REVIEW OF Académie Westboro Academy BY parent, Rob S
- Date of Review
November 02, 2021
Gr. JK - 4
(4.5) Student Experience
Our son had a great experience at Westboro Academy attending from junior kindergarten through grade 4. The teachers were all wonderful and his French proficiency was fantastic by the time he left. Being a small school with one class per grade level led to a strong community feel and all kids and teachers across the school had the opportunity to get to know each other. With a recent change of facilities the school now has plenty of space including large classrooms, a gym and access to park and field space. Junior and Senior Kindergarten years were conducted wholly in French and subsequent years were half French and half English using a mix of Quebec and Ontario curricula. The academic program is extremely strong and students who move on at any level can expect to be well-positioned for success at any subsequent school.
(4.5) School Leadership
School leadership and administration have been very effective. The community experience is fostered by all of the administration and the small environment allows for any direct communication that is desired. Communication is open and frequent with a weekly newsletter provided to all parents. The small size also allows for easy communication with all teachers which is encouraged by the administration. Like the teachers, the administration gets to know all of the students in the school and engages with them regularly in a positive way.
Teachers make a school. This is especially true at Westboro Academy where the teachers are the center of the community. Our son had uniformly excellent, caring and involved teachers every year that he was there. From the amazing Mme Janick in junior kindergarten through to the end of grade 4 he enjoyed them all and learned so much. The teachers know every student in the school so it is not only the grade level teachers who are involved in the lives of the students. This is an important aspect of the community feeling of Westboro Academy. Great teachers in small classes certainly allow each child to receive the attention, challenges and support that they need and can handle. The academic program was tailored to the different levels of ability in each class. The quality of teaching would be at the top of my list of reasons to consider and choose Westboro Academy.
Westboro Academy has a well-earned reputation as an extremely strong academic school. When considering the school as an option prior to enrolling in junior kindergarten the academic strength was observed by many, both current and past students as a key feature. It could also be a concern for those students not as academically inclined as others. Universally those I know who have left the school either after graduating grade 8 or in an earlier grade have found that they are very well prepared for their next school environment. This is particularly true in French where those attending anything other than a French school find that they are well beyond the level of their new classmates following their time at Westboro Academy. The volume of work, especially in the older grades can be significant at times. This seems to be well received by most parents and again prepares the students for any environment they move on to very well.
Due to the small size of the school, the extracurricular activities are naturally lesser than a larger school. Considering the size of the school, the opportunities are adequate. This is also a difficult question in the current pandemic environment which makes such activities more difficult to manage. If extracurricular activities are important I would encourage you to investigate this area further before making your decision.
Westboro Academy offered a somewhat unique experience for the student body in that students at all grade levels have breaks together at times they are outside. Obviously, this has not been the case under pandemic requirements, but once those requirements are at an end I assume this will return. It was always nice to see kids of all ages from junior kindergarten to grade 8 mixing in the schoolyard. There is a student government across grades that allows students to have a voice starting in grade 4. There is certainly plenty of school spirit always in evidence at inter-school events though these have been on hold. The student body seemed to be a fairly diverse group in my experience as well reflecting a similar makeup to the city.
(4.5) School Life
Student life at Westboro Academy appears to be very good. From the community feeling brought by all students being together at recess and lunch breaks, as well as being known by all of the teachers, along with the small size of the student population it seems that it would feel like a very safe and happy place to be. My son certainly enjoyed his time there and felt like a part of a larger community during his six years in attendance. He still misses many aspects of life at Westboro Academy. Parents are also made to feel part of the community and are able to be a part of the scene before and after school in the schoolyard once pandemic restrictions no longer apply.
Parents are made to feel part of the community and are able to be a part of the scene before and after school in the schoolyard once pandemic restrictions no longer apply. The school is managed by a board of directors made up of parents and there is always room for participation in this way and/or on committees of the board. The school will need to develop fundraising capacity to plan ahead for its next location (15 or so years in the future) so there will be a need for parent participation in this way. Parents also volunteer to assist in various events put on by the school such as Christmas and end-of-year shows, the Beginning of the year barbeque, etc. In addition parent volunteers are needed for various field trips that are enjoyed by the students through the year. All of these should return after pandemic restrictions are lifted.
(4) School Location
Westboro Academy is somewhat of an island in its community with the exception of the city park immediately beside the school. Most students commute to the school by car, though it is possible for older students to commute by transit, bicycle or in rare cases on foot. The neighbourhood is isolated and quiet so there is little traffic in the immediate environment of the school other than the parents themselves or student traffic for a neighbouring public school. The school is centrally located allowing for convenient travel from many parts of Ottawa.