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Reviews of Foothills Academy

Calgary, AB  |  Grades 3 - 12  |  Shortlist

 

Review by: Michelle Housley - Parent (Jun 09, 2022)

"The teachers are all very passionate and engaged."


Student Experience

I will admit that the first few months that our son attended Foothills, he was not that happy. He was upset about leaving his old school and friends. However, the community at the school was so positive that he grew to love it within months. He appreciates the welcoming community but I would say what he loves the most is the ability to feel successful. This is in academics and socially. He enjoys the hands-on learning and also knowing when assessments will come so he can work with his teachers to be set up for success. I know he also likes the use of assistive technology and technology in general.


School Leadership

We have been very happy with the administration. They have dealt with our child when he was excelling and also when he needed some discipline and both were very positive and always a learning experience. As a parent, there are not any surprises, which I appreciate. I also like the newsletter and the use of google classroom. The homework board is also very useful. The teachers and admin are very easy to reach and communicate with, I have never had an issue contacting the school.


Teaching

The teachers are all very passionate and engaged. Our son has developed a love for all subjects and the skills classes are very useful! The feedback is timely and specific. Our son even wants to be a teacher now since they have been so positive and effective. We found Foothills based on their specialized reading intervention program and that literally changed my son's life, he is now a great reader and actually enjoys it. I cannot say enough about all the teachers there, including the support staff. Their subject knowledge is impressive but also their ability to gain students' attention and challenge them. It is more often than not, that my son is excited about what they are studying in classes. It is great to have a child excited about school.


Academics

The greatest strength is that the school has set up the students for success and the belief that they can succeed. Homework is not a chore now but instead something that he can get done quickly since he always knows what is expected and it is paced in portions, not one big vague assessment. Our son has learned to believe in himself which will serve him well in his future. We also like how the school integrates technology when appropriate into their classes. Things like speech to text are very useful and nice when your child can come home and teach you about some new technology they have learned. The use of google classroom is also well used, along with different science sites that are really practical.


Extracurriculars

These last few years are hard to gauge due to COVID. Although we are happy with the inclusive manner that which all clubs and teams involve. On that note, I was impressed with how over COVID and online learning the school still added social events, online, to the students' agenda. Our child is looking forward to the track and field activities! The selection of electives is also impressive.


Students

The student body size is perfect, not too small, not too big. The school is very welcoming! I know that my son's experience and his friends have been very positive and inclusive. We liked how the school had a student buddy show the new students around and get the "real" point of view. It is also nice how the grades seem to mingle more at Foothills than they did at other schools. Everyone at Foothills seems happy to be there and willing to help others fit in. I would be very surprised to hear about any bullying or at least if it does happen, it is handled in a sensitive manner. Our son has really learned great relationship, communication and conflict management skills at this school.


School Life

My son loves Foothills and the entire community. The things he loves include the frequent, small stakes assessment throughout the year so he always knows where he stands. He also likes how there is a notice of when assessments will happen. At his other school, they used pop quizzes that were very stressful for him and did not offer him the chance to prepare in advance. He also likes how the teachers are approachable. They have worked with him to be more assertive and communicate more about what he understands and doesn't. The school has allowed him to be more in control of his own studying and success. He is now looking forward to high school and the subjects. We wish that we knew about it sooner!


Community

I have met great mom friends via Foothills which is important with a private school. During the first parent meeting, all the parents exchanged numbers and included all the kids in the activities. The parents made a real effort to stay in touch over COVID and it really helped the kids. It could be a social Zoom over pandemic or now inviting everyone to a leisure spot in Calgary to join for the day. Our child was not keen on the idea of leaving his old friends and school but now he has two sets of friends and has worked out really well. The school also has a very engaged parent association that conducts fundraising etc. in a professional and effective manner and keeps everyone updated with school news.


School Location

Very easy drop-off and bus access. The location is easy to get to and we love the bus fee included in the tuition. Students can leave school grounds but that is conducted well and students know they MUST be back in time. The area is safe and fine for junior high students and older to venture out on their own at lunch.


Admissions

Apply as soon as you can! There is a waiting list. They gave us a call asap when a spot opened and we jumped at it. The admissions officer could not have been more helpful! Ask every question and give your child time to come around to the idea. The easiest part was enrolling in Foothills itself, compared to getting his old school records from his previous school. I would also suggest really understanding how the tuition options work and the fundraising commitment. That can be a little tricky, so it is best to ask a lot of questions. It is expensive but worth every penny! Until Foothill we were paying for tutoring that was also expensive and not very effective. We finally realized that for a little more money we could get an excellent education for him and not have the poor guy attend school all day and then go for tutoring in the evenings.




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