REVIEW OF Blyth Academy The Glebe, Ottawa BY parent, Julie Henson
- Date of Review
January 23, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 9 - Gr. 11 (Male, Current Day Student)
(4.5) Student Experience
From the very start, my child has certainly noticed and appreciated the excellent teachers at Blyth Academy The Glebe, Ottawa. The teachers get to know the students and invest in their education. Since the lifting of pandemic restrictions, students at Blyth Academy have enjoyed more field trips and off-campus activities, which have really boosted their morale, heightened their interest in the subject matter being studied, and allowed students those key social interactions. The new campus in the Glebe also deserves special mention. It's a beautiful, bright space with plenty of natural light, modern facilities in the classrooms and comfortable lounge spaces for the students. There are two kitchens, private, fully accessible washrooms, lockers, and even a ping-pong table! It's really a stunning environment to learn in.
(5) School Leadership
Blyth Academy The Glebe, Ottawa's school leadership and administration is second to none. Principal Ms. Larose provides regular updates via email and occasionally posts on social media as well. She and her team are very responsive and very engaged in all aspects of the school. She has a very positive rapport with the students and knows them all by name. The Blyth Academy leadership team has been open to parents' and students' input and suggestions, which is also greatly appreciated.
The teachers at Blyth Academy The Glebe Ottawa are professional, dedicated and engaging. It's obvious to us that these people are truly passionate about what they teach and about teaching itself. We also appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity they invest in the assignments, especially the summative ISPs (independent study projects). It's been our experience that teachers are willing to provide additional support and time with the student when needed. As a Francophone, I was especially pleased that Blyth's French language teacher is truly French! She speaks impeccable French and she has gone above and beyond, even sharing anecdotes about life in France with her students. The mid-term parent-teacher meetings are always very informative. Plus, teachers do reach out if there's a concern. Blyth's teachers are generous with their time.
The smaller class sizes allow teachers the opportunity to really get to know each student and to understand the group dynamics. I've seen them adjust their approach accordingly, which ensures a tailor-made experience when delivering the curriculum. The Quadmester System has its merits but the faster pace can be challenging for some students, especially with the more complex concepts. The selection of courses has been quite good. I can't say that anything specific is missing, although it is obviously more limited than what can be offered at a large, public high school. The trade-off is in the quality of the teaching and the personal approach given. Edsby, the school's online communication tool, is excellent. In the end, Blyth Academy works to develop critical thinking, which I believe is key in today's world.
The pandemic made it impossible to have extracurricular activities the first two years of my child's time at Blyth (2020-21 and 2021-22) Since the lifting of restrictions, there have been more extracurricular activities for the students but in my opinion, there still isn't enough. Blyth doesn't have any sports teams and the few clubs that do exist aren't very active. I have shared this feedback with the school leadership and they have certainly kicked it up a notch since then. There's reason to believe more extracurriculars are coming!
Blyth Academy The Glebe, Ottawa is a relatively small school. If a parent or student is looking for smaller class sizes where students get more individual attention from their teachers, this school is absolutely an excellent choice. However, it is difficult to provide detailed comments about the student body because there aren't many opportunities for parents to interact with the students or see their work, etc. That said, at the start of the 2022-23 school year, students participated in an overnight, off-site camping excursion which seems to have been very well received, judging by the photos shared on the school's social media! I certainly think the students are all good kids and that there's a positive atmosphere on campus. My child feels safe at school.
(3.5) School Life
Overall, Blyth Academy The Glebe is an excellent school. However, I feel there could be more of a sense of community. The students all seem to be good kids but there aren't enough extracurricular activities, teams, clubs, or opportunities for them to develop strong bonds. Parents should also be given more opportunities to interact with the school, its staff, and one another. That said, at the start of the 2022-23 school year, students participated in an overnight, off-site camping excursion which seems to have been very well received, judging by the photos shared on the school's social media. Following Blyth Academy, The Glebe's Facebook account may be a good way for prospective students and parents to get a sense of what they can expect at the school.
It's been quite difficult to meet any of the other Blyth parents. The school attracts students from throughout Ottawa and even further afield, into Gatineau. As a result, there isn't much of a sense of community. This is even true for the students: they don't seem to socialize or hang out outside of school hours or off campus. The BBQ lunch held at the start of the school year was definitely a step in the right direction but more could have been done to foster introductions between parents and between students. I certainly feel that Blyth Academy could provide more opportunities for parents to get directly involved. Doing so would perhaps allow the school the additional resources needed to create and maintain more extracurricular activities.
(5) School Location
Blyth Academy The Gleb, Ottawa moved to its current Lansdowne Park location in September 2021. It's an amazing, dynamic location for a high school - close to parks, the Rideau Canal, interesting shops and restaurants of all kinds plus it's right next to a professional sports field. There are also municipal event spaces at Lansdowne so students can easily access local events held there.
We explored multiple private schools before deciding on Blyth Academy Ottawa. In comparison to the other schools we visited and met with, Blyth's process was a relatively simple one. The meeting with the principal and the subsequent interview with our son were both good experiences. I don't recall whether or not there was an admission exam - I don't think so. Frankly, given the intense, 3+ hour exam required by another private school in Ottawa, this was a huge relief for all of us! During that first meeting with the principal, a couple of students popped by her office to say hello, share some news, etc... This gave us a sense of the rapport that existed between the principal and her students. It should be noted that all of this happened in the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic was starting so the process may have been altered.