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Lee Academy:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 8 — Sheffield, ON (Map)

Lee Academy:

REVIEW OF Lee Academy BY Alum, Aibhlin Rogers

  • Date of Review
    May 01, 2024
  • Grades (year)
    JK - Gr. 8 (2013 - 2023)
  • Gender
  • Enrolment
    Day Student

(5) Overall Experience

I attended Lee Academy from four to fourteen years of age, and I have so many fond memories from my time there. My parents took me to visit it the year before Junior Kindergarten, and I was so excited to attend Lee Academy that every morning after I would ask “Is today the day I get to start school?”. What truly makes Lee special is the people, from students to staff and teachers. You never have to worry if you are struggling with schoolwork because someone will help you. You never have to stay sad, because someone will comfort you. When I broke my wrist on the playground in kindergarten, three students were immediately there to help me up and find assistance, and in my ten years at Lee Academy the small class sizes have made me and my classmates feel more like brothers and sisters than schoolmates. When arriving at Lee Academy for the first time, you can expect to be welcomed by the entire student body first thing in the morning, connect with teachers as they get to know you and guide you through your day, and talk eagerly with just about every student in your grade. Everyone looks forward to meeting new students and makes a point of speaking with you when you begin school. It doesn’t take long to settle into the new school dynamics, either. Students frequently begin at Lee in grade seven or eight, and by graduation, they have powerful bonds and friendships built. It’s all part of the school’s welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Going forward in my life, I feel confident tackling challenges and making decisions, as Lee Academy teaches you in all aspects of life. Learning common computer skills, building healthy habits, fostering healthy relationships with others, finding conflict resolution solutions, building resilience and perseverance, and encouraging kindness are just some of the skills in Lee Academy’s non-academic curriculum. As amazing as Lee’s English curriculum is, I do not have the words to express how incredible and inspiring the people that make up the school are and my love for the school.

(5) School Leadership

The administration at Lee Academy is excellent. Everyone at the office is friendly and kind, and always happy to help. All the students look forward to seeing and talking to them. School events and clubs are always organized efficiently, with parents notified in advance. You could tell from the way the administration spoke that they respected the students and in turn students respected them. The directors of our North and South campuses, Mrs. Wiersma and Mrs. Will respectively, are both incredible. They work with students gently but firmly to resolve conflict efficiently, and as a result, major tension is rarely present in the school community for long. It is also evident that they both love their jobs and working with children. They get to know each student personally. Something that I valued during my upper grades at Lee Academy is how they were truly interested in what each student had to say, and valued our insight and opinions despite being young.

(5) Teaching

The teachers at Lee Academy are what makes the school so special to me. They are kind and clearly passionate about what they teach. The relationship between teacher and student is formal, we recognize their authority and knowledge, but they are always happy to have a conversation about anything with you. They are approachable, I have never hesitated to bring up a question or concern with them and communicate clearly and engagingly. They always push you to do your best as well. On several occasions, teachers will tell students “This is good, but I know it’s not your best work.” Because of this, all students show remarkable improvement between the start of a school year and the end. My French teacher, Mr. Boyer, not only taught us grammar and vocabulary but also shared stories from when he lived or visited French-speaking parts of the world. He taught us about French culture, customs, and history, and I believe those stories kept my class engaged as we worked through fundamentals. My science teacher, Ms. Landoni, always worked to instill in us curiosity and a scientific mindset. She never discouraged us from asking questions, welcoming and answering them fully. She also encouraged further discussion on concepts we read about in class. The teacher who had a huge influence on my experience at Lee Academy was my English and World Studies teacher, Mrs. Wiersma. Sure, she taught me grammar, reading comprehension, writing, geography and history, but she also gave me another powerful skill - a love of learning. Her enthusiasm while teaching, engaging classes, and connections to real life during lessons were invaluable to my elementary education. She is also committed to helping students grow as people. She and my gym teacher, Mr. O’hanian, started discussions about current events and issues, helping us to understand the world and develop a sense of how privileged we are. I would not be the same person, academically or personally, without these amazing role models in my life.

(5) Academics

Lee Academy has an extremely strong academic program. All the teachers are passionate and dedicated to helping students learn, and the school takes a very effective approach to delivering the curriculum. Younger grades focus on developing a strong foundation in the basics, such as multiplication and division skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, reading, writing, and French vocabulary, and more complex topics are carefully built on top of it. For example, the primary (grades JK to 3) and junior (grades 4 to 6) French programs focus heavily on building vocabulary, using common phrases in both speaking and writing and reading skills, while the senior (grades 7 and 8 program) aims to establish an understanding of French grammar and verb conjugation, as well as writing skills. This has served me well in secondary school French, giving me a wide variety of words to use in writing assignments and correct grammar in sentences. The organization of units in each subject is also carefully arranged, in an effort to encourage students to make connections between topics. For example, operations of integers was taught just before algebra in grade 7 math, so students are able to use them comfortably when solving equations ( both units, by the way, that are re-taught in grade 9 math). Most students would take academics seriously, often choosing to finish math assignments or study French vocabulary during breaks. Despite how seriously studies are taken at Lee Academy, students are always collegial and not often competitive. In fact, students often work together during math class to solve problems and help each other prepare for tests or finish assignments. One special feature of the school’s academic program is exams. Grade 7 students write a geography midterm in February and English, math, and history finals in May. Grade 8 students write math, English, and world studies finals in May as well. Preparation is also done for exams, with teachers helping along the way, meaning that (according to our grade eight teacher) only one student has ever failed an exam. This is extremely helpful moving into secondary school, as students are prepared with the knowledge on how to best study for exams.

