Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Meadowridge School (2021)
Meadowridge School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Samir, Emma, Noah had to say about the school.
- 6:06 - What do you appreciate most about your time here at the school and how has your perspective changed?
- 7:07 - What to the best of your knowledge differentiates our school from others?
- 10:05 - If the school were to be represented as a single person, what would its personality be like in three words?
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Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Samir — current parent
Samir has two children that currently attend Meadowridge School. They were first drawn to the beautiful campus, which includes forests, trails, and fields. His children have garnered an appreciation of nature in addition to the strong work ethic and education that the school provides them. Meadowridge has a focus on community service, which aligns with the values of their family.
- “We fell in love with the [Meadowridge School] campus. It has such a calm persona. The backdrop is breathtaking, the greenery. It really feels like you're on a campus, like you're in a learning environment. So really, we fell in love with that. It started to build when we started to meet some of the faculty, and we met some of the students. It really gave us an idea of the learning process that is in place at [Meadowridge School] and really spoke to us.”
- “We've been at the school since 2016. ... And from our perspective, they're totally thriving. They're motivated. They're energetic. [Our kids] look forward to going to school, and it's not just about the academics. It's about the people. It's about the environment, it's about athletics, the resources. … I think something that we hadn't expected to the degree was the emphasis on community service, which really speaks to both of us. One of our family values is around giving back to our community, and to see that front and center in the school is a really pleasant surprise for us.”
- “It's great to see role models amongst their peers at [Meadowridge School]. How individuals have taken the interest and passion [in community service] and used it in their own ways. Some people are more visible in how they do it and others are in the background, and both are just fine. It's great to see those role models play out. And our kids have embraced that, which is something else that we didn't expect. What we should have kind of expected was that the challenges that come with having a school that's a little bit more remote or far afield, so having an attachment that's broader.”
- “The biggest impact of [Meadowridge School on my kids] is an appreciation for the environment. I think they have both really taken advantage of the unique setting that the school is in, in terms of the trails, the forest, the field. I think they have pretty supreme respect for now, a respect for the environment and appreciation for the beauty that it creates for us and the community. … Also, the responsibility that it brings on us to take care of our environment. I've seen that really strongly in both my kids.”
- “My daughter would say she loves the teachers [at Meadowridge]. They're role models for her. They're kind and encouraging. I think she'd also say that they're really creative and how they present the topics that they teach in the class. Whether that's bringing in different learning models, or it's hands-on, or a group problem-solving type of activity, she really enjoys that and comments on that.”
- “[My daughter] would say, at an age appropriate level, [Meadowridge School is making students] aware about some of the issues that our society is facing, such as climate change, social justice, the relationship Canada has with First Nations. These are all fairly deep concepts or topics. Yet she has an appreciation for and is getting exposed to this. … She can have a dialogue with us at the dinner table. So she does recognize that this is different from how I've grown up or how I went to school.”
- “My son would say he's really appreciative of the resources that are made available to him [at Meadowridge], whether that's the facilities, the weight training room, the soccer fields, or the forest. He spends as much time as he can in the trails and the forest. I think he has a really strong appreciation for that. The other thing he really appreciates are the different ways that hands-on learning has been adopted within the classroom, within design and art. They're very hands on, and that comes natural. I think in other subjects how group discussions, debates, how multimedia tools have been brought in to learn the concepts in a different way and I think that's really helpful, because not everybody learns the same way.”
- “[The words I would use to describe Meadowridge School] would be growth-oriented, caring, and balanced. … From my perspective, as a parent, I see it at a few different levels. I see it as in the leadership of the school. We think about the vision for the school and how much change and risk that has been considered, and how the school is expanded. I think that's a very thoughtful way they've taken to growing the school and growing the infrastructure.”
- “The staff and the teachers [at Meadowridge School] have been innovative in terms of encouraging students' interests and passions, and responding to things that were totally out of anyone's control, like in the heights of the pandemic. Tools like the Griffin Channel, like the 30-day challenge, were all things that I thought were really innovative practices that help to bring the school together, and help us get through some really tough times.”
- “I've been so amazed at how the teachers have been taking the care and attention to point out things to us as parents, whether that's an email in the morning to let us know how our daughter is doing. ... I see that at that level, I see caring at the community level. ... I think the emphasis around community [at Meadowridge School] service shows the depth of care for our community and society, whether that's supporting individuals who have taken on the initiative to help an organization through fundraising or writing letters to a long-term care home during the pandemic. These are all things that I think as a parent, I see them and I'm like, ‘wow, this is action put against word.’”
- “I'd say the first value of [Meadowridge School] would be lifelong learning. When I see the mission statement, when I see a lot of the in-class activity and exercises and discussions, I feel like the school is really trying to foster this lifelong learner, and that really resonates for me. I like to dabble in lots of things, and I think it's so healthy.”
