Yellow Parachute Academy

Fueling Hope Through Acts of Service

Yellow Parachute Academy Logo
We believe that  learners’ confidence  grows through using unique gifts and passions in acts of service. 
And this confidence fuels hope to make the world a better place.

Watch the YPA Q&A

Parents, do you have a student who THRIVED this year during distance learning, or are you concerned about a transition your learner might not be ready to make for next year?
Watch Founder, Cara Thorpe, and Lauren Rice answer questions you’re probably wondering about.

2021-22 Enrollment is OPEN!

Don’t Wait! Sign Up Today!

Spots Available:

Teachers, we see you and support you! Ask us about our discounted services for families of educators.

Connect With Us Today

A 1-12 Grade “One-Room Schoolhouse” Learning Community

Yellow Parachute is open as a learning center for students in grades 1-12 for the 2020-2021 school year.

YPA families are pioneers for innovative, student-centered learning that will revolutionize education for generations of students to come.

We are now accepting enrollment inquiries. Please contact if you are interested in learning more about YPA. We’d love to give you a tour!

Yellow Parachute Academy Students are:

Learning Ready

YPA learners engage in academic and executive function coaching and goal setting activities. They discover tools that build success through daily 1:1 and group lessons.

Service Ready

YPA learners explore their unique gifts and challenges. They practice using these gifts, both individually and as a group, by creating service projects to contribute to their communities.

Choice Ready

YPA learners connect learning to life outside the school day. They participate in coaching that helps them own their learning experience and reflect on choosing a college and career path.

Learn More


Take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about YPA.  We hope you enjoy your visit and take a moment to drop us a line.

Would my learner benefit from YPA? 

While we believe that all students benefit from a personalized plan for their learning success, some  students have a greater need for customized learning.  We’re here to support you in your journey with your kiddo and have made a list to help you reflect on your learner’s experiences in school.

  • Have your child’s teachers  said, “I just wish I had more time to work with your child 1:1 in my classroom?”
  • Are you  homeschooling your  elementary-aged kiddo and considering a new type of learning environment?
  • Do you feel like your kiddo is advancing through grades without really “learning” the material?
  • Is your child dealing with mental or physical health challenges that make regular school attendance a struggle?
  • Do you have a sensitive learner who feels lost or overwhelmed by a large classroom environment?
  • Does your child have a strong preference for learning at a certain time of day, while other times feel like lost time at school?
  • Do you worry that your kiddo is “just not getting it” in school, or does your kiddo feel sad about going?
  • Does your child struggle to keep organized, take notes, and make a study plan for school assignments and tests?
  • Do you have a kiddo who is involved in many extra curricular activities and struggles to keep up with academics as a result?

If you’ve answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, we’d love to  schedule a phone call or visit to help you find out more about us, and how we may help you get the resources you need for success!

Find Out More

About Us

Who We Are

YPA is a small community of families with students in grades 5-8,  founded in 2019. We desire close-knit support for our learners through their middle school years. We connect to discuss parenting, study and executive functioning skills and habits, and how we can best foster our children’s resiliency in the 21st century.

Why We Exist

YPA exists to give parents the option of sending their kids to a center where  learning is supported through 1:1 coaching and mentorship.

YPA exists to  grow students’ confidence,  purpose, and belief in serving others, because  this belief fuels hope to take risks to achieve a purpose beyond one’s self.

Passion + Purpose = Perseverance.

What We Do

We guide students to become learning experts and connect learning experiences to real life.

YPA learners explore their strengths, identity, and ability to cope with learning challenges. Learners gain understanding of specifically how to learn –  meaning tools, habits, and strategies to apply across multiple contexts. By participating in service learning opportunities, students’ learning comes to life.

YPA learners become role models for activating voice and choice in learning; they will enrich the student learning culture and environment in the high schools of their choices.


Yellow Parachute Academy Learners Are:

Learning Ready.

YPA Learners can say how they best:

  1. Get information
  2. Work with information
  3. Show their learning

Service Ready.

YPA students connect learning to life experience and develop pathways through which they can use their gifts and passions to serve their communities.

Choice Ready.

YPA learners begin to explore college and career choices so they enter high school years choice-ready: poised to cultivate a balanced academic and extra-curricular resume.

Yellow Parachute Academy Parents Are:


YPA parents are invested  in  their children’s education – and in what’s best for their kids. They are learners who thrive  discussing brain research and social emotional strategies to foster the best possible learning environment for their kiddos’ unique needs. YPA parents have open minds to gaining new  parenting perspectives, homework routines, and tools to help their children thrive. They see that character and grit come from knowing how to fail and leaning in for a next try.


YPA parents are trailblazers. They have a vision, and they are willing to seek a less-traveled path to make meaningful changes for their kids. YPA parents are innovative thinkers, dreamers, courageous leaders, helping other parents in how to seek a “right fit” for their kids and families. They model to their children hard work, goal setting, and reflection, in addition to supporting others by connecting, sharing, and growing together.

