Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Académie Westboro Academy (2021)
Académie Westboro Academy alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Leslie, Rafael had to say about the school.
- 4:35 - What did you appreciate the most about the school during your time here? And how has your perspective on it changed that you've had some distance from the school?
- 5:45 - What you think makes us different from other schools?
- 7:01 - Why did you originally choose the school? In what ways was it the school that you expected?
- Show Full Video Contents
Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Leslie — current parent
Leslie’s son has attended Westboro Academy since JK and her daughter, Megan, joined in Grade 1. Leslie believes that Westboro Academy is a great bilingual school and she enjoys Westboro's small community atmosphere. She describes Westboro as respectful and well-rounded.
- “Well, we came from Montreal, so we were looking for a bilingual school and we thought they would be all over Ottawa. But we actually had a hard time [finding a] true bilingual school. So that's initially what led us to Westboro. And then we were just taken with the small community atmosphere and the positive vibes that we got from the school.”
- “[The school experience] was different because it was better than what we were hoping for and expecting. My kids just had such a great experience at the school. The one concern we did have when we were signing up was that we didn't know if the school would be too small and that they would be lacking in some of the social activities. But it turned out to be the opposite. My kids have become close friends with everyone in their class, and they still keep in touch with kids who have graduated and moved on, which is really wonderful.”
- “The teachers are, of course, outstanding. And I can say that now, after having gone through COVID and with the online classes, we heard the teachers coming through in our homes and I always knew the kids had a positive experience, but I was just blown away with how the teachers were interacting with the kids, what they were teaching them, and the resources they were using. So I just couldn't have been more impressed. And it shows how much the kids love the school and their teachers.”
- “I think [at Westboro academy] everyone is really down to earth and it places a high value on education. Every family there is really devoted to their kids and to their education. So there's a lot of involvement from the parents. The kids really get along and look forward to being together, [and that applies to] the parents as well. It's just such a welcoming and positive environment.”
- “I think it's a very kind, respectful, and positive school. So that would be some words that I would use to describe it. You can tell right away when you walk into the school yard, or in the old days in the school before COVID, everyone was just so positive and it was warm and welcoming. And we advertise it as being a community atmosphere. Everyone is just so lovely, so positive, respectful and confident.”
- “The kids come out of there very confident, ambitious. You know, it's a lot of learning given that we follow both the Quebec and Ontario curriculum, so I would say that's ambitious but attainable.”
- “The kids have a love of learning, and I think that is all attributed to the school and the teachers. They've just had such a wonderful experience that they love learning. We're very happy. You know, it's nothing better than having a kid come home at the end of the day, and having the two kids competing in the car because they both want to share the exciting things that happened that day and their stories. My daughter keeps talking about how she wants to be a teacher when she grows up because she wants to be just like her Grade 1 and Grade 2 teacher.”
- “Both of [my children] started right from JK. And my son is in Grade 8 now, and he loves it. But in the meantime, we had a bilingual public school open in our area. And we had the discussion about whether we'd like to save a lot of money and have our daughter attend that school, and the discussion lasted all of two minutes because we said we just have to offer the same amazing opportunities that we did for our son. And we haven't looked back. And French has been a really nice surprise. My daughter really loves it.”
- “When I told Sarah the other night that it was bedtime and she said, “Can't we have a story?” And I said, “I'm sorry, it's too late.” She said, well, how about if I tell you a story in French? So she made up a French story for me. I thought that was really amazing because she came in [to school] with no French [knowledge] at all. She was expressing this beautiful little story, and I happened to tell her French teacher about it, and when I told her about the story, she was all excited because it was things that they had touched on in class. So I thought that was really nice.”
- “We didn't look into the public school because our discussion was very short-lived. We just have had so many wonderful experiences at Westboro, and my son just thrived in that environment. And we really wanted to just give our daughter the same opportunity and no regrets. And I'll just add that it was really special to be able to listen to the teachers encouraging the kids. My daughter was learning to read last year, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job sitting down and reading with her until I heard the experts leading her through a reading activity. And I was picking up pointers from them because they really have a special way with the kids and the kids really respond to it.”
- “We were having a hard time finding a high school that lives up to Westboro. On the other hand, we do have options because I never thought I would be saying this, but we are considering French schools for him as well. So there's really a whole array of options that we have access to: the IB programs, French programs, sports programs, as well as on the English side. So we have our full choice. We really want Westboro to continue to Grade 12. It is nice to have those options.”
- “I think the kids at Westboro are very well-rounded. They participate in a lot of athletics, a lot of extracurricular [activities], and they still place an emphasis on learning. And I really think it's a good balance. And the teachers adapt to the interests of the kids. I remember, I think it was in Grade 5 or 6, a whole math presentation was done around sports with Mr. Brain and the kids just loved it. So the teachers really listen to the kids as well and adapt to COVID or to the needs of the kids as well.”
- “The kids do love learning and at Westboro it's cool to be smart, and that's really respected among the kids that, you know, they want to do well on their tests and they want to improve themselves. And you really see that in a lot of the kids, which I think is really unique because the kids are so well-rounded as well. They're good kids with a lot of interests and they put their heart and soul into whatever they do, whether it's sports, art, or an instrument. And they’re so kind. We have a really special group. I think I've said this before, but just the positive energy and the kindness in the community is really unique.”
