REVIEW OF GlenOak Academy BY parent, Christina Tang
- Date of Review
May 03, 2021
JK - Gr. 1
(5) Student Experience
My son, who has special needs transitioned from preschool into JK at GlenOak Academy. His experience for 3 school years has been great with increased cognitive and physical development. The educators are professionally trained to support special needs students and are always accommodating to his needs. My son has made many friends from kindergarten to grade 8 whom he treasures their friendship and companionship. Every morning, when I see my son looking forward to go to school and meet with his teachers and friends, I know this is the perfect school for him to grow and learn. By wearing his school uniforms everyday to school, I can see his confidence and pride building up everyday as he progresses in his academics. My son has truly enjoyed his school life at GlenOak Academy.
(5) School Leadership
Susan Goode, principal of GlenOak Academy is a very experienced educator who has expertise in teaching children with brain injuries. Under her leadership, the teachers and support workers work as a team to resolve day to day issues efficiently. Susan would always ensure the school environment is safe and positive for students. She implemented the outdoor classroom at the start of this school year during the challenging pandemic period. It was very thoughtful and innovative of her for such a great idea.
Teachers are outstanding in terms of their experience and expertise in education. Kindergarten curriculum was designed to be fun and motivating for small children to be engaged and learn. Lots of opportunities to learn outdoor through nature walks everyday. From Principals, Vice Principals, teachers to educational assistants, they all work as a team and collaborate with parents when challenging situations occurred in classroom settings. I was very pleased to work with the GlenOak team to build strategies into my son's IEP and supported his learning journeys in the past years. It has been a great experience for me, as a special needs child's parent, to see my son to overcome his learning disabilities and be able to cope with his academic goals in the past year.
My son has improved his literacy and math significantly over the past year. The IEP was well written to assist my son’s learning, built with strategies, realistic goals and support/accommodation needed for each developmental area in the curriculum. With a full time educational assistant supporting my son's daily needs, he is well accommodated to work on all the learning activities everyday. GlenOak Academy uses a collaborative approach to work with parents in order to define the approach and strategies that are customized for each student. It was proven to me that my son has achieved far more in academics at GlenOak Academy than I had anticipated and expected.
There has always been lots of extracurriculars in GlenOak. My son has enjoyed mostly the music dance parties and outdoor activities. The entire primary class takes a nature walk everyday out in the community. During the walk, learning activities are built into the session to ensure all students are well motivated to learn. My son often comes home with his proud achievements such as building a fox habitat with his collection of wood chips, acorns and leaves from the nature walks.
Small class, big hearts! Even with 3 students in the kindergarten & Grade 1 class this year, the class has formed an everlasting bond. There were sufficient team building group activities everyday in the classroom to bring the students together, such as dance & learn, science experiments (STEM activities), yoga exercises and outdoor nature walks. Through Edsby (communication App between school and parents), I can see how all the students in the class enjoy learning together while each one of them maybe working their own IEP dedicated goals. What stands out to me most is how the students within the class care about each other's feelings and would eagerly support each other's learning journey in their own ways. All GlenOak students are kind and friendly to each other! My son has truly enjoyed the friendships that he built with his friends in the past years at GlenOak Academy.
(5) School Life
A well-balanced school life provides a stabilized and positive environment for students. My son receives a structured program in the stabilized and positive environment at GlenOak Academy, in which he enjoys and looks forward to attending school everyday. He also enjoys building friendships with all students in the school, including students from the senior classes. Within the daily activities, some of the senior students visit to the junior class and read story books for the kindergarteners. This creates a warm and positive environment in which the seniors practice their reading skills and the juniors enjoy their story time with their reading buddies. Over time, my son develops a strong interest in reading books and aims to become a reading buddy sometime when he grows older.
Parents are welcome to join monthly parent council meetings and discuss the improvements to the school life. There were many activities that were initiated from these parent council meetings and resulted improvements in student's life in the school. One of the greatest ideas was to introduce virtual field trips to aquariums and different places around the world during the pandemic as the school was not able to physically bring the students out in the community as they would have done prior to the pandemic. Parents were often consulted and well informed prior to any changes in staffing which I personally appreciated to receive these phone calls directly from the principal. I look forward to the future school years for my son as the pandemic passes us so students can return back to their normal school life with many community activities.
(5) School Location
Location is great in Clarkson, lots of parking spots for parents to drop off and pick up kids. Classrooms, gym, library and administration office are in the basement of a church. A large auditorium used to be a gym for students to do physical education activities was re-assigned to become the classroom for the senior class due to the new covid protocols. Individual therapy rooms are available for students who require private PT/OT/Speech therapies sessions.