REVIEW OF Lakefield College School BY parent, Elena Millon
- Date of Review
August 05, 2022
Gr. 10 - 11
(5) Student Experience
Our son has had a terrific couple of years at LCS. He has been able to follow his passions (math and computing, areas in which he has traditionally excelled and the school has supported him in participating in Canadian competitions) while exploring new frontiers that have challenged him both on sports fields and academic ones. At all times he has felt supported by his house parent and his teachers, who have shown real care and understanding of his personality. He did also feel really at ease when he had to stay in the school for 10 consecutive months in his first year due to COVID restrictions. The school organized activities during every break and we as parents were always confident he could not be under better care.
(5) School Leadership
We really appreciate the communication, always on time and transparent, most important in the last couple of years given the environment. The school head makes the communication personal, with weekly emails full of content and monthly Zooms with parents (several schedule options to accommodate geographies which requires more dedication on her side). Whenever we have needed any support the response has been prompt and always positive. And whenever there has been an unexpected event, LCS has been proactive in addressing and always with a solution at hand.
Whenever we have talked to our kids' teachers (we like the school so much that we have now two attending) it has been evident the deep knowledge and understanding of our kids' personalities and the genuine care all of the teachers have for them. They have made sure to challenge them and provide them with actionable feedback (e.g. they were not used to writing essays, and now they excel at it). We have also been able to follow their performance on a continuous basis, as the platform used by the school is user-friendly and up to date. Teachers and advisors have been close to support them in making the right course selection for the following academic year. Teachers´ passion has also opened our kids to new horizons that we did not expect them to be so interested in.
LCS provides both diversity and depth across multiple fields. The academic tracks are well designed and provide clear paths for university. We have loved the "outdoors every day" philosophy that is carried out without any negative effect on the academic level. We are also big supporters of the module approach that has been implemented in the last couple of years. Our kids have enjoyed the longer class sessions and the changes of focus during the year. We also like the way the school recognizes strong academic performance without making specific student successes overwhelming for the rest of the community. The workload seems to be intense but not overwhelming, and there is always support easily accessible if needed. LCS makes an effort to continuously innovate which is highly appreciated.
LCS offers plenty of extracurricular options, both sports-related but also multiple clubs. Our kids have explored different sports, group and individual, and had enjoyed their involvement in several clubs (math, computing, photography, cooking). In particular, we appreciate the opportunity our son has had to continue to compete in math challenges while enjoying other experiences in a more relaxed environment to discover himself. Every time we get them back at home we can appreciate their increased maturity and their broader set of interests in life.
LCS has a great size and a nice mix of boarders and day students that creates a very close connection with the local community. The student body is diverse and balanced across geographies, providing a good opportunity of crossing cultures. Our kids have made great friends, some from their own houses some they have met in class or in extracurriculars. We have not heard a single bad experience in these two years, which we credit to LCS values, staff and culture that really appears to be able to develop well-rounded easy-going individuals. The best testimony was a few weeks ago during spring break when after 10 days at home it was evident they were ready to go back to their friends at their other home.
(5) School Life
Our kids love LCS. The School provides a fun but still structured environment in which to enjoy with peers, a great balance between the freedom teenagers should enjoy and the learning of growing with responsibility. Houses have a good size and create enough intimacy to connect with the other students. Clubs bring kids with similar interests together. Sports provide opportunities to interact across generations. School provides alternatives to fulfill community service requirements fitting different personalities. There are plenty of activities to choose from but also the space for kids to have time on their own when they prefer so. In particular, LCS has done a terrific job in these years to provide alternatives when travel was not an option or was too risky, with staycations during long weekends and breaks.
We have always felt involved without feeling overwhelmed. LCS makes an effort to invite parents to events, but the last couple of years have been challenging. Communication has been constant and rich, and always with an opportunity to make it two-way and with fast responses. We have had multiple interactions and have been able to provide input in school decisions, and already exploring ways to get more involved going forward to support the school in the years to come. The School also makes an effort to connect parents with newcomers in the geography and we have developed relations with some other families and supported each other with travel plans. all this is done in a respectful and optional way, without any pressure from the School.
(5) School Location
LCS has an amazing location. Obviously, winters can be tough but the staff makes sure the kids are always in a positive mood and experience the outside even on the toughest days. The campus is just a dream, and the farm has been a great addition to the experience. The lake is a great playground in the warmer months. Lakefield is close by and is a safe and welcoming environment that students can visit frequently.
Our experience with the admissions process has been extremely easy and smooth despite the distance. We had the opportunity to meet before COVID and the school accommodated the interview on a date when we happened to be in the area. Communication was always on time and with enough lead time to get student permits arranged (which has been also a challenge in the last years). LCS did make an effort to get to understand our kids and their preferences, and both have been extremely happy with their assigned house. We did follow the advice of signing them up for the "transition" course and that helped a lot getting them settled. In a way, the Admissions experience is a great preview of the overall LCS experience: open, two-way and pleasant to deal with.