REVIEW OF Académie Westboro Academy BY parent, Honorata Bittner
- Date of Review
November 02, 2021
Gr. JK - 7
(5) Student Experience
I have two children at Westboro Academy that have been there since JK. The school offers a very welcoming and supportive environment that is inclusive and tailored to children's needs. My children appreciate the culture of compassion and acceptance that the school offers, the small class sizes allow for meaningful child/teacher interactions, the overall structure of the program in a bilingual approach allows the children to be fluent and confident in both official languages. in addition to the culture, environment and academic approach, the new school location offers spacious classrooms with many in-class tools, the access to the adjacent park also allows for good outdoor experiences for all the children. In summary, my children appreciate the culture of compassion and inclusiveness, the academic approach and the state-of-the-art learning environment.
(4.5) School Leadership
The leadership at Westboro academy has always been very proactive in addressing any concerns, whether from students, staff members or parents that are brought forward. The school's values of excellence, integrity and respect are at the core of problem-solving at the school. The communication channels between the school leadership and parents are well organized and have always been very responsive to concerns or complaints raised. In summary, I believe what stands out about the leadership of the school is its commitment to an inclusive and welcoming school environment for every child that fosters a community feel for the parents, staff members and parents alike.
The quality of teaching at Westboro Academy is exceptional. The teachers and specialty staff are passionate, committed and extremely engaged in the children's academic success. They bring forward a varied approach to their teaching and adapt their techniques to the kids' unique needs. I have found the curriculum both in French and English to be extremely well delivered and if children are more advanced in their learning they are offered additional opportunities to enhance their knowledge. There is a good mix between group learning and individual learning approaches. The teachers are knowledgeable about their subjects and offer support if needed in class or outside of regular teaching hours. In addition, the specialty teachers in art, music, drama, physical education and science bring a very diversified approach to their disciplines that provides children with great opportunities for hands-on experiences.
The academic program at Westboro Academy offers both the Ontario and Quebec curriculum simultaneously each day, half a day is spent in French and the other half in English. I think this allows students to be truly bilingual at the end of their experience at the school. It also allows them to feel comfortable working in both official languages and to switch between them easily. The curriculum is definitely enriched through additional classwork, homework as well as specific projects such as the science fair or the heritage fair. In the later grades, children are prepared for high school by such things as time management. There is homework given to children in each grade and those are adequate in terms of time commitment and there is flexibility in how children go about doing them. I would say that the academics at Westboro Academy are extremely strong and one of the major assets this school has to offer.
Westboro Academy offers some extracurricular opportunities both during school time through things like field trips to museums, art shows, parks, etc., and also after school through programs such as martial arts, choir, etc. The school definitely provides the right environment to develop well-rounded children by emphasizing the academic but also community and cultural aspects of learning. Although the opportunities to participate in sporting events with other private schools are limited given the fact that there are not that many private schools in the Ottawa area, whenever an opportunity arises, Westboro Academy makes it an effort to have children participate. The before and after school programs also provide opportunities for extracurricular activities and games that reinforce the camaraderie among the students across the various levels.
Westboro Academy is a small school that has a community feeling to it. Students know each other well not only in their respective grades but also across grades. Often older students help younger ones when they play outside or need help with anything. There is a culture of collaboration, collegiality and kindship among the student body as well as a spirit of leadership that is instilled from a young age. Every grade participates fully in the school activities and assemblies. The house color program also allows for friendly competition among the four houses that include students from all grades to achieve the most reward points throughout the year and earn the house cup at school end. Overall, I would say that the students get along well and if there are any issues that arise they are managed quickly and effectively.
(5) School Life
Both my children love going to school every day because they feel welcomed, supported and engaged in their academic work. They also love the school because of the tight friendship they developed over the years and the continuity of those friendships given that many families remain at Westboro Academy for many years. Given the relatively small number of students and staff members, everyone knows everyone which offers a level of comfort to the children that they can reach out to any of the teachers if they have a challenge or problem. The school also encourages older children to engage and help smaller kids, which allows for friendships to occur between grades and offers the opportunity for smaller kids to reach out to older ones if they have a problem or need some help. Overall, the school life at Westboro Academy is very positive and my children are happy to go to school every day.
I have been involved in the parent community at Westboro Academy for the past eight years and have developed great friendships with other parents either through the social events that the school organizes or through informal opportunities while dropping off or picking up the kids at school. Parents are very welcome to be involved in school life either through participation in school trips, helping in the classroom by sharing their knowledge or expertise in a particular field that the students may be studying at the time or through the many parent volunteer committees that exist. I have been the co-chair of the yearbook committee for 8 years and that has given me a great opportunity to attend a number of school events to take photos and also see the contributions that parents give to the school in various forms. The school leadership and staff members are very welcoming and embrace parent participation. This school culture gives it a feel of a small community where everyone can participate and contribute.
(4) School Location
The new location for the school provides more indoor space for not only classrooms but also specialty classes such as art, science and gym. The school also has access to the city of Ottawa park that is adjacent to additional outdoor space. The location is not close to other amenities but it does offer adequate indoor and outdoor spaces to meet the children's needs.