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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, Nasr Ali

  • Date of Review
    February 20, 2024
  • Child 1
    JK (Male, Current Day Student)

(4) Student Experience

My son looks forward to going to school each morning and gets antsy every long weekend because he is eager to go back to school and share his adventures with his friends and teachers. He particularly enjoys the very personal attention he gets from all the staff at the school, from his class teacher, the principal, teachers from other classes, and all the support staff at the school. He interacts and has made friends with, students in his class and other classes, which has significantly improved his social and academic skills. He is a very big fan of the learn-through-experience projects at school and is very proud to share all the things that they've learned from the various school trips and immersive experiences. He appreciates the responsibility instilled in the children through the various jobs they take on at school, and can't wait to be a role model for the next generation of JKs.

(5) School Leadership

We are particularly proud of the leadership team at Lee Academy, and not just because they have managed to do a great job with the North campus. The leadership team is extremely accessible and engaged; the responses are timely, and the decisions are disciplined, fact-based and thoughtful. We also like the collaborative and inclusive approach they have demonstrated in addressing the needs of our son, and our family. Often I walk to the after-care area at home time to pick up my son, only to find him deep in discussion with his principal on topics ranging from the solar system to the bracelet she is wearing - she is patient with him and communicates things at his level of understanding. It is an absolute joy to watch them go at it. On the very rare occasions when he's having an off day, the messaging is firm, clear, and constructive.

(5) Teaching

We have gone through two report cards and a dedicated parent/teacher review session already, and we are heartened by the effort and detail that his class teacher put into those, and everything else she's done so far! When we look at the feedback we received, it resonated immediately and we were happy to discuss ways we can work together to continue to develop and reinforce his strengths while working to progress on his areas of opportunity. My son's class teacher gets an A+ for enthusiasm, effort and professionalism, he absolutely loves her and is rivetted by all she has to say. We were particularly happy to see how his class teacher continues to challenge him, for example with advanced math and reading, and how he has risen to the challenge. As things are for his age group, however, his favorite moments with his class teacher are the individual projects they've done together - like the bird feeder they built, painted, and kept stocked up to feed the birds through winter.

(4.5) Academics

The academic program is a structured one that, for us, is reminiscent of an IB (International Baccalaureate) program. In JK, the children focus on fundamental social and behavioral skills, as well as language, math and basic science. The in-class learning is strongly supported by an immersive component that sees the children supplement, and test out, their learning through community interaction (e.g. school trips to observe things that they have learned about) or experimentation (e.g. build-it-yourself construction projects). The learning is further enhanced by parents and other community remembers, visiting the students and telling them about various practical experiences (nurse, vet, firefighter, engineer ... etc.). There is a French language program and a well-established, and resourced, Arts & Crafts program. Opportunity: a resourced music program

(4.5) Extracurriculars

For our son in JK, we are satisfied with the amount, and quality, of the extracurriculars offered. There are two campuses, so more opportunities for cross-campus events, and both campuses are located within minutes of urban, agricultural and industrial settings, offering ample options for the children. It is mid-year when we wrote this review, and the JK class has already participated in over 6 extracurricular activities. Equally important, is that the extracurriculars cover a wide range of interests and directly complement the learning that is happening in the classroom. For example, following a couple of weeks of learning about space, the group is off to the local planetarium to polish their newly gained wisdom. Downside: the kids will now demand high-resolution telescopes and seats on the next SpaceX launch.

(4) Students

Our son attends Lee Academy North and is part of the inaugural group for that campus. The student-to-teacher ratio is 3:1, which we are confident will increase next year. While it is the case, however, we absolutely love it. The current group is a healthy mix of genders and backgrounds, and the children from all three class levels have formed a close-knit group that works very well together and supports each other. We often muse with our son, that by the time he reaches grade 8 at this campus, he will feel a strong sense of ownership, having been part of the original group that literally planted the home-team trees out in the yard. There is ample opportunity to meet other parents and this contributes to a feeling of ease every morning when we drop him off.

(4.5) School Life

Our son loves going to school every morning, he actively looks forward to it. He usually has a plan about what things he'd experienced at home, or over a weekend, that he wants to share with his teacher or his friends. It is also just as often that he has experimented with something he learned at school and is excited to share the results and his learnings with everyone at school. A typical morning would start with a greeting to his class teacher, followed by the words 'Guess what...' which leads into a lengthy discussion on any given topic. The library and gym at school are favourite destinations for our son, and he is always excited about which book he will discover or try out his new running technique. Opportunity: We would love to see more project-based learning that takes advantage of the unique location of the school, and brings more of the farm to class.

(4.5) Community

We love that the school makes a genuine effort to engage the parents. So far, we have met and interacted with all the parents either on-campus (meet-and-greet barbeque, school play, parent volunteer days ... etc.) or off-campus (school trips, inter-campus varsity sport, birthday parties ... etc.). The school is very welcoming and actively encourages parents' involvement in, and contribution to, school life - one late fall day we walked in to find a beautiful set of landscaping boulders that had been set up over the weekend by a couple of the parents and teachers. We meet, chat, and exchange thoughts, ideas and experiences almost every day at drop-off and pick, with the teachers and parents in an open easy-going environment. We get the opportunity to meet the younger siblings of our son's schoolmates - hopefully the next generation of proud Lee Academy students. We see a few of the Lee Academy alumni back at the school contributing different things, in what is a great demonstration of community- one has a business in facilities management and was awarded a contract with the school, and a couple of the younger ones help during after-care.

(4) School Location

The school is very well situated, amidst farmland and on a quiet well-maintained county road. It is easily accessible off of a minor highway and is a short drive from major urban centers. The children can run and play across the large grounds, without worry of through traffic, and pick-up/drop-off is not a major time drag. Being a few minutes from major cities like Hamilton, Cambridge or Waterloo, also affords access to many extracurricular activities for the children. There is a healthy contingent of schools in the vicinity, allowing for opportunities for cross-learning and varsity competition.

(4.5) Admissions

This was our first experience with admission to JK for our preschooler, and we were happy that the Lee Academy family made it a stress-less (less stressful anyway) and pleasant experience. They promptly answered all of our questions, were generous and un-rushed with their time, and offered us ample opportunity to visit the campus, meet the staff and meet some of the families ahead of time. The administrative portion of registration was simple and mostly handled digitally. Our advice is to come out and meet the staff and the students - that was what sealed the deal for us.


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