REVIEW OF Cambridge International Academy BY Alum, Julie Indrigo
- Date of Review
November 24, 2021
Gr. 9 - 12
(4) Overall Experience
My experience at Cambridge International Academy was eye-opening because not only did I do school works but I had gone to terrific school trips and got to meet new people. I liked the teachers and how they understood my academic needs and interest. They always listened to my ideas and encouraged me to take more risks in class. Cambridge International Academy prepared me well for post-secondary education. I feel that the teachers at Cambridge spoke a lot about time management and organizational skills which would help when studying at a post-secondary institution. They provided opportunities for me to perfect these skills so that I would not feel overwhelmed with my studies after I graduated high school. I also thought the reflections after each unit helped me to better understand my strengths and challenges as a student and what I needed to do to learn more effectively.
(4.5) School Leadership
I think the leadership and administration at Cambridge International Academy is terrific. The administrative team is always very helpful, friendly, and listens to the student body. When there are issues, the administrative team handles them immediately. I also think the communication is very good. My parents always knew what was occurring in the classrooms. If my parents wanted to speak to a teacher or an administrative staff, the team at Cambridge would always accommodate my parents' busy schedules. The school environment is welcoming making everyone feel safe and just happy to be there.
The teaching at Cambridge International Academy is stellar. All my teachers were passionate and knowledgeable in their respective subjects. They have a way to explain a concept in different ways to help students understand. The teachers are very patient with the students and very encouraging as well. They don't accept when a student says, I can't do this, or I'm not smart enough. They go out of their way to help students learn and change their attitude about learning. Teachers also encourage students to take on challenges. I initially was afraid to do that but because the teachers were so friendly and I trusted them, I was able to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes. I realized that mistakes are just part of the learning process and not something to be afraid of. The teachers certainly had a positive impact on my academic and personal development. Today, I still visit the school and have contact with my former teachers. It is amazing!
The academic strengths are the different streams offered at the school to appeal to different learners. I enjoyed the cooperative program and completed two courses. The teachers always supported my learning and always made time for me if I needed additional time with some challenging courses. Most of the students were interested to learn and be ready for post-secondary education. Some students would even get together for a study group especially prior to major tests. The study groups helped all of us and it was a great way to get to know more about our classmates. The academics set me up for success especially the cooperative programs since I got to do two placements in preschool. This experience helped me to relate to some of the courses I am taking in post-secondary education.
There were many extracurricular activities and clubs to join after school. The different clubs appealed to the different interests of the students. I especially liked the Jewelry Making club and using the items I made to fundraise. I also enjoyed the Master Chef Club. It was fun to experiment with different recipes each week and have my classmates taste the final product. Some of the dishes were so good, we baked them for special school activities such as Thanksgiving Day Lunch, and the Secret Santa Exchange.
The atmosphere at Cambridge International Academy is very welcoming. The teachers, administrative staff, and students are very friendly and respectful. The student body is friendly because everyone helps each other out whether it is for homework, assignments, or even just help with the clubs and student council. There are many activities throughout the school year which help students to get to know each other even if they are not in the same grade. The students all got along because of the clubs and the different activities offered throughout the school year. I especially liked that the student council had members from different grade levels. Most of the ideas were brainstormed together and the senior members helped the younger students to organize the activities. I also liked that there was rotation in the student council which means it was not one person as president for the whole school year. We had four terms of student council giving students opportunities to experience different roles.
(4.5) School Life
I really enjoyed my four years at Cambridge International Academy. The teachers and strong administration team definitely contributed to my quality of life while attending the school. It was a pleasure to go to school each day to see my friends and my teachers. To this day, I still connect with them. My teachers helped me build my confidence and helped me to take risks. I would have not joined the student council if I were in another high school. There is always some stress in high school because of the final exams and pressures to get into post-secondary education but when I received the support, I was able to manage these stresses quite well. Most of the students were happy to attend Cambridge and were involved in many of the activities. It was a great school to be in.
Parents are welcome to get involved at Cambridge International Academy. There are opportunities for parents to volunteer their time and contribute their ideas to the administration team. The administration team always listens to the ideas of parents to build and maintain a strong school community. I do keep in touch with some of the people in my graduating year and I still connect with some of my teachers. I enjoy visiting the school and doing volunteer initiatives whenever I can. I like to help out with school activities or help students with their studies. Cambridge International Academy always involved students with activities and even volunteer work in the Ajax Community. The administration team would help students find volunteer work such as the Ajax Community Theatre, Fundraising and Community events with the Town of Ajax, and the Ajax Library.
(4) School Location
I like the school's location because it is located in downtown Ajax. I usually walked to the different shops and restaurants at lunch with my friends. I also like the location because it is only a 10-minute drive from the school. Lastly, I enjoyed walking to the park and Ajax Library as this was only a ten-minute walk from the school.
The application process was easy. We contacted the school to ask questions about the school's philosophy and extracurricular activities. An email was sent with all the information and a follow-up telephone call. We set up an appointment to meet the principal to ask her further questions. During the meeting, the principal briefly interviewed me about my goals, schooling experience, and interests. Once my parents decided Cambridge International Academy was a good fit for my academic needs and interests, we filled the application form. Shortly thereafter, I was given a 4-year educational pathway plan. I found this useful because it helped me to understand my academic pathway and the courses I would be taking throughout my high school years. The transition from elementary to high school was very smooth. The staff and students also made my transition easy.
(4.5) University placement and counselling
I received one-to-one counselling at Cambridge International Academy to help me transition to post-secondary education. During grade 12, I spoke regularly to my teachers and guidance counsellor to determine which post-secondary institutions to apply to and even about the option of residency. I always felt I was supported and in good hands when I made applications in early December 2018. If I needed additional clarification on correspondence with the different post-secondary institutions, I felt comfortable approaching my guidance counselor. During that time, communication with parents was frequent to ensure that I did not miss any application deadlines or fail to have a prerequisite course needed for the program. Now that my first year is over, I feel like Cambridge International Academy prepared me well for my first year in a post-secondary program of my first choice.