Parent Testimonials

My children have all struggled in the public school system here in Bellingham. The biggest problem is that they are too smart. In public school they were disengaged, unhappy, misunderstood, and ostracized. My children aren’t followers.  My husband and I have taught them that it is important to question authority, to seek quality information, and to develop and be true to their own values. Our public school system and even most of our private schools actively discourage children like mine from developing in their own way.
Compass is different. Jennifer Deshaies has helped hundreds of children fall in love with learning, develop community spirit, and find their own path as scholars, artists, musicians, athletes, engineers, and more. She maintains an atmosphere of cooperation and focus in the classroom not through punishment and authoritarianism, but by engaging and challenging them and by teaching them to lead together. She teaches them the joy of accomplishment in a community of learning. They develop a learning contract together at the beginning of the year and hold each other to it. They accomplish amazing learning projects together.
Compass is a small school, born from the ashes of Whatcom Day Academy. I want it to thrive because there is nothing else like it around here, and I know my children aren’t the only ones who need a safe and nurturing place to develop their brilliance.

Rachel May, Parent

My 14 year old son has been a student of Ms. Deshaies for several years now and I could not be any happier with the quality of education he has received. Jennifer has been an inspirational friend and mentor to my son who without her would have lost interest in school a long time ago. Often times she has gone above and beyond what is normally expected of a teacher and has taught Ben many life lessons he will never forget outside of the classroom.

Because of small class sizes, teachers who love and care about each and every student and exposure to a hands on learning environment, I am confident my son has received a sound foundation from which he will thrive in the future. Rest assured anyone who goes to this school will feel accepted no matter what their limitations and will feel they can accomplish anything academically. 

Britta Johnson, parent

Over the years that I have known Jennifer, I have been consistently impressed with her exceptional organizational skills, creativity and teaching expertise. To say that she is passionate about her subject areas, history in particular, is an understatement. Her enthusiasm is contagious and it is not unusual to have my 14 year old son come home after a long day of school and want to discuss the nuances of the Vietnam War! Every year, each of her students perform an in-depth research project and participates in the National History Day competition. Without Jennifer's personal love of history and expertise in performing research and preparing academic papers, such a task would be virtually impossible. Jennifer is one of the hardest working people that I have ever had the pleasure to work with both in education and beyond. She is patient, respectful and an excellent listener. Jennifer does her best to problem solve issues that do arise in a collaborative manner.


I can say that professionally she is the best teacher that my son has had the privilege of studying with. She has literally changed his life as well as the lives of countless other students. She does an amazing job of individualizing her instructional methods to best meet the needs of her learners. Furthermore, she has masterfully integrated the curriculum so that while the students are technically studying history they are also developing their research, writing and cooperative learning skills.

Kristi Andrews, Parent / Board Member