Macdonald-Cartier Academy teaches Grade 7 & 8 students how to learn and offers a French immersion program combining rigorous and accelerated academics with athletics and fun experiential learning. Class sizes are kept small to provide an individualized education environment. Fluently bilingual, highly qualified educators help students reach their full potential–equipping them with computer, time management, listening, note taking and studying skills that serve them well in high school and university.
Our Take: Macdonald-Cartier Academy
Macdonald-Cartier was formed in 1990 to offer a challenging, academic, bilingual program, and it’s been happily and successfully been doing it ever since. The student body is small, with just 60 students annually, which translates into a very responsive, student-centered approach to curriculum delivery. The intention is somewhat unique, namely to give students a strong preparation for high school with an eye to university admission. The feel, as the name implies, is very rooted in a sense of place, and in that the school is an expression of the cultural and historical life of the national capital region. Likewise, there are a wealth of resources located locally, and Macdonald-Cartier rightly makes very good use of them.
Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.
Curriculum approach at MCA Academy : Traditional
MCA Academy has a Traditional approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Traditional?]
Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 44%   Liberal arts - 15%   Progressive - 27%   Montessori - 13%   Reggio Emilia - 0%   Waldorf - 1%
What MCA Academy says: The program is designed to prepare the student for his/her learning needs in high school and college or university. At MCA we specialize in teaching grade seven and eight students the basic learning skills that are not always mastered in elementary school but are essential for those who want to excel in high school and university. We carefully select the students who demonstrate average to above average academic abilities. In doing so, we can accelerate the academic program and teach the student the skills to become responsible and efficient learners and workers. All MCA teachers work on these four keys to learning: the ability to listen in a classroom setting; note taking; time management of homework and corrections; and, methods for exam preparation. The student will have post exam evaluations six times a year where he/she will choose and try different strategies learned in Educational Anthropology class to maintain or improve their academic progression.
These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 67%   Traditional math - 28%   Discovery math - 5%
What MCA Academy says: Develop a positive attitude toward Mathematics;
Develop an appreciation for the place of Mathematics and its widespread applications in our culture;
Develop problem-solving abilities and facility in communication skills involving the use of language and notation of Mathematics;
Consolidate and extend his/her skills in arithmetic, algebra, measurement and geometry;
Participate in those experiences that will lay a foundation for the development of more abstract features of Mathematics in later grades
Textbooks and supplementary materials: Grade 7: Actimath 8 and Omnimath 8 plus several tablet applications.
Grade 8: Actimath 9 and Omnimath 9 plus several tablet appications.
Calculator policy: Grade 7: 70% of work with no calculator / 30% of work with the assistance of the calculator
Grade 8: 40% of work with no calculator / 60% of work with the assistance of the calculator
When possible, mental calculation is strongly encouraged.
Teaching approach: Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that the skills and processes of scientific work are presented as the central component, from which the subject matter, applications and implications emerge. Safety awareness will be stressed in all activities and demonstrations in laboratory. Small group discussions and the Expo-Science independent study will provide the student the opportunity to express opinions and exchange information within the context of a formal learning situation.
These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.
Literature at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 74%   Traditional - 22%   Social justice - 4%
What MCA Academy says: Through interaction with their peers and teacher, students will engage in reading,writing and speaking activities which will: 1) promote understanding and enjoyment of literature as will as an appreciation of its significance in the history of human experience and imagination; 2)
encourage proficiency in the mechanics of English composition and i the use of spoken and written language for a variety of purposed suited tn specific audiences; 3) develop the ability to think critically and to respond thoughtfully to ideas communicated through various media.
What MCA Academy says: The History program will enable students to develop abilities that will permit them to understand the influences of people and events that have marked our Canadian History. this will help them to better appreciate the realities of Canada today.
Through Geography the program shall permit the students to know, understand and better perceive general characteristics proper to North America and by studying people and their interaction with the environment, throughout the world.
What MCA Academy says: The French Language Arts program shall promote, encourage and give opportunities to the students and teachers through activities and assignments to: - become more proficient in the oral, listening and written skills, enabling the students to think, learn and communicate in French; gain self-esteem, pride and a sense of personal responsibility through experience emanating from the French Language Arts program; develop an awareness and an appreciation of the French culture and society.
Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
What MCA Academy says: Students will take part of a 3 hour workshop every month in Visual Arts. During these three hour sessions, the students will get acquainted with various artistic movements and experiment with some basic techniques.
A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net
Heavy integration - 31%   Light integration - 21%   Medium integration - 48%
What MCA Academy says: The principal objective in Computer Science is to familiarize the students with hardware, software and applications that will serve them in school and in life. Some of the software covered will be: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Research.
What MCA Academy says: Understanding the importance of physical fitness, health, and well being and the factors that contribute to them.
Improving the basic movement skills they require to participate in physical activities throughout their lives.
Personal commitment to daily physical activity and positive health behaviors.
Sex and health education approach at MCA Academy : Ontario curriculum
MCA Academy has an Ontario curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).
[Show: About Ontario curriculum?]
The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.
Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net
Follows provincial curriculum - 54%   Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 46%
Approach to sex and health education:
MCA Academy has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).
[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
MCA Academy 's approach to sex-ed: The sex and health education program curriculum is presented to the parents and they always have the choice to have their child opt out of any section of the curriculum.
This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.
Curriculum Pace approach at MCA Academy : Accelerated
MCA Academy has an Accelerated approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Student-paced approach).
[Show: About Accelerated?]
The main curriculum accelerates beyond the pace of the provincial one; ALL students do the work of OLDER public-school peers in tangible and measurable ways. This accelerated pace is maintained by the teachers and school, (through textbook selection, topic selection, grading, assignment standards and expectations, etc).
What MCA Academy says: Since 1990, the MCA Mathematics program has been accelerated. We believe that our students enjoy the fast paced Math program that covers all of the grade 7 program plus some grade 8 units in grade 7 and the full grade 8 program plus some grade 9 units in grade 8.
Flexible pacing style
Flexible pacing style
Multi-age classrooms as standard
Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
Regular guided independent study opportunities
What MCA Academy says about flexible pacing: Each day, the students have a one hour and twenty minute study period where they undertake, in a large central room or the computer lab, the completion of their daily homework, continue to work on long term assignments or receive individual help from a teacher.
Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.
Academic Culture approach at MCA Academy : Rigorous
MCA Academy has a Rigorous approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Supportive approach).
[Show: About Rigorous?]
A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Rigorous - 48%   Supportive - 52%
What MCA Academy says: The students at MCA understand that the program exists to encourage all participants to learn how to learn. To be able to do so, the students will need to work and adjust to become more efficient, responsible and capable. Our goal is to have the students work hard and play hard, with a big smile on their faces.
Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.
Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
"Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation."
Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
What MCA Academy says: At MCA we focus on middle school students and three facets of their development. The first is the academic facet that encompasses a challenging, fast-paced program. The second is the social facet where we encourage students to say \"bonjour\" and to be engaged, friendly and positive. The third facet is physical where we introduce students to a variety of challenging activities such as long distance cycling, canoe-camping and rock-climbing/zip lining. We find that the satisfaction of hard work combined with time for play can bring a smile to the face of a grade seven and eight student.
Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.
MCA Academy offers No support
MCA Academy offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.
What MCA Academy says about their special need support: We are a small school geared to preparing our students, through an accelerated program, for high school and beyond. Our staff does not have the expertise to help the student who is diagnosed with a learning disability. We do accommodate students who have mild difficulties and we do make adjustments to help them enjoy the program to the best of their abilities.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
Language Processing Disorder
This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
Drug and alcohol abuse
This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.
Dedicated gifted programs:
Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)
Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)
What MCA Academy says: The Mathematics program is accelerated and all students are involved in a guided independent study program. The Science program is enriched by adding two full curriculum units in each year. One of those units is an ongoing research project run in parallel with the regular science program where students are introduced to the scientific method of research. The English program introduces the student to research essay writing and literature not normally taught until high school.
Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.
In grade Gr. 8, MCA Academy students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.
What MCA Academy says about their flipped classroom policy: This information is not currently available.
While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.
While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.
What MCA Academy says:
sports: cross-country running, soccer, basketball, volleyball, badminton, ultimate, track.