Service Oriented

YPA parents view giving back as the best way to say thanks for the gifts we’ve been given. They appreciate the power of purpose in lending a hand to help another. YPA parents see service as a part of living with joy and purpose. They value the lessons of giving one’s best and trying again. They want their kiddos to appreciate the process of hard work and perseverance — the journey — perhaps more than achieving the goal itself.


1-on-1 Coaching

YPA harnesses the power of relationship. Learners plan and  check-in daily with a learning coach who acts as a mentor and project facilitator .

Learner Engagement

YPA learners plan and reflect on learning activities with the guidance of mentors to make learning applicable to life.

Learning How to Learn

YPA learners practice HOW to learn and how to apply their learning. They discover their SUPERPOWERS for success by applying problem solving, communication, and collaboration in a variety of settings.

Collaboration & Connection

YPA learners understand that they are a part of a larger community. They build purpose through service-learning and interaction with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and community members.

Tutoring for Everyone

“Tutoring” is for everyone! – not just when a student is falling behind. By participating in after school peer mentorship with high school students, YPA learners practice helping others help them learn.

Innovation Design Thinking

YP bases project work on Innovation Design Thinking, represented by The ChangeMaker Innovation Process. ™ This process develops empathetic problem-solving skills and inspires stewardship of ideas. It extends students beyond

Youth Volunteer Mentorship Program

Watch to Learn More

Do you know a high school student who is interested in teaching or volunteering with youth? Connect with us today!

Enthusiasm inspires learning, and some of the most enthusiastic teachers can be found in our high-school aged crowd. Elementary and middle school children look up to their older peers and seek their approval, creating a wonderful opportunity for both mentor and student growth.

We are looking for enthusiastic young adults ages 15+ willing to volunteer their time at Yellow Parachute Academy for the 20-21 school year.

A mentor relationship can spark a lifelong adventure in learning! Make that difference in a child’s life and learning.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the Youth Volunteer Program. We’d love to tell you more!


Yellow Parachute Academy makes use of an online virtual school, which is licensed in the State of Minnesota, for our curriculum. The curriculum is geared toward college and career prep.

All learning is personalized to meet the specific needs of each individual student. Students will study core subjects of English, math, social studies, science and have the opportunity to take electives including art, music and computer coding.

The Learning Coaches at Yellow Parachute Academy will work with your student to personalize and plan each student’s work-day within the online curriculum.

It’s very similar to what a traditional middle school looks like, except instead of getting a live lecture from a teacher, lessons are taught online, through videoconferencing.

Students attend daily lectures, called “class connects,” in core and elective subjects. Class connects are 20-45 minutes long, and deliver daily instructional material. Students are required to attend a certain number of class connects every week for each of their classes. Other days are optional “help days.” For example, an English class has 2 class connects a week and 2 help days. Outside of class connects and help sessions students work independently, but with coaching and encouragement from Yellow Parachute Academy Learning Coaches, to complete their assignments.

Our typical day is 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. There are lots of efficiencies with online learning. For example, learning time is more condensed. This serves to maximize learning time and allows for more unscheduled time during the school day. Because we don’t have every minute of the school day scheduled, our students have time to work on other things outside of academics.

The online virtual school we attend uses letter grades and a semester calendar and grading period. Because of the online format, you can log into the learning portal and see your student’s grades at any time.

There is very little homework. Our goal is for your student to have no homework. Accountability and independence are built into our daily schedule, so if your student makes good use of their time, they’ll have plenty of time to complete their homework during the school day. 

Yellow Parachute Academy partners with an online virtual school district which is licensed in the State of Minnesota for our curriculum. The curriculum is geared at college and career prep. All learning is personalized to meet the specific needs of each individual student.

Parents have access to every assignment, every grade, and all learning material through their student’s learning portal at any time. Learning Coaches are in regular communication with parents about their student’s learning needs, challenges and growth.

Absolutely. Because we take time and great care to unpack each student’s preconceived attitudes and discover their strengths and weaknesses about learning, we help create a new identity for our students as successful learners. Combined with sequential support aimed at developing executive function skills, students at Yellow Parachute Academy develop tools that will last from middle school to high school, college and career.

At Yellow Parachute Academy we concentrate on teaching each student how to learn and how to understand their bandwidth for academics versus extracurricular activities. We encourage students to choose to participate in activities that are meaningful to them, will help develop their high school resume and further their interests.

By practicing the skills they’ll learn at Yellow Parachute Academy, students will be less likely to experience mental health issues and burnout because they’ve learned the best way for them to learn and what they need to be successful in academic settings. We help students develop personal and family support systems that will benefit them in high school and beyond and to understand what they need in a learning environment.

Please email Jenny McKeand at for information about tuition.

At Yellow Parachute Academy our size allows for deeper connections among students and staff, and a greater feeling of community. Our small size also allows for the ability to develop greater understanding, patience and support for one another. Because our students have less homework outside of school, they have a greater ability to connect with friends and family after school. School is school and play is play.

