REVIEW OF Merrick Preparatory School BY parent, Rossana de Fabrega
- Date of Review
November 27, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 10 - Gr. 11 (Female, Current Boarding Student)
(5) Student Experience
Merrick Preparatory School is a school that welcomes students from different backgrounds and makes an effort to make students and their families feel like part of a close-knit community. Diversity is considered a plus. The teachers, administrative and support personnel are always available and supportive to both students and families, as was made very clear to me when my mother-in-law died and we had to share the news with our child. One thing that I believe would improve the experience, but I understand that would be difficult to accomplish, is to expand its infrastructure in the present site, allowing more room for the students to enjoy. I believe the size of the school is adequate, but improvements can always be made to upgrade the facilities.
(5) School Leadership
School leaders know the students and their families, and are always polite and willing to go the extra mile to help fulfill all needs. Students are well known and attention is given to their different backgrounds, health issues, abilities, strengths and particularities. They are always available and knowledgeable. They keep students and families informed of the student’s progress. I have been in contact with the Headmaster regarding various subjects and he has always been gracious and eager to help.
Teachers are passionate about their jobs, interested and supportive to both students and parents. They are well-versed in their subject matter. Periodically, they send thorough reports on student’s development to highlight their advancement. They encourage students to participate in activities both in the school and outside and are available to accompany them in these activities. Their curricula are notable and diverse. They identify areas that need further development and encourage students to follow their passions and interests. They are not only interested in the student’s development academically, but also as individuals and parts of society. They are always available to answer parent’s questions and address their concerns. They are supportive and very attuned to the emotional needs of the students. They are always courteous in their interactions.
The subjects are interesting and the teachers make them relatable. For instance, students in one class were trained in how to make a budget and were given different situations to make them aware of the impact of important issues, such as cost of living, salaries or allowances, etc. In other instances, the importance of nutrition and exercise was thoroughly explained. The work is challenging, but assigned to challenge, not to make students fail and teachers are always ready to give additional information. Students can talk to the teachers about workload, how to improve their understanding of the subject matter or to manage their schedules better. Additional support is available when needed, in order to ensure that there is an understanding of the information and not just memorizing.
The school offers different extracurricular activities and clubs and even finds ways to accommodate students' requests to add new areas of interest. They encourage students to participate as team members, as well as their audience. The school even has yearly a “House Tournament” in which all students compete in team-building activities to showcase their abilities in a friendly manner.
The first is a very difficult question to answer because each student has a very different background. Therefore, I would say diverse. Regarding Merrickville, it is a little artsy town, surrounded by farms and wide open areas. Students from big cities may feel, in the beginning, a little restricted in their choices, on the other hand, they may find the safety and calm that cannot be found in bigger cities. Students who are used to or expect a place full of noise, people and bustling with activities may find themselves bored if they do not seek activities to do because outdoorsy things to do are plenty and they can make arrangements to go to Ottawa on the weekends, which is fairly close (less than an hour).
(5) School Life
I would take them to the reception area, not because it is the first room accessed from the front door, but because there is always someone to receive you with a smile, open arms, and an open heart. Arriving at the school for the first time, and taking in the atmosphere of the school, our decision to choose this school felt right. The richness of the school is in its people, being part of the teaching, administrative or student body. Or I could take you to the Headmaster’s Office, whose door is always open to welcome everyone. Of course, the students would be more amenable to see their rooms and to find out who their roommate would be, and where they would be spending time relaxing.
This is a school that makes everyone feel welcome, and that can be easily seen in their student body, where you can find represented different countries, religions, genders, backgrounds, and nationalities. Dietary needs are taken into consideration, including allergies, as well as religions and beliefs. Students can decorate their assigned rooms to feel comfortable, with basic rules established to facilitate coexistence and accommodate different backgrounds. Holidays and customs from different countries are acknowledged and/or celebrated. Students abilities are showcased and they are encouraged to participate in school activities as well as activities in town and in representing the school, always with the support of other students or teachers. It is heartwarming to see the photos of games, meets, and other activities in which students take part and see their friends and classmates cheering them on.
(5) School Location
Merrickville is a quaint little town with a friendly population and is easy to navigate. Merrick Preparatory School is located on Main Street, so students can go outside by themselves, when not in class or in school activities, and enjoy a leisurely stroll or shop for their necessities. This opportunity gives them a sense of independence in a safe environment and lets them be a part of the community.
The admission process was seamless. Mrs. Ziegler was helpful, knowledgeable, interested and eager to explain and anticipate all the steps needed to make to process easier for both parents and students. She, as well as the headmaster, was always available to answer any questions, from the mundane to the very intricate. If I could give any practical advice, it would be to embrace the process and ask any question, no matter how insignificant it seems, to make sure that when your child arrives at the school, they feel comfortable and ready to embrace life away from their immediate family and to thrive. The organized way in which they manage the process gives you a glimpse of what you may expect overall from the school.