REVIEW OF Crestwood Preparatory College BY Alum, Lindsey Swartzman
- Date of Review
August 05, 2022
Gr. 8 - 12
- University (major)
Quest University Canada and York University
(5) Overall Experience
CPC was truly the best environment for me and I would not be alive today if it wasn't for my time there. While I was a student that was incredibly smart and excelled academically, I had significant struggles outside of school. The school made sure that my entire self was taken care of. They went above and beyond, which is something that will forever stay in my mind. They saw beyond the challenges and believed in me when I could not. I liked the familial feel of the school, while not being a super small school. The atmosphere was very supportive. The only thing I would change is stuff in the physical building. Everything worked great, but it definitely isn't a modern feeling. I definitely feel like I was prepared for my life's next steps. A prospective student should expect to be challenged both academically and personally. The teachers actually care about you as a human being.
(5) School Leadership
The school leadership and administration were very committed to their students. What excites me now is seeing all of my favourite teachers being promoted into leadership roles, especially Mr. Hecock as the new headmaster. My dad and I still talk about how exceptional he was. They were and all continue to be highly respected and respectful of students. I was a challenging student and they had a very firm grasp on balancing understanding where I was coming from and why I was acting out, with the basic expectations of being a student. All consequences I received were very fair. They made sure to communicate with my parents and I know my parents have nothing but excellent things to say about the administration.
As someone who was in the public school system before coming to Crestwood, I didn't see a huge difference in the actual quality of teaching, which isn't a bad thing per se as I had very positive experiences in the YRDSB. What I did really love was when teachers were away we had other teachers sub for us. I felt like that was a really unique way to get to know teachers that you may have classes with later on down the line. While the dynamic was very informal and casual between students and teachers, the respect level was very high for the most part. There were of course teachers who were perhaps more insecure since they are humans too and I think that naturally led to a lower level of respect from students, but all in all high level of respect all around. The teachers were absolutely passionate about their subjects. I have such fond memories of some of my classes and teachers, and even have some of my assignments still. I already loved learning, but Crestwood definitely enhanced that.
As I said, I didn't see a huge difference in the actual teaching or academics between my public schools and Crestwood, but that is not a bad thing. Now at 27 and quite frankly even in university, I recognized how many students enter university exhausted from overexerting in high school. Crestwood pushes you, but at an age-appropriate and realistic amount. My grade was incredibly smart and also involved in all activities. For students that needed more support, they received that as well as accommodations. For students that needed a challenge, they received that too, whether that was choosing higher level electives or being in a higher level math class. I feel like out of any private school I've known people at, Crestwood provided the most well-rounded high school academic program. They pushed you for excellence and provided you the support to achieve that. As someone who naturally loves to go above and beyond (e.g., once spent $200 on supplies to make my scrapbook for my grade 11 Canadian Literature class exceptional), the teachers also kept you grounded and put things into perspective. I entered university excited to learn, not exhausted. If you want your child to have a balanced education with striving for excellence and support, Crestwood is your place.
I was involved in all aspects of extracurriculars. I am not a natural athlete by any means but I loved team sports. Crestwood gave me the opportunity to be on teams every season and never made me feel like I was bad (even when I got DQ or came in last in every swimming race ever). The relationships I developed with the coaches were the most meaningful adult relationships growing up. I still remain close to them to this day. Even in my more academic clubs like debate and student government, there was definitely competition, but everything felt really age appropriate and realistic, which I believe is key to developing well-rounded students. My only hope for the Crestwood of today is that the athletic opportunities still exist for students that are not part of their elite athlete program. I took so much pride in being on the basketball team and would hate for average athletes like myself to not have that opportunity to participate.
My grade was incredible and the entire school knew that. It was so sweet because teachers were devastated when we graduated. We were a beautifully well-rounded group of students that exceeded in all aspects of student life and had amazing school spirit. This was not the case in all grades, though. In most grades, you had groups of students that follow the more typical characteristics (I.e. too cool, academics only, athletics driven, foreign students, etc.). The typical student is most definitely one that's inclusive and understanding. There were very minimal levels of bullying and the school made a significant effort to tackle any issues head-on. The ethnic and socio-economic background is interesting because it has changed a lot since I was a student. What started when I was a student was an influx of students from Asia that were living in Canada with guardians. I also understand now there's a whole cohort of elite athletes that tend to come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The general population was upper middle class and primarily white and Jewish when I was a student, so it's nice to see that change. The school does a great job of providing opportunities for different grades to interact. I always loved that every other year I would get to be on teams with the grade either above or below me.
(5) School Life
My quality of life was really special. I remember the VP once saying to me that they knew that when I was in school I was safe and some days that was what was most important vs. me being engaged in my classes. I was a very unique case though, but I think that really demonstrates their commitment to the quality of life of their students. They see their students as humans and do their best to understand their needs, while also maintaining academic expectations. Students were generally engaged and happy. People would get stressed around exams, but by and large everyone was very chill. Looking back this is still what makes me love Crestwood is that it's a high school and they know that. The teachers know that they need to prepare us to solve big problems, but you can't solve big problems if you are stressed and burned out by age 17.
I found it really sweet that there was a strong PTA presence. I think it goes along with my special grade that we also had a dedicated group of parents involved with the school. It was always nice to see them bopping around and they were most definitely a strong support, plus they still continue to be via social media. I definitely still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from high school. I wouldn't say there's a huge formal alumni community or alumni events, but I believe that's in part to do with Crestwood being on the newer side of the private school world. I still stay in touch with teachers and have also come back as a speaker during Pride Month.
(1) School Location
My admissions process was very unique as I enrolled in mid-July going into grade 8 which is of course not an entry-level year. I found the test to be very appropriate and not something that I felt I needed to study for. This is in sharp contrast to some of the SSAT tests I took for other schools that were very stressful. I would say that Crestwood really wants to see who you are on any given day because ultimately, that's the student that's going to show up in school. The school definitely worked with my dad to make sure it was the right fit for me and later on in high school when my family did look for me to switch schools, the administration helped them determine that ultimately staying at CPC was in my best interest (which it most definitely was).
(4.5) University placement and counselling
This is an area that I didn't really take advantage of because I was so tunnel-focused on going to Quest, which was an alternative university. I did, however, learn about the school from one of my teachers who had heard about it on the radio and thought it would be a perfect fit for me. The school then supported me to make sure I took classes that would prepare me appropriately. I liked that it wasn't forced upon you because I was definitely the stubborn student that wasn't looking for guidance from anyone else because I thought I knew what was best. The school did a great job at making sure that I was setting myself up for success if it worked out or if it didn't. Ultimately, I ended up transferring to York after my first year at Quest and excelled.