REVIEW OF Académie Westboro Academy BY parent, Bianca O'Shea
- Date of Review
August 28, 2023
- Child 1
JK - SK (Male, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
SK - Gr. 1 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
I have 2 children at Westboro Academy currently in SK and Grade 1. Both of my children have had nothing but positive experiences at Westboro Academy. I would say that the number one thing that my kids appreciate is how well their teachers know them. With the classes being small it is easy for the teachers to build a relationship with every single one of their students and tailor to each of the children’s needs. They have also developed very close relationships with their classmates. This is because there is only one class per grade, so the kids stay with the same kids right up until grade 8. They get to know each other very well. And with this, I have noticed that there is a lot of encouragement within the class. Students are quick to help other students. They genuinely want each other to do their best and be their best.
(5) School Leadership
The administration at Westboro Academy is top notch. What stands out most about the administration is they are very welcoming and personable. From speaking to the staff at the front desk, the Head of School, or the Director of Academics, they make you feel good. The leadership at Westboro is proactive and any concerns from students, staff, and/or parents are immediately addressed. It is common for either the Head of School or Director of Academics to be outside greeting kids during drop off and pick up. This allows them to be available to parents before and after school. If this time is not sufficient, they are happy to meet at a time that works for the parents’ schedule. I cannot say enough about how they foster a positive school environment. Westboro has a very inclusive and welcoming school environment, and the leadership reflects this. They lead by example, and it shows in the kids. The communication with the students is highly effective. Because it is a small school the staff knows all the students, and the same applies to communication with parents. Any comments or concerns are addressed quickly and appropriately.
The teachers are world-class. They enjoy coming to work every day. They take time to build relationships with every one of their students. They get to know their strengths and areas for improvement and tailor them to the students. There is a good mix of independent work as well as group work. For example, my son in grade 1 has a reading buddy in grade 3. They meet once a week and typically work on an activity book together. This allows the younger kids to gain confidence from the encouragement they receive from their older peers. Even though the kids are learning both the Quebec and Ontario curriculum the teaching staff are well equipped to deliver these curriculums in a fun and meaningful way. Not only do you have the support of the teachers, but the students also have access to resource teachers in both French and English depending on whether the students need more challenges or more support. It’s also important to applaud the specialty teachers at Westboro. They include music, art, physical education, and science and they allow the kids to be more hands-on in their respective disciplines which provides kids greater opportunity to learn.
The academic program at Westboro Academy offers both the Quebec curriculum and the Ontario curriculum. This enables Westboro to be a truly bilingual school. Every day the kids receive half their courses in French and English. I remember speaking to the Director of Admissions and I asked her what makes Westboro different than my child going into French immersion school. She told me that not only is French spoken in class but it is also part of their school community. They encourage the kids to speak French in the hallways or at recess. When they want to speak to a teacher, they are encouraged to do it in French. When they have guest speakers they are often in French or both English and French so the students are exposed as much as possible. I believe this is what allows the kids to be truly bilingual and able to switch between languages with ease. In the older grades students are prepared for high school through independent projects and time management.
Before and after-school care is available at Westboro Academy. PD day camps are also affiliated with before and after care and these trips are typically off campus at museums or indoor playgrounds for example. Westboro is also affiliated with local extracurricular activities such as piano lessons and karate which can both be taken immediately after school. Westboro Academy arranges that every class either participates in a field trip or receives a guest presentation each month. Some examples of field trips would be a fire station, Parc Omega, or the Museum of Science and Technology. Westboro Academy belongs to the Ottawa Independent Schools Athletic Association. Through this group, the students and their teams compete with other independent schools from across the city. In the past, they have competed in soccer, basketball, and cross-country running. Westboro Academy also has a junior and senior choir. There is also a concert band that meets twice a week. Westboro believes that it's important to become engaged in a wide variety of experiences. I believe that students have a wonderful opportunity to engage in the extracurriculars that Westboro offers.
One of the main reasons we decided on Westboro was the small class sizes. Once we started it was so much more. We could not believe the student community. The older students did everything to help the younger students. It is very much a family atmosphere. Because the school is so small the kids get to know each other. I will never forget the Terry Fox run that the school/student council organized. We went to the large soccer field behind our school and the students ran for an hour. With my son being 4 years old at the time, he was quickly swooped up by a student in grade 8 who helped him the rest of the way. My son was so excited that an older student was willing to stay with him, so he didn’t feel left behind. Another example is when a younger student gets hurt in the playground. Often they are accompanied by an older student who walks them to the office and gets cleaned up. These students are not asked to accompany the smaller child, but they choose to do it. I am happy to know that every day not only are my kids well taken care of by the teachers, but the students will also take care of each other.
(5) School Life
Student life at Westboro Academy is phenomenal. My kids wake up every morning excited to go to school. At Westboro, we have a 30-minute window to drop the kids off in the morning. My kids ask me every day if we can be at school early so, they have the full 30 minutes to play with their friends! My children love going to school there because of the community feel that Westboro has. I think it's important to understand that Westboro is not only a place for learning for these kids, but it is also a place where a community and relationships are built. Westboro's core values are Excellence, Integrity, and Respect and it is clear that they live by these values every day. I think it's important to understand that not only do these students receive a world-class education, but they are also taught to be well-rounded individuals.
What really stands out for me is how tight-knit the whole school community is for both students and parents. Parents are always welcome to be involved in volunteering for class, field trips or just helping wherever there is a need. It is also very common for parents with a specialty to come in and teach the respective class about their specialty. I have been at the school for 2 years and I have developed relationships with many parents through volunteering or simply chatting at drop-off and pick-up. The parent community is very inclusive and welcoming just like the school community. Westboro Academy has a very welcoming feel, and this allows parents to participate as much or as little as they are comfortable with.
(5) School Location
I think that the school is in an ideal location. It's central to Ottawa which allows an easier commute by the parents. There is a play yard in the back of the school that the kids can enjoy at recess. What's also great about the location is we back onto a large soccer field that we can access throughout the day whether it's in gym class, science class, or just an area to enjoy with your class. There are also numerous bike paths located around the school (I often see grade 7 and 8s biking to school once the weather warms up).