REVIEW OF Aurora Preparatory Academy BY parent, Meave Mastracci
- Date of Review
December 10, 2018
Gr. 4 - 5
(5) Student Experience
Making the decision to switch my eldest to APA was literally one of the best decisions we have ever made. He is flourishing there and encouraged to be himself. He feels a sense of safety and belonging, and I feel like he is able to “be” a kid again. He looks forward to school and feels optimistic and empowered about his potential and his future. He (and we) feel that he is respected and understood as an individual and not just one part of a whole. He is able to express his thoughts, opinions and ideas about things without worry of judgement or "not fitting in". Everyone gets to be who they are meant to be at APA. There have been no disappointments thus far. What do I feel my son likes best? That's a difficult question to answer... I feel that he is very proud to attend APA - this is something they foster in all their students, and something I have never experienced anywhere before. We are new to the private school system as of April 2018.
(5) School Leadership
Nothing is swept under the carpet at APA - the students and the staff all have a voice that is respectfully heard and then addressed immediately and fairly. The staff and administration live by the same principles expected of the students. Expectations are clear and consistent. There are no exceptions and all of the students (my son included) seem to love the simplicity of being completely aware of the rules & what is not acceptable. It's been incredibly refreshing to implement some of these disciplines at home!
The teachers take the time to understand each student, rather than trying to fit them all into the same box. They help, support, teach, guide and encourage the students to go beyond what is expected of them. The communication between parent & teacher is second to none. Some strategies were suggested to us by my son's tutor and as well his paediatrician - after one email, these strategies were being implemented and the positive results have continued to be communicated with us at home, by our son, and by the teacher(s). The report cards are unlike anything we've ever received through the Catholic or Public school boards. The students receive a grade for their effort as well as a grade for their work as a finished product. In addition to this, the comments are written in such a way that it's appropriate for both parent & student to review together - clearly outlining what they are great at, and where they may need to spend some extra effort, all in a very positive and encouraging way.
The academics are so relevant and well-applied. The kids know why they are learning something and are using this knowledge to relate to and understand real-life situations. My son's confidence in himself and his abilities has completely turned around and I am beyond grateful for that. APA has INSPIRED my son to learn outside of school, on his own time. He has cultivated a very clear vision for his future and is already taking steps to better himself (in knowledge & experience) so that he can be & do what it is he feels he is meant to do with his life. The students are constantly introduced to new and relevant topics and concepts. I absolutely love having conversations with him about real world and real-life problems or events and hearing his perspective and thoughts on things. His confidence has grown so much in the short time that we've been at APA.
The after-school programs (Clubs), sports teams, community breakfasts and education awards are enjoyed by so many. It’s wonderful for the kids to have options after school and to continue to socialize in different groups outside of their classrooms. Each term there are new options offered to the students and the staff are outstanding at facilitating these clubs and teams. You can see the bond between the students & teachers, and that it goes well beyond the classroom. There is a very mutual respect and appreciation between them. I would even go so far as to say a friendship, because they are spending time with each other wearing different hats and getting to be themselves outside of classroom hours.
I love that the students are empowered to take on leadership roles in any situation. Whether it’s helping a younger student or a fellow classmate, taking initiative on something like cleaning up, or just being a decent person on a daily basis. APA is not a huge school, but the relationships & bonds between students of all ages is very clear. Segregation is not a word that comes to mind when walking through the halls of APA. *at our previous school, segregation was a form of maintaining order, and it had many negative repurcussions for the students. There are many situations and events where age/classroom are not a factor and students enjoy the opportunity to share in different responsibilities and experiences. This has fostered many wonderful traits in my son that we welcome and encourage at home as well.
(5) School Life
My son loves Aurora Preparatory Academy. He is proud to wear his uniform and holds himself to a higher standard. It makes me so happy and proud to witness and support this. He enjoys dressing in the morning, always making sure to tuck his shirt in, as that's what is expected. I wasn't sure if the novelty of the uniform would wear off, but it has made all of our lives easier. He never dreads going to school anymore, but rather, looks forward to what each day will bring, and what kind of a difference he can make. I have no feedback whatsoever or how they could improve - we have honestly been so thrilled with the experience and the results. It's quite literally one of the best decisions we have ever made, and worth every penny.
We are newer to the school and I have had little interaction with the parent community. The few parents I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to have been lovely people who brought their children to APA for similar reasons and we instantly connected as a result. APA regularly hosts a breakfast and character in education assembly that we enjoy going to as it gives us the opportunity to meet other parents and get to know more of the community. There are many wonderful parents who volunteer regularly with the school, as well as parents who attend sports events, etc. I don't feel that APA is missing anything - the opportunities they provide for parental involvement & interaction are ample. Although much of the APA community is made up of higher-income families, there is little evidence of this amongst the students in terms of differentiating from one another. They all dress the same. They all follow the same rules. They're all encouraged to do their best.
(5) School Location
The school is very conveniently located for us. I have no concerns about any of the surrounding businesses or organizations. The kids are safe and happy. In the warmer months, they walk to the pool for weekly swimming and also regularly make their way (on foot) to the local library. Students never leave school grounds unless permitted and accompanied by staff. I feel 100% certain that my child is safe & well looked after when he is at school.