Our children are both happy at school. They have good relationships with their teachers and they seem to know their peers in a variety of grades. They do not have any real complaints. They enjoy all the special days and events that they can get excited about. Our children get occasional homework, but it usually takes less than one hour, and is often a bit of math homework. They do reading reach day and actively engage in the accelerated reading program. But it doesn't seem too much. When there are large projects, there is plenty of warning. The teachers seem to be very caring and our kids respond to that with a desire to impress and work hard. The teachers seem to have a very set curriculum.
In general, the school leadership seems kind and caring and well intentioned. They seem to relate well with the kids. In most cases there is communication with the parents, though at times, like with the uniform initiative, there could have been better communication. At times, things seem a little last minute, or there is an expectation that parents should just know how they do things.
I think the teaching is fine. There are times when maybe it could be a bit more adventurous and get students involved in current events or issues that face our world or the people who live in it. My children have generally felt connected to their teachers and have always found that each teacher did something particularly well. I would like to see more focus on things like orange shirt day, to raise awareness of residential schools, as an example. It's relevant, and I think it gets kids passionate about issues that will continue to be important as they get older. Anything that helps to build empathy and citizenship is good.
The academics will prepare the students for high school. The kids have learned the various skills they need for success. They take their work seriously and the teachers respond in kind. I think there might be a possibility of moving a little quicker and being a bit more exacting in writing and in math facts, however that's a fine balance to walk with kids. I have never, at any time, felt like a teacher wasn't doing their job or was not fulfilling their responsibility. The school is a Christian school, and I find the teachers are quite intentional about working that into that into their teaching in a fluid way. I like how science, for example, is taught as creation studies.
There are clubs and sports teams. I would say there is enough for students to sink their teeth into. My children enjoyed the lunch clubs and one was on student council, which she found empowering.
In general, the student body is the best part of the school. I feel in general that the kids come to learn and they are engaged and they have a positive attitude toward the school. I enjoy going for evening events and seeing the kids interact together. Our kids are always excited to have us there and proudly show off their school. This is a good sign.
Again, in general, the kids do like going there. They seem to be happy and don't encounter a lot of conflict. They aren't worried or anxious about school. They do really enjoy all the various non school things available and would probably enjoy more of those experiences, though, of course, it is a balance. A culture of cross grade sharing is present at times, but perhaps this could be developed a bit further, with older students having greater opportunities for leadership, and the younger students with greater opportunities to see what things can be like for them in the future. There has been some good work this year about bullying. Some of those programs have really hit home with our children. All in all, things are good in this area.
The community of John Knox is certainly an attractive feature. I like knowing a lot of the parents. Often I know parents from other places, which is good. I also think that it is very important that this be cultivated and not undervalued. I like how parents are involved in the school community in a variety of ways and I like that parents are invited into the school for events like celebration of learning. We feel comfortable with sending our kids to birthday parties and play opportunities. Also, we've had good experiences working on committees and other volunteer situations.
The school has a fine, fairly central location. I haven't given this very much thought. There could probably be a way to become more involved in the communities around, but this isn't a high priority for me. The school seems to have enough parking and it is easy to get in and out of. The buses seem to work well in terms of getting the students to school effeciently.