REVIEW OF March Academy BY parent, Claudia Gongora
- Date of Review
June 13, 2019
Gr. 1 - 4
(5) Student Experience
Our eldest daughter completed JK-trough grade 1 in the public school system and it was painful to see her go every morning as her experience there was full of tears, disappointment and loneliness. So we researched several private schools in Ottawa and as soon as we met with the staff at March Academy we knew this was going to imply a monetary effort for us, but we also knew it was going to be worth it. She started in grade 2 and since then she has been the happiest kid as she is thriving, so we haven't looked back and believe every dollar we spend is worthwhile. Our daughter started to enjoy learning, she came home after school like a renewed kid. She has been attending March academy for three years now and is going onto her fourth one. Now both of our kids attend March Academy. What we appreciate the most is the personalized attention they receive there; our kids' concerns and opinions are heard and valued. The personalized attention results in teachers getting to know the kids in a meaningful way, so the report cards that come home are a clear reflection of this. Our kids are not afraid to be themselves or ask questions because they feel safe at March Academy.
(4.5) School Leadership
Teachers go beyond the call of duty at March Academy and they are always available to parents. Great emphasis is placed on mutual respect and negative behaviours are addressed immediately so they don't escalate. The Principal is available by e-mail, phone or even text message if needed. Our kids feel safe at March Academy and this reflects in their self confidence. The support and guidance given by the teachers have played an important role in both our kids' educational and personal development. March Academy focuses on the growth of the child as a person, not just as a student.
The teachers at March Academy are truly passionate about the students. They go beyond their call of duty to ensure each kid learns at their own pace and within their own learning style. Since the attention kids receive is personalized, teachers get to know them so well and are able to customize their teaching styles to each kid's needs. Our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and wasn't learning in the public school system and her self-esteem started to suffer too. Teachers at March Academy used different methods to help her to learn to read and boosting her self-esteem in return. Now she is a confident reader. Teachers at March Academy ensure kids are given the proper instructions in a way they understand and the tools to complete their tasks successfully, this in return has increased our kids' confidence. Since their time at March Academy they are more curious and look to challenge themselves when they have homework. March Academy has high academic standards and they request from the kids what they know they are capable of giving. They encourage quality work.
Reading is a very important part of March Academy's program. Kids do DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) every day and we have noticed that this nurtures the love for reading in kids. Both of my kids enjoy reading at home and they voluntarily pick up books at the public library every weekend to read at home. Teacher know different methods to teach math to kids, both our kids had difficulties with math and now they've learned so many tricks to solve math problems that they find math to be fun. Every Wednesday, kids have a nature journal where they learned about nature and science. March Academy offers a multi-grade approach which creates an environment where everyone works together and respects one another. Teachers clearly care for the students and will go out of their way to help each child reach their full potential.
One of the reasons why we decided to register our kids at March Academy over the other private schools in Ottawa was because of their extensive extracurricular activities. They offer once a week: Yoga, Tae-Kwon-Do, choir, piano and gym. Physical education is a main focus of March Academy and their big yard offers a great area for running. The are also field trips to the skating rink and park nearby and once a year a ski trip. Our kids do value the learning experience the different extracurricular activities provide. As parents we're extremely happy to see how these activities altogether are helping to develop well rounded and confident kids. Once a year before the holidays kids are given $20 to do something for others and then they report back to the school with a presentation. Once a year, kids gather on a Friday night for a pizza and movie evening, while parents are allowed to have a free evening. Kids are asked to practice piano at home on a daily basis and are part of an annual recital where they show off their singing and musical skills.
Another reason why we selected March Academy over other private schools in the Ottawa Area was because of the school size. The maximum number of students they accept every year is 32 because their main focus is to offer personalized and customized attention to their students. Given the small school size, all students get to know each other very well and support each other on the different activities. Activities are shared amongst grades, so mutual respect and support are learned and encouraged. Our daughters suffered from being bullied in the public school system, but at March Academy they've found a second family and they feel free to express their ideas without fearing to be made fun of. Past students usually come visit their peers, which shows how close everybody is to each other. Talking to past parents we usually hear how fondly they remember their time at March academy and that they will always be grateful to the school.
(5) School Life
Both our kids enjoy going to March Academy as they both feel challenged, supported and more importantly they feel cared for. Our eldest has mentioned several times that she feels she matters there and this makes us feel at ease. March Academy has become a second family for our kids. Something else we have noticed since our kids have been at March Academy is how polite and caring for others they've become. They are very conscious of opening doors for others, and saying please and thank you and the stories we hear at home are that everybody does this at school, it's part of the program. they are also very conscious of caring for animals and nature as they have conversations every Wednesday on how important nature is in our lives. We feel that these "little" things will make them more responsible adults and more caring human beings.
March Academy has a parent council. Parents are invited to the remembrance day ceremony every year. Parents gather every December for the annual musical play where all kids in the school participate. All families are invited to the annual graduation, which is also the annual piano and choir recital. Kids are allowed to come in to the school one hour before classes start, at no extra cost, which allows parents for an early drop off to go to work. During that time kids play board games or read. Switching to the March Academy has been a life changing experience for our family. Our daughters are excited to attend school and passionate about learning. Most importantly, they are happy when they come home, and we have noticed how their self-esteem has boosted since their time at March Academy. March Academy is a safe place where kids are listened to and treated with respect and dignity. In return, we enjoy our family evenings more as we are dealing with less frustrations and bad moods.
(5) School Location
The school is located next to a church and shares space with the church like the gym. The annual graduation and recital are hosted at the Church itself. The one feature of the school that one of our daughters truly enjoys is the size of their backyard, it's a half acre and kids practice running and games there. There's no play structure, which in our view, makes this part of the yard a safe one for kids to play. The are also field trips to the skating rink and park nearby and this year the kids will be offering a concert at the Seniors home nearby.