REVIEW OF GlenOak Academy BY parent, Silu Modi
- Date of Review
March 15, 2021
Gr. 5 - 8
(5) Student Experience
My daughter absolutely loves GlenOak. She’s probably one of the only kids I know who’s genuinely disappointed on Friday’s and school holidays because she doesn’t get to go to school. My daughter doesn’t learn like other kids. She needs a little extra guidance at some times and a little more of a push to be independent at other times. She gets just the right mix of both and is challenged to do more than she would otherwise bring herself to do. We know it’s working because she often comes home from school exhausted but at the same time, can’t wait to show us what’s she’s learned today. The enthusiasm to continue pushing herself to learn comes directly from the experience she has at GlenOak Academy.
(5) School Leadership
The school administration has been open and ready to listen to solve any issues that come up. The principal attends all parent council meetings and is open to suggestions to help improve communication between staff and parents. Before the pandemic, the school was always open for parents to come and talk to share concerns or to book a time to go through any challenges. If any discipline issues arose, it was communicated both by phone and note home and included how it was handled. We have been very impressed with the leadership, discipline style and communication at GlenOak. Because of GlenOak’s style of gentle guidance and fairness, our child is much more independent in her problem solving with peers as well as her emotional regulation in general. We feel very lucky to put our trust in the administration.
The teaching at GlenOak has been outstanding. Each child is taken into account when planning the make up of the classroom and this past year, my concerns about having my child in an older group of students was listened to and taken seriously. My child’s current teacher has been outstanding in terms of her patience and determination to continue to get through to the students (and parents) during this past year with online teaching periods and COVID challenges. She always begins the day with a smile on her face and excitement in her voice and my child responds very well to her enthusiasm and is happy to go to school everyday. My child has an IEP that I feel is planned strategically and followed carefully. Both the teacher and administration has been open to parent suggestions and feedback in regards to her IEP.
The program at GlenOak was tailored for my child. She's getting all the curriculum but not falling through the cracks as she was in public school. The class sizes are small and there's plenty of support in place. The teachers at GlenOak are very open and receptive to questions, feedback and suggestions. They also won't 'just do' what the parent asks... there's significant thought put into the pros and cons of any suggestion and implementation only happens if there's broad confirmation that it's in the best interest of the students. One thing we're grateful for is that in regular public schools, my child could 'get away' with giving sub-standard effort or results. The teachers at GlenOak will gently but directly guide my child into giving all attention and effort to her work.
It's currently COVID time and of course there are limited options for extracurriculars. Having said that, there are club times and my child is a big fan of some of the additional offers. But frankly, the extracurriculars were not the chief selling point for us on GlenOak. It's the academics, especially for children that don't fit the typical public school mould.
As it's a small school, the student body are also mostly friends. Pre-Covid, we were always going to a birthday party or an event from one of the students. It's a very close knit community. Many of the parents now know each other as well and hang out socially. The students come in all shapes and sizes. The families come from all walks of life. That was also an important factor for our child. We didn't want a homogenous student body. We specifically sought out diversity. That allowed our child to have lots of exposure to multiple different abilities, cultures and backgrounds that are key to being a well adjusted person. We feel truly blessed with the GlenOak community and the family of students that attend.
(5) School Life
As stated earlier, my child actually looks forward to going to school. She's one of the few kids I know that's sad when it's a weekend or PD day. She quite often falls asleep in the car on the way home, being tired after a full day, but as soon as she's home, she can't wait to tell us everything she learned that day. Every day, there's plenty of group lesson, but my child also has significant one on one time with the teacher. It's during that one on one time that my child truly excels and it's one of the reasons we had to take her out of public school. We can understand that in a class of 20-30 in a public setting, there wouldn't be the opportunity to have one on one time.
An amazing group of parents that are supportive and helpful to each other. As it's a small school, we all know one another quite well and are able to help each other when needed (carpools, supply exchanges etc). There is a regular parent council held that keeps all of us informed on what's going on and what's next. In those sessions, the faculty is available and the rapport between the families and faculty is very good. Otherwise, in non-pandemic times, there were plenty of events where the students and parents could get together and both have fun and also be more deeply involved in the ongoing matters at the school. I am happy with how responsive and reachable the faculty is to the parents.
(4) School Location
The school is in a church basement and as such, it's quite isolated. The students made regular fieldtrips around the neighbourhood and to other places via bus (pre-covid, of course). We live about a 20-30 minute drive from the school (depending on traffic), but I know there are families that drive much further just to give their child the opportunity to attend this school!
I don't think the admission could be any easier. The principal worked closely with us to make sure the school was a good match for my child. When we were both satisfied, admission was a breeze. The main recommendation would be to visit the school a few times and perhaps (if the chance is available) to talk to some of the parents. If the school feels like a right fit, admissions is easy. I'm not sure if GlenOak still offers this, but we sent my child part time for a few months just to see how she would do. The original plan was 3 days public and 2 days GlenOak for several months and see if there was a difference. I'm pleased to say that we stopped that experiment after just a few weeks when there was no doubt who the winner was.