Experiential education activities:
canoe-camping, long distance cycling/camping, outdoor rock climbing, zip lining/hiking, leadership and survival skills, alpine skiing, X-country skiing, dog sledding, white water rafting.
Arts and culture:
Drama production, public speaking /debating
Competitive sports: 4 Recreational sports: 5
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Macdonald-Cartier Academy offers 6 clubs and extracurricular programs.
This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of school, living arrangements, what’s included in tuition, school location, resources, and facilities. Many private schools in Canada have tuition that ranges between $6,000 and $12,000 a year. While some schools, such as schools which provide room and board, can be more expensive, many of these schools provide ways to defray the costs of tuition. For instance, they may offer merit-based scholarships or needs-based financial aid (often referred to as “bursaries” or “subsidies”).
What MCA Academy says about their tuition: Tuition for the school year is $16,900. It includes all sports activities (tournament , transportation and team uniforms). All activity fees are included ( 3 day trips/ 1 day trips - cycling, rock climbing, zip lining dog sledding etc...).
Additional costs include optional trips such as: Europe trip during the March Break and the White Water Rafting trip at the end of the school year.
Need-based financial aid
Macdonald-Cartier Academy does not offer need-based financial aid.
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some larger schools have enrolment numbers in the thousands, while some smaller schools have only a few dozen students. Boarding schools tend to be on the larger side, while alternative schools, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, are normally smaller. Besides the overall size of school, there are other important facts you’ll want to know about a school’s enrolment. For instance, here you can learn about a school’s enrolment for separate streams (if they have them), such as day and boarding, its average class size, and its average enrolment per grade.
Gr. 7 to Gr. 8
Average class size
10 to 16
% of international students (total enrolment)
Number of different nationalities within student population
Private schools in Canada have admissions policies. All schools have some required application materials, though these vary between schools. These may include letters of application, application fees, essays, and exams (such as the SSAT). Many schools also require interviews with prospective students, either with their parents, on their own, or both. Schools also have different standards and priorities when evaluating student applications, different acceptance rates (which may vary between grade levels), and target different kinds of students. To improve your child’s chances of acceptance, you should find out everything you can about a school’s admissions policies and how they assess applicants.
7 - 8
SSAT (out of province)
7 - 8
Day students: Rolling
Offer mid-year entry:
Application fee: N/A
Registration fee: N/A
What MCA Academy says:
Prior to acceptance, all students must successfully complete qualification examinations. Normally these examinations are taken in the fall of the year prior to entrance. Applicants must submit a copy of their most recent report card.
Applicants will be interviewed by a MCA administrator. The interview is designed to determine the applicant's willingness to work within a disciplined environment, and to verify the accuracy of reports submitted.
Acceptance Rate: 85%
This is the percentage of applicants typically accepted into the school. So if 50 students are admitted out of 100 applicants, the school has an overall acceptance rate of 50%.
Student Entry Points
This shows approximately how many openings there are likely to be in each grade in a typical year, as well as the estimated acceptance rate for each grade level.
Day Acceptance (Acceptance rate)
24 - 32 (85%)
1 - 2 (50%)
Type of student MCA Academy is looking for:
MCA's program was designed for students who demonstrate average to above average academic abilities. Students must be willing to work in a organized and disciplined environment and be willing to undertake challenges that are of academic and/or physical nature.
B.E.P. University of Ottawa, Dip. Ed., Université du Québec
MCA was founded in 1990 to offer parents in the Ottawa area the option of a demanding academic program that would prepare their child in both the French and English languages. The program is designed to teach the students skills that will help them succeed in school and in life.
Being a small school is a big advantage when you want to give quality instruction and teach skills that will serve the students for life. We present them academic and physical challenges that will encourage them to leave their comfort zone and truly begin learning.
Our program has evolved to meet the demands of our Canadian society but our mission to teach the students how to learn has never changed. The need to teach methods to improve their organizational skills and become responsible students is even more important today than it was when I founded the program in 1990.
We specialize in working with students at the junior high school level. I believe that this is an age where we can influence the child`s academic and life skills the most to prepare them for high school, university and beyond. Our students have always worked hard and played hard with a big smile on their faces. Some things should never change!