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"The coaches at CHS deserve gold medals."


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Review of: Briercrest Christian Academy

Vangie Brown - Parent    (Jan 23, 2018)

Student Experience

We are very grateful that our children get to go to CHS!! My husband and I are very happy with the school, even though things have not always been easy for our high school children, we are convinced that this has been the very best place for them to struggle and learn and grow. I have two children in high school. My daughter appreciates the teachers the most. She could not think of anything that is disappointing to her. My son appreciates the academic challenge and willingness of teachers to help him through hard times, he finds his fellow students sometimes the most frustrating. He has greatly appreciated the opportunity to play on sports teams. The coaches of the teams he has been a part of have impacted him greatly because they have challenged him to grow in character, they have encouraged him, and they have believed in him. The coaches at CHS deserve gold medals!


School Leadership

My daughter has enjoyed interacting with the school leadership. She did mention that she finds Mrs. Ike to be a bit impersonal, but feels that Mr. Sowden and Mr. Zacharias know her as a person and care how she is doing. My son has had challenges this year and we have found the school leadership to be very willing to work with us, support our son, and deal with discipline issues wisely and in a timely manner. The school chaplain, Mr. Willems, has made great effort to communicate with us on a number of issues. Also Mr. Gabor, who has communicated with us extensively to help our son succeed in school. I have personally found that Mrs. Ike does not consistently respond to email communication. Either she does not respond in a timely manner, or at all, to my emails. However, I have found her excellent to talk to in person.


Teaching

We believe that we get our money's worth when it comes to the teaching staff at CHS. We are very happy with the quality of what is taught. The teachers are knowledgeable and provide a wide variety of learning opportunities for our kids. Our children work hard in school and are rewarded with good grades which proves to me that they are being taught concepts well. I appreciated the teachers in Grade 11 (Miss Klip) and 12 (Mrs. Poettcker) who taught my son to write drafts of his papers and gave him feedback after each draft. Mr. Peters and Mrs. Crocker were also mentioned as providing feedback that was helpful. Both my children are challenged in the classroom and the assignments and projects that are given often amaze me in the creative options that are offered.


Academics

This is the only high school I am familiar with so it is hard to compare, but I believe the my children are receiving a good amount of challenge, combined with adequate encouragement and inspiration to push themselves to do their very best. A weakness of CHS is that the limited amount of students mean that classes are only offered once a year. For my son this meant that he had one semester that was very heavily loaded with challenging classes and no options for spares. However, this is a reality with a small school. The strength of this school is its teachers. They not only are knowledgeable, but they truly care about the students. They are supportive when the students are excelling and struggling. I feel that both my children will be adequately prepared for post-secondary education, should they choose that. I am concerned that the school is considering using the 4 point grading system. I strongly feel that grading with percentages encourages students to try to excel, whereas grading on a 4 point system will diminish motivation. PLEASE do not changed over to this type of "de-grading" system!!


Extracurriculars

For a small school, CHS offers most of the sports. My children are not athletes and yet they have both enjoyed being involved in a number of the different sports programs. I am grateful that, for the most part, CHS coaches for most of the teams do not eliminate players who are wanting to learn to play a sport. Mr. Appleby is such a blessing to the soccer team. The football coaches are spectacular and I am so glad that a majority of the high school guys get to participate in this sport. The basketball program has been a great opportunity for our son to learn more than just basketball skills. The Sr. Boys coach is excellent. The missions trips are awesome and our son loved going to Cuba. The service opportunities are great. Our daughter enjoyed being a part of the vocal ensemble each Christmas. The choir tour is a lot of fun for those involved.


Students

CHS is a Christian school. Not everyone who attends lives like a Christian. As a parent I have seen that different classes have different "feels" to them. I like the "feel" of my daughters class, but the current Grade 12 class concerns me. I think the biggest problem in Caronport is boredom. I think high school kids have nothing to do during the long cold winters and the community has not reached out to meet this need. There is no youth group, no fun place for the young people to "hang out" and interact with adult supervision. I think "The Den" was supposed to meet this need, but somehow it seems that kids are bored and find things to do that are not good. I know that our children have been quite lonely since we moved here. I do not think this is the responsibility of the school. I think it is a community wide problem that needs to be addressed by the churches. My son's honest opinion about his classmates is that he dislikes most of them. My daughter's honest opinion about her classmates is also pretty negative. I am not sure how to take this... whether the problem is that my kids are negative or that their fellow students leave much to be desired.


School Life

Our children dislike school. However, they are willing to go to school each day. I think it is mostly interpersonal issues that drive this dissatisfaction. Honestly I think my children would express this no matter what school they attended. I believe we could not ask for better teachers than those at CHS. I believe the leadership at CHS cares a great deal for the students and spends time, above and beyond the call of duty, to make CHS a safe environment, emotionally academically and spiritually, for our young people I think that high school can be a lonely and confusing time of life for kids who have struggles. Most of the kids at CHS have struggles. I think Caronport has an epidemic of bored, struggling kids who grow into lonely struggling adults. No school can solve this problem. This is honestly what I would tell prospective parents: If you are hoping that your struggling teenager will find a safe place at CHS, they will definitely find quality staff that care about them and opportunities to grow academically and spiritually, but unless they are socially and emotionally healthy enough to take these opportunities they may also find trouble. CHS is not free of trouble, it just all depends what your kid is looking for.


Community

We are very involved parents. We also have kids who talk to us which keeps us in the loop about how things are going at school. When we have expressed our concerns to the leadership we have felt that our concerns are taken seriously and are dealt with wisely. We feel very welcome to be involved in our kids lives at school. We enjoy our interactions with all their teachers and have found them to be consistely willing to meet with us outside of school hours to help us work through issues. I love it that parents are invited to the spiritual emphasis week for an evening. I am sure that if I wanted to attend chapels I would be allowed. Parent-teacher interviews are moderately helpful.


School Location

Caronport is small. Most students live in the community and walk to school so we see students around the community a lot. It is a high school so kids are also driving places. The school the only place where anything happens in Caronport. There are lots of sports activities where students can be interacted with. I wish that more students would take advantage of The Point as a place to interact. I think that The Den also provides a place for students to hang out but I am not sure that it is seen as a welcoming environment by my kids. Maybe if there was a place to buy snack food at The Den and a large screen TV with sports games playing and an occasional movie night that would draw more of the students to hang out together.


Admissions

As I recall the admissions process felt very confusing to me. I think there should be one person who would walk you through the whole process. If there were two days each semester that parents could come and be walked through the whole process and have a question and answer thing at the end, that might be helpful. It was good to meet Mrs. Ike so that her face was familiar but I am not sure that I had any idea what to ask her. The admission staff should have a list of commonly asked questions which they take time to answer and walk parents through the whole process of signing kids up for classes and payment plans etc. The Canvas program has always seemed user-unfriendly to me as a parent. The office staff have had to give me a lot of help to use this program. Is there a way to make it more user friendly?


University placement and counselling

Honestly, our son is in Grade 12 and I have no idea what he has been offered in terms of university guidance. I think that if students are not pro-active in seeking guidance then they will slip through the cracks. I think Mr. Fehr is in charge of this, but I am not sure. As of now our son has not applied to any universities and has not come home with any information. I think that there should be a day for high school students where parents are invited to sit in on a session that explains the process. This should happen in the fall and parents should be aware of when scholarships need to be applied for etc. We know basically nothing about post-secondary options, and this is partly our fault and partly the fault of our son for not availing himself.


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