My children have had a great experience at Lycée Claudel over the past two years. The bar is set consistently high, yet the teachers are patient and respectful of everyone's abilities and opinions. The assignments given in classes do not only encourage independent thought and mastery of the subject, but also tie as much as possible to the current events the children are going through. Children are busy and do not have time to engage in drama, therefore the inevitable episodes of friction between children seem to dissolve fairly quickly, since they are engaged. During COVID-19 closures, the school, its teachers and the administrative staff have done everything possible to continue with high quality education remotely.
Communication between the school leadership and parents is outstanding. There are weekly updates on the school level, individual communication from classroom teachers as needed, and, in higher grades, daily updates about the content covered in class through an online system. When problems occur, the response of the administration is immediate and of appropriate severity. Direct communication with teachers and even highest level administrators in the school always produces timely and courteous response. Although this is a French school, communication with anglophone families is always accommodated.
The teaching level at Lycée Claudel is exceptional. Teachers are knowledgeable, organized and take pride in their work. Delivery of teaching materials are organized by the school over the summer, and their completeness, from notebooks to writing materials, to learning tools, to books are exceptional. A lot of the learning tools are digital, which the children access through school-allotted iPads. Children are exposed to world-wide literature, discuss current events, learn about world geography, and in-class projects are often encouraged to incorporate Canadian elements. Teachers are responsive to direct communication, from both parents and children. Despite being a French school, the quality of the English elements is also exceptional, with accommodations for multiple levels of English exposure. Overall, the teaching at Lycée Claudel has a great balance between high, but at the same time reasonable expectations.
The school has many different extracurricular opportunities available. Unfortunately, during the two years that my family has been at Lycée, many had to be cancelled or restricted due to COVID restrictions. Yet, even during this difficult time, one-on-one after school activities were available, and middle-school students had an option to register for online entrepreneurship as well as programming courses. Pre-COVID, the skiing club has been very active in the winters, and is exceptionally ran, providing not only easy access to an outdoor activity, but also encouraging camaraderie and creating great memories for the children.
In terms of location, the school is quite isolated. It is located on a dead-end street, with no drive-through traffic. The bus stop is steps away from the school, and many kids commute to school by bus. The school runs school buses as well to select neighbourhoods. Although the school bus routes have been quite limited, the school has communication plans to expand them next year.
The school takes many initiatives to encourage student interaction beyond academics. In pre-COVID years, the students venture on regular outings, including multi-day trips and explorative outings related to taught material. The atmosphere between the students is generally friendly and welcoming (even during middle-school years, a time known for many transitional issues!). The students are strictly monitored during school hours, and any altercations are handled quickly and efficiently. Students are often assigned to work in groups during classes. The school is divided into elementary school (up to grade 5 using Canadian grading system), middle school (grades 6 - 9) and high school, and the social activities are often divided along these groups. It is a bit difficult for me to assess the spirit of the student body overall, since the two years since my children have been attending Lycée have been largely constrained by COVID.
Both my children like the school, and I feel at peace that they are challenged and interact daily with teachers that love teaching and do their best regardless of the circumstances. It is hard to come up with suggestions as to what could be improved, when I have am repeatedly surprised by the enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and competence of Lycée's teachers and administration. Perhaps one area where I would have liked to see improvement is introduction of competitive sports teams at the elementary and middle school levels (soccer, basketball, etc.). This could be a great opportunity for kids to feel part of a team, further develop pride in their school, and form a stronger bond with their classmates. The school does offer many athletics extracurriculars, but they are on a recreational level.
At the elementary and middle school level, the academic program is well-balanced, with regular exposure to history, geography, science, math and art. I repeatedly observed that the teachers have high expectations of the children, and ask for them to formulate their opinions on many different subjects, present their work, and consistently participate in classroom discussions (a rare "insider" insight gained during online school due to COVID closures). Somewhat surprisingly for me, the English program is exceptionally strong, with multiple levels. The highest level of the English classes, which my kids were part of, has a wide exposure to world literature, current affairs, essay writing and grammar. I do not yet been exposed to the academic program at the high school level to comment on advanced-level courses offered at Lycée.
Parents are welcome to be involved in the life of the school through regular parental council meetings (even during COVID closures) and meetings with the teachers. The school runs regular food drives, and contributes to the children's sense of community. All written communication is bilingual. Although in-person communication is mostly done in French, accommodations for Anglophone parents are made as required. Many proposed changes are sent to be reviewed and voted for by the parents (e.g. school uniforms, timings of vacation weeks, introduction of school bus routes). In pre-COVID times, the parents are welcomed to meet the teachers for both group presentations and one-on-one discussions. I think the school does an excellent job involving parents in the life and decision making of the school.