REVIEW OF De La Salle College BY parent, Jerry Nolfi
- Date of Review
February 28, 2019
Gr. 9 - Gr. 12
(4.5) Student Experience
We wholeheartedly feel that the traditional academic teaching style, the extracurricular involvement, the opportunities for leadership and community engagement combined with strong faith component has given our daughter a solid foundation to the next steps in her life. The lifelong healthy habits of De La Salle College will serve her well as she sets goals faces challenges and celebrates milestones in her future. The students feel that they have entered a new family at Del. One of the most special events is the full school assembly every morning. The entire school body teachers administration and other staff come together for daily reflection and celebration of school values and accomplishments. It is a beautiful, peaceful and inspiring start to the day for the younger and the older students.
(4) School Leadership
De La Salle has a moral value code and does not make excuses or exceptions to adhering to their policies. The guidelines are clearly laid out and revisited regularly. Dress code and behavioral violations are met with the expected consequences. We appreciated the fact that both parents and students are asked to comply. We also appreciated that all faculty members of the school become familiar faces and make an effort to get to know all the students. They provide wonderful mentorship to the student body.
The teaching staff are generally very knowledgeable in their area of study and many have had careers outside of teaching. They set high expectations of the student but are readily available for help along the way. Our daughter was challenged but would say that she 'learned how to learn' at De La Salle. Her traditional study habits and learning strategies have been invaluable in her transition to university. We found the teaching staff to be very accessible to discuss progress or problems at any point through the school year. The guidance team were also knowledgeable, helpful and reassuring especially when preparing for university. There seemed to be a healthy camaraderie among the teaching staff which also fostered a welcoming academic environment within the student body and parent community.
The academic expectations are very high at Del. Highly motivated students will be challenged at their level and find a great cohort of strong students to work with. We could not have been more thrilled to see that the students motivated each other to achieve high grades and set high goals for their academic performance. They teach to the AP level in grade 11 and 12 and provide lots of help and resources along the way. Electives must be carefully chosen because not all courses will be offered on a given year if too few students sign up. In the younger grades students may jump ahead to the next grade level and summer school courses are offered at Del. This allows for more electives in the grade 12 year.
De La Salle has excellent extracurricular engagement. There are three seasons of sports available and lots of room for all students to make teams or be otherwise involved. Kids are encouraged to try something new and develop their skills. Student government and leadership opportunities are strong as well as robust arts initiatives. Incredible productions happen every spring and annual music trips take students to perform in Boston and New York City.
The campus setting of De La Salle College creates an intimate and unique school environment. The pride in their history and tradition are very evident in the expansive grounds right in the middle of the city. We felt that the co-ed class dynamic was ideal and our daughter made wonderful friendships in her four years there. The school also utilizes a house system to organize the students into spirit day and celebration families that provide an extra level of community feeling and belonging. The school year begins with a very moving and meaningful Terry Fox day walk/run through the beautiful neighbourhoods of Toronto which bring students, faculty and families together. Winter Play day, Founders Day and other school wide events draw the older and younger students groups together.
(5) School Life
Our daughter loved De La Salle and we are so thrilled that we introduced her to this special place. She knew from the first Open House we attended that De La Salle College would be the right fit for her. She continues to reach out to her old teachers and friends and was well-prepared for university. We feel that she took advantage of everything Del had to offer and gained confidence in herself, friends and skills for a lifetime. As an alum she looks forward to visiting Del for the Christmas Mass and to say hi over Reading week. She has worked at the DelActive summer sports camps for several years and it continues to be an absolute joy for her to return to her happy memories.
We never had trouble reaching teachers or administration of Del College to discuss academic concerns. The parent teacher interview process had the potential to be quite chaotic, and that meeting with teachers outside of this evening was better for our discussion purposes. The Parent Community was very strong, united and supportive of the mission of the school. The Del Parent Association has monthly meetings in the beautiful Heritage House, great communication through the portal system and hosts grade specific events for parents regarding course selection and university preparation. Brother is very open and honest regarding the school's high standards and adheres to the mission of the founding fathers. He is happy to engage and inspire the young students and is the true figurehead of the school.
(5) School Location
Del campus is stunning. We have visited many other schools over the years and Del is incredible and unique. The grounds are well maintained, the historical buildings celebrated and new sports field and sports complex are welcome additions to campus life and the athletic program. It is beautifully nestled within the Avenue Road community and has a spectacular view of the downtown skyline.
We feel that the admission team really wants to find the most suitable students and families for admission. The in-person interview was a wonderful way to evaluate them as they evaluated our daughter to make sure that their rigorous program and values would be compatible with student ability and expectation as well as the family's traditions. At the time of our application it was wise to write the Secondary School Admission Test but i believe that the other components of the application were more important. We started in grade 9 and our daughter was able to participate in a Reach Ahead math course to prepare her for the advanced standing of current Del students. Her math skills improved tremendously and she met some wonderful new friends.
(4) University placement and counselling
The university preparation started in grade 10 as the students were choosing electives to study on grade 11 and 12. The guidance team made an effort to make sure that each students choices were in line with university expectation and admission through numerous meetings in grade 11 and 12. The students were encouraged to attend university ambassador meeting at the school and the University Fair in September. The younger teaching staff were also very open in discussing their personal academic journey with the senior students. The students were assisted with the application portal process to make sure that everything was entered properly and students themselves were encouraged to discuss their plans with teachers to make sure that their work effort was helping to meet mark expectations. They had open dialogue with parents and students until graduation day.