Root Academy is an inclusive K-5 school in North Seattle that empowers students to unfold their potential as unique individuals. Teaching staff and families work collaboratively to identify and meet student needs. Daily martial arts lessons promote mental focus and assist with physical and emotional regulation. Spanish language enrichment facilitates language development and opens doors to other cultures. Students enjoy learning in the Academy’s supportive and family-like environment.
Root Academy was co-founded in 2016 by Heather MacKenzie Graham and Jarreau Elizabeth Gardner, who shared a vision about a new way to approach education.
Heather MacKenzie Graham was originally inspired to find a way to integrate martial arts with academics while teaching and managing a martial arts school in 2012. Over time she observed that children who maintained their training over longer periods of time benefited with great confidence, enhanced physical ability, a calm sense of self, and greater respect for themselves and the people in their lives. In many cases even children struggling with severe physical, mental, emotional challenges were able to show marked improvement in their ability to work in a group with their peers, their academic work, and their empathy for others. Over these years, she also observed that many children who had made incredible improvements in their lives would stop attending lessons. Many would return several months or a year a later stating that they should have remained because the benefits of training were so incredible. Root Academy was born from the idea that if traditional martial arts were integrated into academic learning, then the consistency of training could more effectively impact the student's life.