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Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence

207 Bayswater Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 2G5

Grades (Gender):
1 to 12 (Coed)
$14,000 to 15,500/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
6 to 12
Day: 120 (Gr. 1 - 12)

School Address
207 Bayswater Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 2G5

About this school:


Heritage Academy, founded in 1989, is a private not-for-profit, non-denominational school located in Ottawa, Ontario. Specializing in Dyslexia and ADD, it's purpose is to provide an educational environment where students Grades 1 – 12 are excited about learning and can discover and meet their full potential, while studying at their own rate on an enriched curriculum. — Visit school website



The Our Kids review of Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence

our takeSchools are founded for a range of reasons, though a few are founded out of a very acute need, and that’s the case with Heritage. Louise Brazeau-Ward’s son had dyslexia, and she had watched him struggle in traditional academic settings, something which inspired her to make a difference in his life and the lives of others like him. Today she’s a world renowned expert in dyslexia, and a proponent of the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to instruction which she then adapted. All of that forms the foundation of Heritage Academy, the school that Brazeau-Ward created in 1989. Today the school is run by her daughter, and the program, though having grown over the years, remains consistent. The school provides support for students with dyslexia as well as other challenges. The environment itself—one that is created to address the needs of the students—can itself be transformative. For many students, that’s what Heritage principally offers.

Principal's Message


Cheryl Ward, Director

Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence, founded by Louise Brazeau-Ward, has come a long way since its inception. In the early 1980s, Louise (as she is known at the school) was a frustrated parent tired of watching her dyslexic son continually struggle in school. This compelled her to focus her time and energy towards dyslexia research in order to help her son and other children struggling with this learning exceptionality. Through her involvement in this issue, Louise became an internationally recognized expert in the field of dyslexia research and therapy. With the goal of providing an academic environment that met the unique needs of students with dyslexia and other learning exceptionalities,  Louise opened Heritage Academy in 1989.


As Louise began to train new teachers, she recognized the necessity for a specialized system to support the development and strengthening of written language skills in dyslexic students. To meet this need, she developed the Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching method (SMT), a unique learning system available in both English and French. Since its introduction, teachers, students and parents alike have found this system to be a highly effective way of improving and enhancing reading, writing and spelling skills in dyslexic students. SMT is still taught at Heritage Academy, with the concepts being integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. SMT is also utilized in schools and homes throughout Canada and abroad.


With Louise Ward’s retirement in 2006, Heritage Academy is now under the watchful eye of Cheryl Ward, Louise’s daughter. The school has grown larger, but remains true to its original purpose. We continue to specialize in supporting dyslexic students, and have expanded our expertise to provide additional comprehensive support to students with a variety of learning exceptionalities. By promoting the values of honesty, perseverance and respect, Heritage Academy fosters acceptance and growth amongst our students, and enables them to reach their full academic potential.


Curriculum Traditional

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: GRADES 1-8 Our program offers a rich curriculum stressing disciplined learning. Skill development is a major goal of a demanding academic program. All classes emphasize the need to write, speak and listen effectively. Some students entering these grades already have had a history of school failure because of reading, writing and math difficulties. GRADES 9-12 Our high school courses lead to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Courses offered by Heritage Academy have been developed according to the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training.

  • Approach:
    Focus Special needs
    Academic Special needs

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: Multi-sensory and Hands on Approach to Mathematics.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Social Studies
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Humanities and Social Sciences
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • French • ESL

    Fine Arts
    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Sex and Health Education Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education:
    Topics We begin covering this topic at: Begins in Ontario
    Body parts Gr. 1 Gr. 1
    Nutrition Gr. 1 Gr. 1
    Human development Gr. 1 Gr. 1
    Puberty Gr. 4 Gr. 4
    Sexual health and hygiene Gr. 4 Gr. 4
    Reproduction Gr. 5 Gr. 5
    Pregnancy Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Sexually transmitted infections Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Sex and decision-making Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Contraception Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Consent Gr. 7 Gr. 9
    Sexual orientation Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Gender identity Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Misconceptions relating to sexuality Gr. 9 Gr. 10
    Relationships and intimacy Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Bias and stereotyping about sex Gr. 9 Gr. 12
    Sexual harassment Gr. 7 Gr. 9
    Body image issues Gr. 5 Gr. 7
    Mental illness Gr. 9 Gr. 11
    Social justice and diversity Gr. 6

