REVIEW OF March Academy BY parent, lisa o'kane
- Date of Review
June 13, 2019
Gr. 5 - 6
(4.5) Student Experience
March Academy has completely changed my child and his outlook on school. It is now a place he looks forward to going each day. He is thrilled that there is more to March than just academics. At March Academy they look at the student as a whole person, who learns in many ways, not just in a classroom. My son loves that they get to do taekwondo, yoga, piano, cross country skiing and many other activities that he otherwise may not have tried. There is always something for your child to succeed in at March Academy. At March Academy, my child feels accepted and he is accepting of everyone. He has become very aware of everyone unique differences and talents and understands the importance of inclusion.
(4.5) School Leadership
Discipline has not been an issue at March Academy. It is my understanding that when something happens, it is dealt with promptly. The children are taught the expectations of March Academy from the beginning: to be respectful and accepting of everyone. The atmosphere at the school is one of togetherness, where all students and teachers are working as a team. This greatly reduces behaviour issues and the need for a great deal of discipline. Communication with teachers is clear and timely.
The teachers at March Academy understand that children learn in different and unique ways. The beauty of a small school and small class sizes, is the the teacher has the time to offer the kind of instruction that your child requires. Not only do they teach so the child understands, but they empower the children to be their own self-advocates so they can become successful independent learners. This prepares them for their future learning experiences and sets them up for success. Frequent check-ins and meetings with parents, teachers and students allows everyone to be on the same page for learning goals. The student themselves, creates their own goals and lays out the steps required of them to achieve these goals. The students gain a great deal of confidence when they take charge of their own learning.
My son came to March Academy somewhat behind in his curriculum. The first piece necessary for a successful learning path for him was to gain back his confidence and his love for learning. This was done by meeting him where he was at with his learning. Once he had some success at his level, he was encouraged to help teach a peer who may be struggling with the same lesson. The simple task of helping a peer with a task, demonstrated to him that he has something to offer to someone else and that others, at times, need additional help. He has slowly progressed and gained confidence to bring him back up to par. He may not be excelling academically, but this is not the reason we placed him at March Academy. We needed him to obtain some learning skills and tools to set him back on his learning path to set the stage for future learning success.
March Academy does an outstanding job in providing a wide variety of extracurricular activities for all students. My son loves sports and tends to only want to try sports. At March, he was introduced to taekwando, yoga, choir, piano, and cross country skiing. He might not have chosen to try these activities other wise. Having them integrated in the curriculum, the students were open to trying new things and develop a broad range of interests.
My son, from the first day he entered the school has found his tribe. He felt welcomed and accepted by all. All of the students are incredibly respectful of each other and of their own unique differences. This fosters an environment where everyone feels comfortable and welcome, which in turn allows the kids to be their best learners. The children have the opportunity to help others and are often matched with a younger student. This teaches them empathy and understanding and gives them confidence in their own skills. No one is ever left behind and the children truly do care about each other. The whole school meets daily all together in the morning to share stories and have discussions. The children learn to be patient with one another, to listen empathetically and to be courageous in sharing with the group. My sons has absolutely made life long friends at March Academy.
(4) School Life
March Academy is a small, quaint and loving school. Immediately when you open the door, you get a feeling of calmness and acceptance. My son loves going to school each day, even though academics may be challenging for him. He knows that he has great friends, wonderful teachers and a lot of support. Also knowing that there are many activities through his day that he can look forward to, plays a factor in motivating him to go each day. End of day pick up is the only area I see that could be slightly altered or improved. The children wait inside for their parents to pick up.Perhaps outdoor time at the end of the day would be a nice way to offer more fresh air and exercise .
March Academy involves parents and communicates effectively. There is a very informative meeting at the beginning of the year and parents are given a very thorough handbook. Parents are encouraged to communicate with teachers through e-mail, phone calls or meetings if they wish. Teachers are always very accessible and willing to meet to discuss any issues. There is a parent council which is open to anyone who wishes. A staff member or two sits in on these meetings as well. This group helps with special events to make the school year fun and memorable for children and their families. For example, Chili Bingo - an Annual event where all families are welcome, Winter Break concert or show, again families are welcome ans join for treats in the hall afterwards.
(5) School Location
The feeling you get when you pull in the parking lot is one of complete serenity. The location is just a dream for any child. The school is in the lower and newly built part of a community church and is surrounded by beautiful grounds with tress, a creek at the back of the property and nature all around. the children are able to enjoy this environment through their "Nature Wednesday" classes where they explore outside and learn about a specific topic in nature. The often will have a lesson outdoors or do their reading time under the shade of a tree. The children are also given the opportunity to join some community events - for example, The local Charity Fun Run.
Admission was a simple and transparent process. The principal met with us during school time where we were able to see the children in their learning environment. She listened to our story and answered all of our questions. After only a short discussion, we knew March Academy was absolutely the best place for our son. He was given the opportunity to come and try it out for a few days. When he first arrived, the teacher asked who wanted to show him around. All of the childrens' hands shot up. He felt welcomed from the very beginning. After his first full trial day, he was a changed child. He was calm, happy and excited to go back the next day. Payments and paperwork are easy and very manageable with March Academy