Ottawa, ON | Grades 1 - 12 | Shortlist
Due to the low number of students the selection of courses is a little compressed from that which you might experience elsewhere, but options are always available. As they reach the higher grades, this can mean that there are even fewer kids per class and classes are often shared with other courses. While I was hesitant about this at first, it seems to work, further evidence that they are teaching independent work in a busy environment which I did not think was something our son could do. The approach is much more individualized which enables the material to be learned effectively. They also have opportunities to attend many outside school testing and programs which fosters confidence. The students are brought to understand that they are not defined by their differences but rather to embrace them and build on it.
The smaller size classrooms leads to better exchange of information, explanation of concepts and engagement with the teacher and peers. My daughter is doing so much better than she had been at her previous school. It is such a relief. My daughter is completing Academic level courses with more ease than she did doing Applied in her previous school. Teachers make the learning interactive and interesting. I believe students and parents can choose applied-level courses, but in my daughter's case. The advanced curriculum is easier to understand when there is a constant checking in that the information is well received and understood. Admin will customize a schedule that meets the need of the student as best they can. During her summer school, she is excelling at Academic English and is completing work in advance. She chalks this up to the subject and the teacher's ability to capture the students interest.
The focus on practical and experiential learning is excellent. Students are encouraged to think about their future and plan their academics accordingly. In later years, they are encouraged to advocate for themselves, which will serve them well in their futures. Teaching the children to be independent is a key aspect of the academic culture at Heritage. I think the academic program will prepare them for life's next steps, but am sometimes concerned that postsecondary school will be a bit of a culture shock. Because it is a small school, there are fewer elective choices available for high school courses, which is disappointing at times for the students. That said, it is more important that the few teachers at the school teach the available subjects well than if they tried to spread themselves too thinly across more subjects.
The reason I am submitting this review four years after my daughter left Heritage is because I wanted to report back. Charlotte went from reading at a grade 1/2 level in grade 4 to have an 85% average at Canterbury High School and having just been accepted into all 5 universities that she applied to. I would say the 'proof is in the pudding'. In addition to teaching the kids the curriculum and skills they need in the future they also teach them to advocate for themselves and to understand they learn differently and that it is ok. Our daughter has continued to use the learning skills she acquired at Heritage and to know when she needs extra help and that it is ok to ask for it. For the most part, she has not needed many accommodations in high school but has been ok asking for them when she needs them.