REVIEW OF Havergal College BY parent, Ruth Ley
- Date of Review
May 29, 2019
Gr. 1 - Gr. 8
(5) Student Experience
My daughter loves attending Havergal and each year gets better for her! She looks forward to each and every day. She loves her friends, the clubs, programs and most important the faculty and staff at Havergal and the support they give her. She loves that the VP of the school is her baseball coach and that she can sit next to him on on a 2 hour bus ride and have a fun and engaging conversation. She loves that her PE teacher tells her jokes and she can joke back, she loves that she can go to her guidance councillor and ask about anything, she loves going to her math teacher to get extra help and get chocolate out of his candy bowl, she is so grateful that the people in the food service department will spend hours going through garbage to look for her retainer. These types of stories come in daily from my daughter. There is no question that the academics and athletic programs at Havergal are very strong but it is these types of special moments and acts of kindness from the faculty and staff that make Havergal stand out above all the other schools. Havergal prioritizes the wellbeing of the girls and the teacher and faculty play a huge part in laying a solid foundation for self-esteem and confidence in the girls.
(4.5) School Leadership
To best describe the Havergal leadership team, I will refer to a quote that I read recently about leadership by Elenor Roosevelt: "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others use your heart". The leadership and administration team are all more than capable, professional, strategic and are ahead of all the relevant and pressing issues that students face. What the leadership team does best is handle each and every situation in a caring and compassionate way. They truly care about the well being of all the girls and they put the girl's interests fist. This comes loud and clear in any discipline issue or problem. One thing Havergal is very sensitive to is effective communication. It's hard to satisfy everyone regarding communication but Havergal takes this very seriously and they are constantly reviewing the effectiveness of their communication.
The teaching staff at Havergal is second to none. They are not only hard working but so passionate in what they do and the girls education. Here is another quote that best describes the teachers "Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion". It is clear that the teachers at Havergal are a passionate group. They collectedly make an incredible team of educators. As a parent, I receive frequent feedback (both positive and constructive ) from my daughter's teachers. My daughter suffered from a concussion during the year and had to miss quite a bit of time from school. The teachers were so supportive and creative in helping my daughter not get too far behind.
The academic program at Havergal soundly prepares our girls for life's next steps. My daughter is only in grade 8 but what I can see so far is that she is fully prepared and confident for each year that is ahead of her. The academics are quite rigorous at Havergal, however the faculty works with each girl to make sure they can handle the stress of academics, athletics, and extracurriculars. They council the girls to not take on more than they can handle. Most girls want to participate in several clubs and sports but Havergal, strongly recommends one athletic club at a time so that girls can have a well balance school year. The school also gives several talks to the parents on how to help their daughters manage school life balance which is quite helpful.
There are almost too many clubs and sports at Havergal! There are so many opportunities from athletics, arts, music, special interests, community partnerships. The opportunities are honestly endless. There are special day 9 opportunities for the girls to have experiential learning. The last day 9, my daughter went to the Toronto Islands to clean garbage from the beaches and she learned all about recycling and garbage in a hands on way. The athletics at Havergal are very strong. The teams are very competitive but also nurturing. There is an A team and a B team for those that don't make the A team. There is always a spot for everyone. As mentioned before, there are several music bands, orchestras, clubs, drama and arts clubs, photography clubs, debating, quilting, cooking, the options are endless.
Havergal's student body is a high energy, inclusive and friendly group. There is definitely a huge effort by most of the girls to scatter positivity and good cheer amongst their peers. I can mainly speak to my daughter's grade but new girls are welcomed with open arms. There are several events and opportunities for new girls to get integrated with the rest of the grade. The house system helps with mixing up social groups and for spreading school spirit. Havergal has a sprit week and several house shout days where the girls do their best to show their school spirit. It is all fun and inclusive and these are my daughters favourite days. As well as the numerous clubs and teams make it fun for the girls and is a great opportunity for girls to meet and make friends with other girls.
(5) School Life
It is clear that Havergal prioritizes a positive and healthy school life for the girls. They put a lot of work into the well being of all their girls - from programs, talks at prayers, staff ie. social workers, physio therapists, councillors - from the nurturing and caring faculty, senior leadership team all the way down to training the parents. It is all about the wellbeing of the girls and a positive student life. My daughter loves attending school because of the many examples given in the first question. The school has a positive and happy buzz to it. Starting from the early morning with the security guard waving and smiling at the girls, to the faculty and staff knowing all the girls names, heads of schools coaching teams and engaging with the girls. All these things make the girls feel special and important and sets a strong foundation for a positive school life for the girls at Havergal College.
The Havergal Parent's association's mandate is all about increasing parent engagement and fostering community spirit. Each and every parent is a member of the parent's association and welcome to participate in all the events. There several events each month and over hundreds of volunteer opportunities. Each year, there are more and more opportunities to volunteer. The parent association is equally split between the Junior and Upper school and has several men and women both stay at home and full-time working parents on the committee as well as several parents where English in not their first language. I have not only made several friends from volunteering but I feel my daughter appreciates me being at her school and taking an interest in her activities there. I appreciate Havergal giving me several opportunities to be part of their community.
(4.5) School Location
The school property is a stunning oasis in midtown Toronto. The grounds sit on several acres of beautiful treed land with a small creek running through it. The facilities are incredible with their athletic centre, theatre, dining hall and fields just to name a few. The school is going though a huge building upgrade so it will be even more beautiful next year.