Maple, ON | Grades PS - 12 | Shortlist
From the moment we walked into the halls at Delano Academy, there was a sense of comfort, excellence, and family. We were looking for a school that would not only challenge my son but nurture him. Delano Academy has an uncanny approach to push students academically but care about their character development equally. My son feels safe and supported. The thing he loves the most is the fact that they take real-world issues and incorporate them into lessons. As part of the IB curriculum, he is preparing to be a global thinker. He loves to be challenged, to think outside the box, and pushed to his limit to be a profound leader. When he arrives at school each day he is greeted as family and as such is eager to engage and grow.
The Head of School and administration are second to none. They truly care; not only about the child but about the entire family. Concerns are addressed with the utmost patience and speed. Parents are heard and follow-ups are a regular occurrence. Communication about school activities is clear, concise, and regular. You are always greeted with a smile and know your child is both valued and appreciated. Everyone at Delano Academy knows the student body intimately and it is very clear they are invested in each and every students' well being. They practice what they preach in regards to respect, patience, and tone of expectations. The faculty handle discipline in a calm, nurturing, and understanding manner. Each child is treated as an individual and is judged accordingly.
Teachers take a hands-on approach to their teaching. Rarely are students found sitting and listening to lectures. Discussions, experiments, and activities are the norm at Delano Academy. Teachers have the unique ability to teach students HOW to learn, not just what to learn. Time management, self-regulation, and patience are common practices. Children are constantly engaged and eager to find out what they will be learning each day. The staff are motivated, creative, and think outside the box in the way they deliver their lessons. They are extremely capable of adapting to their students’ best interests. Teachers are patient, motivating, and above all, take the time to know not only your child's academic needs but also their social/emotional ones. The staff takes the time to get to know parents and are able to effectively communicate issues in a timely manner. They work with parents on an action plan to handle situations as they arise. Student-led conferences happen 2-3 times a year where parents get the opportunity to see what their child has accomplished during each term as well as have the opportunity to speak candidly with teachers regarding academic achievement and behavior.
The academics at Delano Academy go well above the Ontario curriculum. STEAM activities are incorporated into every class and lessons are given with a hands-on approach. The school is very well equipped to challenge gifted learners as they provide each student with an individual learning plan. Students are able to go up a full grade level if it is deemed in the best interest of a child. Children are pushed beyond their limits through the balance of arts, academics, and athletics. The IB curriculum is second to none and Delano is a leader in their execution of the program. Character traits and values are a systemic aspect of the school. The arts program is unique and more sophisticated than traditional schools in that students learn about artists and emulate style and technique while completing projects of meaning. Athletics are beyond compare with the head of the department being a retired professional soccer player. He is able to bring out the best in sportsmanship and team building to create a program that excels far beyond Ontario's standard.
Students are challenged to try new things, earn points and become effective leaders through house teams. They participate in charity work such as Out of the Cold, The Terry Fox Run, Epilepsy Month, and Library Week. They are active participants in Black History Month, inclusive of all religious holidays and observances and have respect for parents and grandparents through Mother's day, Father's day, and Grandparents Day. The school has numerous spirit days such as PJ day, Halloween, Easter, and a week of activities celebrating the Festival of Lights. Delano Academy goes on a number of field trips a year including an annual overnight trip for senior students. The trips always relate back to the curriculum and serve as a real-world extension to what is taught in the class.
The school is actively involved with SSAF, competing in long-distance running, both indoor and outdoor soccer, basketball, and track and field. Soccer and basketball are popular extracurriculars and they have both a junior and senior class. Chess is also offered on a regular basis. They also have had sessions in coding, sketch-up, and robotics. The entire school is split into houses and there are various intramural challenges throughout the year. Children earn points and at the end of the year, there is a celebration. Not only are house teams for physical activity, but they are incorporated into charity work, peer mentoring, and leadership. There is an annual food drive, book drive, and funds are raised for the Terry Fox Foundation.
Parents are active participants in Delano Academy's community. There is a Parent Advisory Committee that works towards furthering school agendas as they pertain to spirit days and events. A bi-annual gala exists to celebrate and raise funds for the school. There is an active committee to help plan this event. Parents are often seen on field trips and initiate a donation drive for Out of the Cold (a program to help homelessness in the GTA). The annual IB exhibition and Maker Fair is a fantastic example of when parents are invited in to the school to mingle with students and learn about their projects. Mothers Day High Tea, Fathers Day Field Day, and the Grandparents Poets Cafe are further examples where students get to show off their parents in a relaxed, fun environment. The Winter and Spring concerts are the culmination of the arts curriculum where students showcase their musical talents in both choir and drums as well as showcase the terms art projects. Finally, there is an annual Family Skating trip that takes place during Carnival Week.
Student life at Delano Academy is well above par. Class sizes are small thereby allowing for an enormous amount of individualized attention. Students are also placed into appropriate classes according to the subject if a child requires a grade skip. Since the school is small, there is ample opportunity for all of the children to get to know each other. In fact, it is commonplace for children of different grades to be friends. Because of this, there is a fantastic bond the runs as a thread throughout the entire school. One of teamwork, togetherness, and mentoring. Older children mentor younger ones through reading buddies and house team challenges, younger ones look up to their peers as role models and in turn learn how to be an effective leader to the next generation.
The school is located off two main highways so it is easily accessible to numerous communities. The building itself is large with ample space for student success. There is a full-size gym, a music room, a separate art, and STEAM room, as well as two libraries (one for junior students and one for seniors). Lockers are spaced out so as not to cause overcrowding during the winter months. There is also a cafe space where various meetings and community involvement take place. The office is easily accessible off the main doors and that is the only entrance to the school which for the most part is located downstairs. It instilled a great sense of security for parents. Located within a 5-minute walk are soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a playground, and a splash pad.