
  • IEP or 504 Plan Accommodations (if applicable)
  • Any specialized testing or assessments related to learning, emotional or behavioral issues
  • Sample of artwork
  • An example of an essay or writing assignment completed in school


Step Three
Mail the entire packet, including a picture of the student, to:
Canterbury Academy
P.O. Box 58788
Seattle, WA 98138

Step Four
Parents will receive a call to schedule an interview.

Step Five
The Interview

Step Six
The Admission Decision. The family will be notified as soon as possible after the interview is completed and records are reviewed.

Step Seven
Design a custom 1:1 program specific to the student’s unique needs. Each high school credit and associated cost will be determined individually with each student and family, based on needs for credit recovery and credit accrual towards graduation.

Step Eight
Design a credit recovery or graduation plan from the State of Washington.
Dana Dean Doering, ARNP Executive Director & Head of School

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