Our students not only have the opportunity to socialize with their peers at Yellow Parachute Academy, but will also meet other kids and teachers at the field trips we participate in.

Absolutely. At Yellow Parachute Academy we are able to plan out the school day to accommodate learning and movement time for each individual learner’s needs.

Yes. First, we want to make sure we have your student’s buy-in. If they’re open to working with us at Yellow Parachute Academy, we’ll work to gain their trust and build a learning relationship together.

Students in many school districts spend time learning on iPads, Chromebooks and other computers as a main source of getting information. Students may have more screen time initially because that’s the vehicle through which they’re being taught. At Yellow Parachute Academy we balance the time students spend online with getting outdoors as much as possible, and other non-screen time activities.

Students are not allowed to use their cell phones during the school day.

Yes, your child can participate in any extracurricular activity offered through their district of residence. For example, one of our students participates in theater. Others run track and cross country.
Yellow Parachute Academy partners with an online virtual school district in Minnesota for our curriculum. With this relationship, we have access to a wide range of field trips which vary from educational to fun. These field trips serve as a break from the day-to-day routine, but also as an opportunity for our students to meet and socialize with other kids from across the state. Our students have participated in field trips to a physics demonstration at the University of Minnesota, gone rock climbing at Vertical Endeavors and attended an all-school picnic to name a few of these opportunities!
Yes, there are! We travel to a location where all students who attend the virtual school we attend have the opportunity to pose for pictures.
At Yellow Parachute Academy, we provide a personalized learning experience that helps students connect with who they are, what they enjoy, and how they learn best, in a greater way than they can during a traditional school day. We pride ourselves on providing a learning environment that’s different due to our high touch interaction between Learning Coach and student.

What sets Yellow Parachute Academy apart is our smaller learning environment, the time we dedicate during the school day to allow our students to complete their homework, and our emphasis on nature and the outdoors. Our students have greater accountability and greater freedom. We help them create good habits which will translate into a lifetime of skills.

Simply put, you’ll notice your kids are happy coming to school. You’ll see more smiles!

At Yellow Parachute Academy we personalize the learning process to each individual student’s needs. We make sure each family gets what they need when it comes to each student’s needs in terms of where they’re at developmentally.

We engage parents in daily conversation and have specific learning check-ins each month which focus on specific areas of executive functioning. With the online format, you can see your student’s grades at any time. Questions for our Learning Coaches are welcome at any time.

We engage parents in daily conversation and have specific learning check-ins each month which focus on specific areas of executive functioning. You’re also welcome to ask our Learning Coaches questions at any time.


Yellow Parachute Academy has shifted my son’s trajectory, both his character and his outlook, dramatically increasing his ability to learn and return to enjoying school going forward. They have provided individualized learning at a level he never could have received in public school, we are so grateful!

Yellow Parachute Academy is unique because each student can be in a different place with their studies and work but yet finds ways to bring students together to help each other and do their best in their work. YPA has amazing communication and offers many tips, thoughts, ideas and how to best help your student.

This is highly individualized learning at Yellow Parachute Academy. The focus on learning how to learn and growing in awareness of one’s own strengths and weakness that propel or hinder learning, has been radical. I would not have thought my son was self aware enough yet to benefit from some of these approaches, but he clearly has.

Yellow Parachute Academy is a community-based school/service focused on different types of learning styles. It meets a need that public schools do not.

I believe the leaders that commit to working with these students each day are the real strength at Yellow Parachute Academy. It takes dedication and commitment on their part to keep each student on task, organized, focused and motivated to do their best work.

Our Partners

Project Impact

Encouraging, engaging, and empowering schools and communities to build a better society

After many years of supporting and implementing service learning projects at multiple schools throughout the local community,  A Better Society is developing Project Impact! This project will be online resource for families, teachers, schools, youth service organizations, and communities to successfully develop meaningful service projects with authentic local and global needs.

Yellow Parachute Academy will use Project Impact curriculum infused with the ChangeMaker Process to facilitate and coordinate our service projects. We are thrilled to partner with Heather Tran, who will instruct our students in the process of service learning, and Amanda Kopischke and Angela Anderson who will train our staff and students in the ChangeMaker Mindsets.

Incubate to Innovate

We equip educators with best pedagogical practices, tools, and an online collaborative network to transform teaching and learning experiences and environments using innovation.

Incubate to Innovate designed a process, framework, and practical methodology that offers new approaches to creating and sustaining exploratory and experiential learning environments while simultaneously transforming school culture with their ChangeMaker Mindsets™. When space and time are given to foster and encourage collaborative problem-solving skills, powerful ideas surface that can transform schools and the lives of students while preparing them with 21st century skills.

Learn More

Contact Us About YPA Options

    Yellow Parachute Academy

    305 West 82nd Street, Chaska, Minnesota 55318, United States

    (612) 361-7266

    Hours – Sept 2019

    Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
    Saturday – Sunday: Closed