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced, Intellectual

    Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Special Needs Support Very High

    Very High

    HERITAGE ACADEMY is a full-time special needs school. All students at HERITAGE ACADEMY are receiving some form of specialized support. The school therefore offeres a very high degree of special needs support.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      Learning disabilities
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy

    Gifted Learner Support Dedicated class; in-class adaptations

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Academic achievement reporting1 to 12
    Habits and behaviour reporting1 to 12
    Parent-teacher meetings1 to 12

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

    Non-lunch recessFrequency 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day
    Location Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside
    Amount 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
    Lunch recessAmount 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: This information is not currently available.

    Non-lunch recesses: All of this school’s non-lunch recesses take place between classes or academic periods.



    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Downhill skiing
      Field Hockey
      Ice Hockey
      Martial Arts
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Astronomy Club
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Computer Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Math Club
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Robotics club
      School newspaper
      Science Club
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    What HERITAGE ACADEMY says: Standard= $14,000 Standard with SMT lessons = $15,000 For full schedule visit our website.


    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)all students15%
    3rd child (sibling)all students20%
    4th child (sibling)all students30%

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 120
    Average enrollment per grade10
    Average class size6 to 12
    Gender (grades)1 to 12 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment55612121212121018166



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    Interview1 - 12
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:


    Late applicants may be accepted depending on available space. In this instance an individual pay schedule will be created on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at 613-722-0133 with any questions regarding our admissions process. We also encourage you to visit Heritage Academy and see for yourself how our unique program works.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence is looking for: This information is not currently available.

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type123456789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    02 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)2 - 3 (75%)5 - 8 (75%)3 - 6 (75%)3 - 6 (75%)3 - 6 (75%)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class size8
    *Canadian "Big 6" placements6
    **Ivy+ placements7

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    Stories & Testimonials


    Students Who Attend Heritage Academy Succeed in University

    ​​Heritage Acadmey student (let's call him W.H.) attended the school for four years and after having graduated from the academy went on to taking the Aerospace Engineering program at Syracuse University and was a proud graduate from that program in 2007. Here is what he said about his days at Heritage.

    Heritage properly prepared me for university and the real world by providing an environment where I was challenged and was able to learn not to be held back by my dyslexia. At the same time they helped me, as an individual to discover ways of adapting to my specific learning needs. Being in a positive environment where people care about you and believed in you was an extreme factor in my success. The staff at Heritage helped prepare me for the SAT’s that were required for me to get into an American College. After being approved in the engineering program and having had the opportunity to intern at NASA, I now work at Boeing on the new 787 and could not be happier.

    Heritage Acadmey student (let's call him L.B.) attended the school for a year and a half where she successfully graduated. Here is what she had to say about her time with us.

    Heritage gave me much more confidence in myself personally and academically. The teachers here believed in me and helped me very much. This impacted my life in a great way. After graduation I was accepted to multiple universities and it is all thanks to my amazing time here at Heritage.


    Heritage Academy Ottawa Reviews

    When you choose a school fory our child, ou want to ensure they'll be happy and successful there. Here are parent and student reviews of Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence in Ottawa, Ontario.


    School Review from Parent of Grade 5 Student

    My daughter is in grade 5 at Heritage Academy having moved there last year as she was really struggling and was being bullied. After the second day she told me she felt like she’d “come home”- she felt so comfortable and she was like everyone else. She is very intelligent, but also very dyslexic and in the past she has felt like she either gets no help or is treated like she is stupid. She loves Heritage and her confidence and standard of work improved immediately! She now gets 20 spelling words correct with no help from me and they aren’t all simple either. The best thing is no more homework battles!

