REVIEW OF Calgary French & International School BY parent, Jimmy Porter
- Date of Review
September 11, 2018
Gr. 4 - Gr. 5
(5) Student Experience
Our daughter absolutely loves CFIS. She feels a strong community connection with supportive teachers and positive behaviour from the students. The teachers are kind and helpful, and foster a balanced approach to working out conflict. The curriculum format is interesting and challenging, and allows for creative minds and engaged participation. To date we have received no negative feedback from our daughter, and she loves all aspects of the school. Furthermore, the school facilities are clean and well maintained, and foster an environment of safety, security, and care. One thing that stands out to me is the attentiveness of the faculty. During school drop off or pick up, school leadership is always present greeting the families and children, and many times recognizing them by name. Very impressive.
(5) School Leadership
There have been two specific examples come to mind that in my opinion, could not have been handled better. First, my daughter suffers from hyperactivity and has been evaluated on the ADHD spectrum. School leadership was very attentive and scheduled an hour meeting with my wife and I, the principal, and both her English and French teachers, to discuss strategies to help our daughter be successful. During the school year we witnessed the leadership engage our daughter to rectify a conflict between 4 children in her class. All of the individuals were treated with respect and their viewpoints considered, resulting in a balanced approach to conflict resolution.
We have been blown away by the care and attention demonstrated by the teaching staff at CFIS. The format of specialist teaching is recognized as an excellent way to ensure each subject is taught to the highest level possible. Our daughter has teachers for all of the following: Homeroom, French, Art, Phys ed, and Music. This allows for teachers that are passionate subject matter experts in their field of choice, and not simply a body to fill a spot and teach a scripted curriculum. Our daughter had some struggles early on in her first year of grade 4, and the support from her teacher was fantastic. Specifically, timely and consistent communication and expectation setting helped us with piece of mind that the teacher was actually committed and engaged in our daughters success. She ended up the year exceeding expectations, and likely from the support recieved.
We feel that CFIS goes above and beyond the basic curriculum specified for each grade year, and does so in a way that fosters student accountability and independence, preparing them for what lies ahead. We have not identified any weaknesses as of yet, but the school eschews an atmosphere of positivity and professionalism. The use of emerging technology and the continual modernization of facilities is evident, and there is a demonstration of continued improvement in all areas. We have two children at CFIS, one in grade 5 and another in grade 1, and we have been very impressed with how the teachers communicate the objectives for the year, setting expectations and helping the parents understand the focus point of learning. We have no doubt our children will be set up to succeed in post secondary education following their time at CFIS.
The extracurriculars are definitely one area that is important for us, and one we feel CFIS supports well. There is a strong sense of community and school spirit that shines through in the extracurricular program. We feel our children will have all of the options they will need to engage in a sporting or cultural endeavour, and this will help to provide a broad approach to not only learning, but character development.
Right from the beginning of our first experience with CFIS, we have taken notice of the welcoming and positive atmosphere of the the students. Our children were sold on CFIS immediately following their introductory visit, and the friendliness of the students was one of the noticeable factors. Although grade school children will certainly experience social conflict and struggle, the way the school manages interactions fosters an approach of respect and a seek to understand mindset. We have no concerns of bullying or shaming, and feel that CFIS takes a very proactive and considered approach to this behaviour, typical of grade school students. Everyone seems to be happy to be at the school, and they seem to demonstrate respect and consideration. This cannot be underestimated, and is instrumental to inclusiveness for all children at the school.
(5) School Life
In our experience, having the kids in CFIS is not simply "sending" them to school, but rather immersing our family in a community environment that fosters learning and whole child growth. We have developed a fond appreciation for the teachers, parents, and children of the school. There are always opportunities to volunteer and be a part of the activities both in and after school. Our children love the school because of the culture of the individuals that work and attend. There are main factors of the school life that foster value of self. Our students get the opportunity to develop their independence and learning in a safe and comfortable environment. The school uniforms, class structure with group tables, whole school involvement in musicals and plays, group eating in the cafeteria, all help with the community sprit.
There are more than ample opportunities for parents to partake in the community spirit at CFIS. Class reps, class field trip volunteering, extracurricular volunteering, events such as welcome back bbq's and Halloween parties all foster the community feel. At the same time, there is no pressure to be involved, and parents can tailor their involvement based on their commitments. Further, the school administration all make an effort to involve and welcome parents, and it is greatly appreciated. With all of the group communication that goes out, parents are kept well informed of school happenings and always given the opportunity to provide feedback. In our first year of having our kids at CFIS, we developed many friendships and had a great time as a family, and feel as if we "all" attend the school!
(5) School Location
The school is ideally located and easy to get to. The school grounds are fenced off and supervised, which gives parents piece of mind that their children are in a safe, secure environment, while allowing them the independence to roam. The location of the school is well placed, as there are a great deal of amenities close by, which helps for parents during times of drop off and pick up. The ONLY issue we have had with the school is the available parking and the congestion it causes, but they have committed to rectifying this situation with addition parking with the development of another lot in summer of 2019.