(5) Extracurriculars

Lee Academy has many different opportunities for extracurriculars, from clubs to sports. Students have the opportunity to join volleyball, soccer, basketball, and Kids Lit Quiz (‘The Sport of Reading’) competitively against other schools, and volleyball and ball hockey for fun. Clubs are also a big part of life at Lee Academy, with options to participate in chess club, math club, Magic Card club, Lego club, environment club, and more. Students are also encouraged to start their own clubs. In fact, I even started an environmentalist club. Many of the extracurriculars, like Kids Lit Quiz, math club, and chess club, provide great enrichment experiences. For example, applying math concepts we were working on in class to more difficult problems gives more meaning and understanding to them. Students are also encouraged to volunteer within the school. There are opportunities to tutor younger students, organize the library, and score keep for volleyball and basketball games. Overall, Lee Academy’s extracurricular activities

(5) Students

Lee Academy has a student body of about 160, with 16 students in each class. The small class sizes mean that each child gets individual attention and support from all their teachers, and the small student body means that you know everybody. I couldn’t walk down the hallways without greeting someone, even if they were in a different grade! Lee’s students are also very supportive of one another, and value kindness as a student body. Kids in the same grade will help each other study for tests, understand concepts, and complete assignments, and are always equal contributors during group projects. Whether you were good friends with fellow group members or not, it was easy to work together because they value others so highly. The school also encourages students to work and help other grades. Each junior kindergarten student (and new students beginning in a primary grade) is assigned a grade 5 “recess buddy”. The older students spend recess with their buddies for the first few weeks of school, helping them to make new friends and learn the rules of the playground. It is also a great source of comfort for younger students, having someone older they trust to help them with problems or even just to say hello to at recess. Older students are also encouraged to assist younger students with academics, for example, kindergarten grades will have one or two joint classes a week with the grade five and six students (called reading and math buddies), where the younger students get the opportunity to build skills and confidence, and older students have a chance to practice leadership and mentorship skills. Often, my grade seven and eight teacher would send me and my classmates to one of the primary grades to assist the teacher with lessons or the students with work. Many students are in the same class with each other for ten years (and those who start in later grades are quickly incorporated and valued in the group), meaning they build very special bonds with each other. I had an incredible group of classmates, and by grade eight, we felt more like siblings than schoolmates.

(5) School Life

I absolutely loved going to school at Lee Academy. I always looked forward to seeing my classmates and teachers. What made it such a special place to go to school was the people. Everyone was so positive and energetic in the morning, truly looking forward to seeing you. While students may not be especially passionate about academics, the teachers did a fantastic job to keep them engaged. Everyone found something to be passionate about - sports, clubs, volunteering, or something else. Teachers also worked with students to reduce stress, by breaking down projects into smaller tasks and being there to discuss issues that may be causing them stress. It was not simply academic issues that teachers worked with students to resolve, they also improved community between students. Because of this, most students are really happy at Lee Academy. I miss going to school there every single day.

(5) Community

I cannot think of a more amazing community to be a part of than Lee Academy’s. Everyone was so close with one another, that you were able to have a conversation with practically anyone in the school. The school organizes many different community-building activities, such as a family barbecue every fall, jump rope and hoops for heart outdoor afternoon, and “Winter Olympics”. Students are given the opportunity to work with students from other grades and participate in team-building activities. Parents are also encouraged to be a part of the school community. They are invited to come along on field trips, visit for special afternoons such as the Winter Olympics and track and field, and volunteer at the school, helping students with work or kindergarten students with crafts. You can tell that parents really are a part of the community, because all the teachers, whether they teach your child or not, know the parents and are happy to talk to them. The alumni community is strong as well. Many former students return to the school on P.D. days to volunteer and assist the teachers, and the teachers always work to stay in contact with their students. The Lee Academy community will always be a special part of my life.

(4.5) School Location

Lee Academy is located on a Christmas tree farm in rural Lynden. It is, however, located in a central location between Hamilton, Brantford, and Cambridge. This allows students to experience a variety of educational field trips, such as the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, McMaster University’s planetarium, and swimming at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Center. Students do not leave the property during school hours, except for planned excursions. We are situated far back from the road, allowing students to explore the property safely and worry-free, and are surrounded by beautiful forest. One of the most unique features of the school’s location is the pond and nature loop. The path winds through the forest around the edge of the pond, allowing for beautiful views at all times of day. It has a fence to keep us safe while we enjoy it. It is often used for morning nature walks, science classes, and cross-country running. My mother told me once that her favourite part of the day was school drop-off when she could breathe in the morning country air, taking in the sunrise over the water. The pond is home to a variety of wildlife species as well. Younger students often report seeing herons, geese (including their nests and eggs), ducklings, blue jays, cardinals, squirrels, snakes, and chipmunks on nature walks. The rural setting also allows for wonderful outdoor play and education, even snowshoeing in the winter!

(5) Admissions

The admission process at Lee Academy is straightforward, while also being helpful and informative to parents. Simply register online, and you will be invited out to visit whichever campus you are interested in. During this experience, you will get to meet the amazing directors, inspiring teachers, and incredible students, tour the campus, and spend a day, or half day if you are entering junior kindergarten, with the classmates you will be spending your school day with. My mother remembers visiting the school before I started, over ten years ago, and how articulate, polite, and helpful every student she met was. This experience is extremely helpful, as it allows you to meet the kind people that are going to be an interval part of your school experience. I remember meeting two students in particular on their visitation days, forging friendships with them before they were even enrolled in our class.


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Parent, Jayda Everett (2024)

Gr. 5 (current),JK to SK (current) — If you are looking for an environment with high standards and staff who go above and beyond, you've arrived. As an Elementary teacher in a public school board, I knew I wanted something different ...


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