    My other daughter is also dyslexic and has been really struggling. I was initially reluctant to move her as she has so many friends at her school. Anyway, I have been so delighted with the school and it is such a pleasure to see my daughter happy and making progress, that I am moving my other daughter into grade 3 at Heritage.

    If you have reached the stage of even thinking about it, your child probably needs it … I know it takes a lot to make the move, but seeing the children relaxed and happy in a learning environment that truly looks after their needs whilst recognising their intelligence is wonderful! I am a teacher myself and I know that in most classroom situations we have no way of really meeting the needs of bright children with dyslexia or some other form of specific learning disability. This affects their self esteem. I was totally amazed at the difference in my daughter in only a few days when she felt valued, respected and not alone!


    Heritage Academy Review from Parent of Grade 9 Student

    Our son, has just completed his first semester of high school at Heritage Academy. During this timewe have immediately noticed a huge improvement in his understanding of his work assignments.  Consequently, he has reacted very positively and is learning his subjects with great enthusiasm.

    Besides learning and understanding his school work he is also enjoying a very positive social life at Heritage Academy. We attribute this to the very positive school culture.

    We are deeply grateful and appreciative toHeritageAcademyfor the great work and unabated effort offered to our son. We only wish we had discovered Heritage Academy earlier.

    To those parents who are considering sending their children to Heritage Academy please rest assured that your kids will be receiving the best education that can be delivered. The teachers and staff members at Heritage Academyare courteous, respectful, understanding and extremely professional. We are truly pleased and grateful to everyone at Heritage Academy.


    Heritage Academy Review from Parent of Grade 11 Student

    My son is going to be going into Grade 11 at Heritage and he started there in Grade 9.

    It has been our experience that the school and teachers are totally dedicated to the students and truly care about the progress of each and every student. The principal and staff are always available and responsive to any questions or concerns. My son is not all that interested in school (he is 16) but this past year the teachers and principal worked together with him to ensure that he passed his year – they spent extra hours with him after school and before school to assist him with projects and completion of same. The small class size and enriched program, combined with the excellent staff, makes for a great school.


    Teaching Kids with Dyslexia Using the SMT program

    The Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching (SMT) program has been acknowledged as the only appropriate intervention for people with dyslexia. SMT Is a language re-education method for students that works for kids and adults of all ages. Based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology, SMT is a structured and highly organized method for language training. It uses all of the senses to educate and both English and French versions of the program are available at Heritage Academy. SMT can be administered to groups or individuals.

    How SMT works for students with dyslexia

    The SMT Program is made up of a series of sequential lessons which teach reading, writing and spelling with an emphasis on reading accuracy in the early stages, followed by a thorough comprehension of written language and its structures.

    The program comprises a comprehensive manual for the teacher that includes step-by-step lessons plans and all teaching materials and a student workbook. There are 12 levels in the English program and 8 levels in the French (EMS) program. Student progress is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure mastery of concepts and content.

    The SMT Program is based on the following principles:

    • Simultaneous, multisensory teaching – Students learn using visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile senses simultaneously.
    • Systematic and cumulative – Each lesson is based on concepts taught in previous lessons. Lessons begin with the most basic concepts of language and progress to the most complex in logical order.
    • Direct instruction – Each concept is explicitly stated. Students are not expected to infer or intuit concepts as part of the learning process.
    • Diagnostic teaching – The teacher must continuously adjust the pace and style of instruction to suit the student’s changing needs and abilities.
    • Synthetic and analytic instruction – Synthetic instruction introduces the component parts of a concept, then describes how the component parts fit together. Analytic instruction presents the concept, and then describes how it may be broken down into its component parts.

    The Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching program at Heritage Academy in Ottawa has proven time and time again to be successful for dyslexics and has shown sucess for other students with reading/writing challenges.


    In the News


    • The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) Associations

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    Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence