Who are “Breakaway Learners”?

Sometimes, happenstance or serendipity, or whatever you want to call it, just happens.

Subject line in my overly full email inbox reads:  A seemingly out of the blue email from a children’ book author based in US and living at UBC
The text:   Long story short, I am a visiting scholar at UBC through March 5th and passed your school many times.  I write children’s books — which I have read to thousands of children of all ages and stages (ideal range is 2nd — 5th grades)… Seeing and being in schools and working with children of all ages and stages is what I do — and having been a university president and senior advisor to the US Department of Education, I am ever of the view that the most important education is that which occurs early…  And, for the record, I attach a photo of myself and a short bio so you can see I am legit.  

My Response:   Is there a cost attached to this great offer?

The beginning of another beautiful relationship that started online!  Karen Gross did come to University Hill Elementary School to share her stories with our students.  She captivated both teachers and students alike.  She was aware of our outdoor school and environmental focus and arrived with her newest children’s book, Lady Lucy’s Dragon Quest, a story about droughts and saving land and crops with a strong female protagonist with a collaborative approach to problem solving.  Our Korean students were thrilled that Korean students were the illustrators, who are now in college and who continue to illustrate.
2.  plasticity references the permanent change that occurs in the institution itself in response to required changes
3.  pivoting right references supporting students in their ability to make short and long term decisions that will bring abut the most favourable outcome
4.  reciprocity  that extends beyond student willingness to share ideas and commit to agreements with staff listening and responding, to institutions being responsive to the ideas and needs of their changing populations
5.  belief in self by teachers and institutions stepping away from a deficit model of education to one that builds on strengths

2 thoughts on “Who are “Breakaway Learners”?

  1. My thanks and it was a wonderful encounter — which I hope can be repeated. I adored reading to your students — and this review/blog comes at a perfect time as I head to Puerto Rico to read to children there — in Spanish.

    But, I am curious: can you define what a “distinctly American frame of reference” means — at least as you use it. I have an idea or two as to what makes my book “American” and in today’s world, that seems like a bit of an insult, no? Which parts of the book are “American?” Does the book have relevance to others in different nations despite its framing? Share more so I can learn about how the book “feels” in a different nation.

    More soon I hope and ironically, I was at the Cherry Blossom Festival yesterday (last day) and it looked like the photo. The blossoms are a bright sight in a city (DC) that is under siege in many respects. The Cherry Blossoms remind me not only of the beauty of nature but the cyclical nature of politics (and life). DC may be a swamp and may be worse next year but the Cherry Blossoms will return — regardless. Nature’s life continues as political life drives itself into the ground.


    1. Just saw this. Don’t open dig into comments. I’ll take time to let you know about Amer context soon. More individualist. In Canada there is more expectation of care – in hospitals, schools, More soon


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