- “[Westboro Academy] was [my children’s] first exposure [to French language]. My daughter heard a little bit of French in the house because we were trying to prepare her. My son knew nothing. He knew how to say hello in French when he started, but he was a little reluctant and a little shy in JK and SK. But by Grade 1 he had his confidence and he was ready to go. And my daughter heard him practicing homework and saying some French words, so we tried to point out the different words in French, but they essentially had none when they came in. And it's just amazing to see them go from nothing, and then picking them up at the end of the day and hearing their teacher speak French to them. And I was astonished to see my daughter nodding away and getting her backpack like she was told. They just picked it up so quickly. And they're happy to be learning French because of the teachers.”
- “The new [school] facility is just fantastic. My daughter still talks about how … it's so big. The one complaint from Meg is that the swing set didn't make the cut.”
Rafael — alum
Rafael attended Westboro Academy from SK to Grade 8 and he is now a recent graduate. He enjoyed the small classroom sizes, teachers, and leadership opportunities. Rafael is grateful for the Academy to help him prepare well for high school.
- “My favorite thing was Westboro’s pride in the community. It was small, but at the same time I knew everyone and I knew how I felt. And the teachers were very open and [if] I had problems, I could talk to them. And I had really good friends, I knew most everyone in my class and there was no one I disliked. I was friends with everyone. And also, really, [I appreciated] the opportunities I had, like the leadership opportunities or even a lot of values that the teachers taught me while I was at the school. When the teacher was not available, we had to be independent to try to figure it out on our own. And that helped a lot.”
- “Now I go to the public school that's way bigger. [Back at Westboro] I really appreciated the [small] classroom [sizes] and the teachers, which were incredibly better. And for sure the help I got was a lot better. And they really got me ready for high school, so now in high school, obviously, teachers aren't as good but I'm more independent. I'm able to do stuff on my own now, which is really good.”
- “I went to [Westboro] school in SK, and when I got there I barely knew any English and everyone in my class was English, so I had to learn mostly English. And it was kind of hard, but the teachers helped me a lot, and I integrated with all the people there and I learned English. And now I'm pretty good at English, I believe.”
- “And so half the day was English and the other half was French. And we had English class and French class. And then we also had history in French, but science was in English. We split everything in half. So it's truly bilingual. And that helped me a lot because now I know how to speak French, but I can speak English [as well] and it elevated my English a lot.”
- “I love my school. It helped me a lot and it developed me as a person, who I am. Honestly, there is nothing I regret about Westboro, I really liked everything and it helped me a lot.”
- “In Grade 8, we had a high school prep class, which got us ready for high school, so I knew what classes I was interested in and I was already prepared. So when I joined the first day of high school, I was open to senior people. I was ready for all the new stuff.”
- “I felt like I could be pretty good with any high school. So I went to a French high school and there's a bit of English there, but not as good as it was in Westboro Academy. And my French is probably worse than it was in the Westboro Academy, which is surprising because it’s a French school.”
- “[When I was looking for a school after graduating from Westboro Academy], I was looking for special programs that would be a bit more advanced and I felt ready for that. And there were a couple of schools where I took the test and I [passed it], so that I could decide which way I wanted to go. And I felt quite ready when I did the tests and I was accepted into the program. And some of the students didn't do any tests for special programs and they also went to good schools and were happy. I'm pretty sure most of my friends were happy with the schools.”
- “I know that [my friend] Nicholas, when he started [in Westboro Academy], he barely knew English, and now he's in university [majoring] in English, which is surprising. And I had a friend a couple of years ago who didn't know French and now he knows it really well, which is surprising.”
- “My best memories [at school] were when we went to Nicaragua [as an educational trip] as a Grade 7 class … with two teachers and a suitable man, Jannik. And it was exceptional. And we learned about how lucky we are to be in Canada and for all the amazing things we have here. It was truly remarkable. And I still remember and think about the stuff we did there.”
- “[I think most families would be surprised by] the community and how open Westboro is. Everyone's equal and it's amazing to just help everyone. We also have quite a lot of leadership opportunities, like we have head boy and head girl, where it's like a couple of students are chosen to be captains or leaders for the school. And there are class reps where one student per grade is elected. They have speeches and they're elected to represent the class and so they can bring up any problems with the students. And they always have meetings, like everyone discusses the things about school that kids can change, which I liked a lot.”
- “At the school we have four houses that all the kids are separated into. There's Harry Potter, Monkeys, Maple Leaf, and Bluenose. And there's a captain and vice captain, usually who are getting elected and pretty much represent the whole group. And when kids do good things like random acts of kindness or just getting ready for class, when they're listening, or paying attention, they can get little tokens. And at the end of every week or two the tokens are counted up, and at the end of the year whichever group has the most tokens wins and gets the big cup with the name written on them. And it's very exciting.”
- “When we switch classes, usually in the middle of the day, we have to speak [different] language, which is not bad because it has helped us a lot just to keep our language and to keep evolving it. So it's really good. The teachers always speak the same language. So depending on the class, when we have French class, we always speak French no matter what.”