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About ursa

ursa is an Alberta Education accredited and funded school that supports home-based education families that want either a fully teacher directed program (ursa Distance), a fully parent directed program (ursa Parent Directed), or a shared responsibility program (ursa Shared Responsibility) that is part teacher directed and part parent directed. 

The vision of our school is Student Success. Our varied programming choices provide our families with a constellation of choice so each student can be given the flexibility to choose a program that leads to their individual success.

ursa offers programming options that enable families to deliver education, your child’s way, from home. Our Home Education Managers (HEMs) and Distance Online/On-site Teachers (DOTs) are committed to building meaningful relationships with parents and students that ensure student success. As Dr. S. Lal Mattu, our Founder said, “Together, we make the difference.”

Young Asian mother working from home on a laptop while little daughter is studying from home. She is attending online school classes with a digital tablet and doing homework at home

Why ursa?

At ursa, “it’s home education your child’s way”. Whether you are an experienced home school parent or are seeking an alternative to the public school system, ursa home-based education is ready to help you ensure your children succeed in a home school program of your choice.

ursa serves families in communities throughout Alberta and the world.  We support families in developing and delivering home school programs that meet their needs. We believe programming should be personalized and dynamic and that it takes a whole community working together in partnership to raise a child. There are as many effective homeschooling styles as there are children. We view building relationships with our families as fundamental to student success.

We work with students of all abilities and learning needs and are welcoming of all families, irrespective of religion, race, creed, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We would love the opportunity to help your family achieve its educational goals.

We believe that parents choose the best way to homeschool their children. While ursa is accountable to Alberta Education for ensuring their standards are met for each student, we provide parent-directed home education families the support they need to design and deliver a flexible program that meets their child’s needs, and teacher-directed students with a quality program that meets the Alberta Education Program of Studies

ursa also offers:

  • school photos
  • grade 12 graduation ceremony
  • regular coffee nights for parents, organized and attended by HEMs to help build relationships with our families
  • park days, workshops, picnics, hikes and other meetups
  • access to What in the World? and Canadian Reader magazines, Exambank, and Learn Alberta
  • monthly newsletter
  • Our Friends of ursa Home Ed Facebook group is an online community where families can meet other homeschoolers, discuss ideas, share learning, and organize events.

ursa’s people – working together for student success
exceptional staff for exceptional students

ursa Home Education Managers

Home Education Managers support our Parent-Directed and Shared Responsibility families. In addition to being Alberta certified teachers, our Home Education Managers are experienced home educators. They know how to assist parents in providing a home-based program, while referring students to the appropriate ursa Subject Specialist for teacher-directed instruction.

polar bear standing

ursa Distance Online Teachers

ursa’s Distance Online Teachers (DOTs) are experienced online educators with specialized training in teaching subject specific courses. Learning the material along with a teacher who truly understands the content allows for a deeper discussion between all members of the learning community. Our teachers focus on meeting each student’s needs more than on simply getting through the curriculum.

black bear in a corn field

ursa Students

ursa students may reside anywhere in the world and be in Kindergarten to Grade 12. As an ursa student, you want to pursue your passions, whenever and wherever they may take you, whether that be sports, the arts, specialized academic areas, travel, or…”the world is your oyster”. We’re here to support and serve.

Happy cheerful kids playing. Kids have fun running in nature, fall time

Principal’s Message

Greetings and welcome to 2023-2024!

Thank you for selecting ursa as your programming choice for learning from home. We are excited for another year of teaching and learning. If you are a returning student, you already know that your Home Education Managers, Distance Online Teachers, and Onsite Teachers are planning for another successful year. If you are a new student with ursa, you are in for an exciting year.

ursa is an independent school operated by Third Schools, an Alberta Education approved Authority/Board and founded in 1997. We provide families with a constellation of choice- Grades K-12- in home based programming including a fully Parent Directed program, a Shared Responsibility program, or a fully Teacher Directed distance program. Ultimate flexibility in programming choices to suit your family/student is the goal as we deliver a range of hybrid programming. As part of the recently announced pilot program by Alberta Education, we are excited to offer funded Parent Directed Kindergarten for the 2023-2024 year. Our sister schools/programs: Third Academy, LYNX, and LYNX ECS.

ursa had a humble beginning with 68 parent directed students in 2014. There has been considerable growth since then. For 2023-2024, we anticipate serving over 1100 students including in our online/on-site Teacher Directed programs that began in the fall of 2020. As an innovator in Education, we continue to develop programming choices for communities that are underserved.

An example of this is how we support families/students living abroad through our ursa International program. You can choose a Parent Directed, Shared Responsibility, or Distance Online program. In this way, being abroad does not mean that you have to ‘miss out’ on an Alberta approved education program. This programming choice is proving to be particularly attractive to students in the High School grades, families working abroad, and families who are World Schoolers travelling the globe.

Announcing STREAMS! This Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics focused program launches for September 2023. A rigorous academic program, this programming choice is geared towards students who wish to pursue a career pathway into the Science/Engineering/Computer Sciences sectors, with focus on Aerospace, Computer Sciences, and Robotics course load/lab work. All courses are Teacher Directed and are made accessible as CTF (junior high) and CTS (senior high) classes onsite at Third School East Campus in partnership with Capstone Engineering Academy.

This ursa Parent Handbook 2023-2024 describes in more detail how ursa operates. This is important informationthat will help you fully participate in your success at ursa. We are inspired to deliver access, every day, to a world class education by working together- parents, students, and ursa. As Dr. S. Lal Mattu, our Founder said, “Together, we make the difference.”

On behalf of the ursa team, all the best for 2023-2024!                                                                 

Tracy Gilluley – Principal ursa
C (403) 605-9743