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

Lee Academy:

REVIEW OF Lee Academy BY parent, Jayda Everett

  • Date of Review
    February 26, 2024
  • Child 1
    JK - SK (Female, Current Day Student)
  • Child 2
    Gr. 5 (Female, Current Day Student)

(5) Student Experience

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 for my own children. I toured and observed eight different private schools before selecting Lee Academy. It was an instant feeling of being in the right place, the first time we visited. The first thing I noticed was genuine smiles in the building, from staff and students. This is generally lacking in most schools. Both IQ and EQ are valued here and the concept of modelling consistent excellence is clearly a core value for all staff. The days are highly structured with reliable routines and the students take great comfort in that predictability. The lessons are highly engaging and assignments go beyond regurgitation and memorization... probing deeper thinking. You instantly get the sense that students here are learning HOW to learn, not WHAT to learn. As well, how to effectively function as a member of a working team. Our youngest was fortunate to begin her education in JK at Lee and we sent her off happily with zero reservations on her first day. The small class size and school population mean that everyone is known well and highly valued as a member of the community. The curated individualized programming and highly qualified staff in JK had her reading confidently in no time. We were impressed by the daily communication and care down to the smallest details... the staff are invested and CARE. Our eldest daughter was on the waitlist for many years waiting for her turn to join the dynamic learning that is happening in the upper grades here. There is not shortage of extracurricular activities to choose from every day. Her buy in was instantaneous. One aspect I highly appreciate is the "study hall" and "peer tutoring" which are offered to support student learning outside of instructional time at no additional cost. The rigorous expectations mean that she is constantly reevaluating her own capabilities and surprising herself positively. To say that her confidence has grown academically would be an understatement. She feels empowered as a valuable contributor to the school. We are overjoyed to have both of our girls currently attending and thriving. The recent report card was a testament to how well the staff know their students and see their potential. When conflict or unacceptable student behaviour does arise, I have witnessed staff consistently handle these situations calmly, supportively, fairly and follow up with clear and consistent expectations. I love volunteering in the school frequently and witnessing first-hand the calm environment in which my children are so very fortunate to be spending the bulk of their childhood. We emphatically recommend Lee Academy.

(5) School Leadership

Excellent communication. The Director is infectiously passionate, invested, and a steady leader. Her positive tone radiates throughout the school. The goal is unmistakably to help students become capable, respectable, contributing members of society. (While having a lot of fun along the way!) One thing we admire about the discipline at Lee is that expectations are clear and consistent. Students absolutely understand what is or is not acceptable. When they are off track, we've found the conversations in the office to be firm and kind reminders rather than punitive.

(5) Teaching

This staff has been handpicked to ensure that values and skills align with the school's objectives. And it shows. Both of my daughters have a strong rapport and great respect for all of their teachers. They feel that their teachers LIKE THEM and LIKE TEACHING. What more could you want? The fact that teachers are subject specialists means the lesson content is rich and engaging for students. The most dramatic contrast to the public school setting we have found is the absence of yelling. I have never heard a teacher or student yell in this building, largely because the staff is proactive and helps students navigate frustrations before they escalate. The staff is both approachable and responsive to parents and cultivates a feeling of collaboration. The communication with parents greatly exceeds our expectations.

(5) Academics

The best thing about the academic programming is that the goal is truly student understanding and growth. It is not "for show" or to try to impress parents, as we have experienced in another private school. Students aren't hurried along to the next level until they are individually ready to progress. Having the small class sizes allows for individualized assessment and frequent 1:1 support. Peer tutors are available for students who need extra support. There is an emphasis on both technological and traditional, current and historical, local and global awareness woven throughout the curriculum. Each grade builds on the previous year's learning, and staff are in constant direct communication which is essential for planning this pathway. The opportunities for "high interest" hands-on learning are frequent and students do absorb the information being presented.

(5) Extracurriculars

YES! There are so many options for students to be involved that I often remind our girls that it is okay to just simply go outside to play during recess. Every sport, music, art, Kids Lit Quiz, chess club, Lego club, student-led clubs, the list is truly diverse and endless. One unique aspect of the extracurriculars at Lee is that they are offered to everyone right from JK-8, in contrast to many schools that require students to be in Grade 3 or beyond to join athletics.

(5) Students

Lee boasts a very small student population, which means that all students know one another well and feel a strong sense of connection. There is a clear expectation of mutual respect for staff and students, and it is evident by spending 5 minutes in the building that the culture is generally positive. The house teams and peer mentoring/tutoring create a symbiotic relationship between classes and grades, it does tend to feel as though the entire student body is one larger team. Since there is a limited social pool and extremely limited student turnover within each grade, conflict does naturally arise at times. The school has worked effectively with outside professionals to teach and develop conflict resolution skills that students will take with them into their adult lives.

(5) School Life

Both of our girls love their school and have quickly formed a strong sense of identity around "going to Lee Academy". The uniforms help to promote a sense of belonging. Dinnertime conversations generally revolve around their interesting school experiences and interactions. They work hard at school and have a lot to proudly share with us! The school taps into each student's individual strengths and interests, providing varied opportunities to be involved. Special days such as Winter Olympics, Skating, Swimming, Gymnastics, frequent field trips, themed dress days, and special lunch days create a sense of excitement for the children. One area we are deeply appreciative of is the support staff show for any special needs - educationally, medically, socioeconomically or otherwise. The students are very well supported.

(5) Community

It is a genuinely welcoming environment where families are encouraged to be as involved as they are able. Special events such as welcome BBQ, special lunch days, sporting events, concerts, drama evenings, spelling bees, Kids Lit Quiz, Graduation and more draw families into the school to interact. Parents (and Grandparents) are always welcome to be involved as volunteers or spirit committee members. Every morning begins with "flag", which is a short outdoor gathering of the entire school community designed to share announcements, achievements, and short performances. Parents are always welcome to stay for flag and have some insight into what lies ahead for their child that day. We find it to be an extremely positive and friendly community feel. It would be nice to have an opportunity to meet same-grade parents for incoming JK students... maybe a little social event. As you really do form a team of co-parents to rely on for several years.

(5) School Location

Both campuses operate as more of an island in the way that they are situated on beautiful campuses in the country, surrounded by lush nature. The two campuses do come together frequently for events and trips, which is nice in terms of connection outside of the school itself. Each grade takes regular field trips outside the school grounds. As well, Lee participates in interschool athletic events and leagues such as Cross Country, Track and Field, Volleyball and Basketball. While the campuses may seem remote, the bus service is certainly convenient.

(4.5) Admissions

Apply early! As soon as your child is born, ideally. Take a tour in person. It was not a stressful application process at all, except that enrolment in each grade is limited due to small class sizes. Our greatest regret is waiting until our eldest daughter was 3 to apply and ending up on the waiting list for many years. Fortunately, there is a sibling priority policy, so if you have other children they are likely to secure a space. (One consideration for improvement would be accessibility for all abilities, which currently does not exist. This could be a limiting factor for some applicants.)


More about Lee Academy

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Parent, Nasr Ali (2024)

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