- “I love the fact that my kids are getting encouraged to think of learning as not a school thing, but a lifelong characteristic or habit or mindset. That's one value that I see shared between families and [Meadowridge School]. In my mind that's, like the number one value that I latch on to. The second value that I can think of would be the sense of responsibility, personal responsibility. We all recognize how fortunate we are to live in the country we do, in the city we live in, and go to a school that has all these opportunities, but with that there's a responsibility that comes with those good fortunes, and that shows up in community service in spades.”
Emma — alum
Emma was a student at Meadowridge School from 1999 to 2012, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. After graduating, she went on to the University of Western Ontario for sociology and English, and then went on to law school at the University of Ottawa. She now works at a corporate law firm in Vancouver. Emma cherishes the lifelong connections that developed during her time in the school community.
- “I think the best part about [Meadowridge School] was the small community and the small class size. … Having a smaller community opens up a lot of opportunities for each individual person. Because of that, I was able to do a lot of things through elementary and high school. I was in the school plays. I was on all the sports teams, I was on the Student Council. I just did everything. There were so many opportunities because there weren't as many people, so it's easier to get involved in a lot of things.”
- “The broad array of experiences [at Meadowridge] provided me a really broad and deep foundation in a lot of aspects of life. I think it made me a very well-rounded person. I didn't really focus on one specific thing at [Meadowridge School], and I think that has lent itself to a broad array of experiences that I was comfortable doing in university, and has given me a lot of skills that have been really helpful to me in my professional life.”
- “I think [Meadowridge School] is really good at building community. I think looking back at my time at [Meadowridge School], I still have quite a few people that are considered best friends [from the school], who were even in my wedding. I've run into [teachers] on the street and have had hour-long conversations with them. ... I feel very supported still by a lot of people from school.”
- “Teachers are really supportive in school, but I've always been able to reach out to them since graduation to talk about different things. Be it interesting articles I read at school, or I took a high-level Shakespeare at undergrad and talked to [Meadowridge School] English teachers about ideas I was having, or things that I've been doing. I think having those strong bonds with friends, staff, teachers, and other students [at Meadowridge School] really carries on past graduation. I think that that's pretty special. A lot of my friends that went to other schools don't seem to have that sort of deep connection, and I'm really grateful for that.”
- “Warm, supportive, and challenging ... Is a good way to describe [Meadowridge School]. I think the warmth mixed with that challenge is what I liked about the school. It's a really supportive community, but it will push you to grow and develop as a person and as a student. I think that's kind of the essence of what I think [Meadowridge School] is.”
- “Athletics is something that's always been very important to me as a person and in my professional career. … There are a lot of individuals at [Meadowridge School] that are really supportive in the sports. … [The coach at Meadowridge School] was very supportive of a lot of the athletics that I was involved in. … I was on the first team to win a Division-One Championship at Meadowridge [School], and that was amazing.”
- “What I find surprising are how long the bonds I've made at [Meadowridge School] have lasted. … Everyone in my grade class went to school all over the country, some internationally. It was kind of spread out, so it's surprising to me now, 10 years later, how often I still get to see people, and how deep those bonds are.”
- “I think [Meadowridge School] does a really good job of explaining when people are coming in, what to expect. I think that new students, be it someone joining in Kindergarten or someone joining in high school … felt very welcome, and really understood what they were getting into right at the beginning.”
- “I think maybe one of the things that families might find surprising is actually how much integration there is throughout the whole school. I think that especially people coming from schools that don't have Kindergarten to Grade 12. It's pretty incredible. The interaction that you get to have with people in other grades than your own. … Having a kindergarten buddy in Grade 12 is pretty cool to me, and I think that's a unique experience to [Meadowridge School].”
- “When I was in Grade 8, we went to camp at the Grade 11 class, and having that cross-grade interaction was really cool. It's a function of a small school. There aren't a lot of people at [Meadowridge School], so it's easier to mix grades a little bit more.”
- “The best thing about [Meadowridge School] is that it is a very safe place to fail. It's a safe place to try new things. It's a safe place to succeed. I think that there's a lot of support, and I think that it's the best opportunity to try things.”
Noah — alum
Noah attended Meadowridge School for 12 years and recently graduated. He’s now going into his first year at the University of Western Ontario to pursue a double major in Health Sciences and Business Administration. He currently works for Meadowridge School’s advancement office focusing on alumni relations. He tried many different extracurriculars during his time at Meadowridge School, and appreciated the beautiful outdoor facilities on campus.
- “I definitely think the relationships you build with the teachers with [Meadowridge School] being such a small school is really special. You know your teachers so personally, and they're always willing to help you outside of class time, I think is something so unique, whether it be after school, at lunch, before school, you just need to have a meeting or have questions.”
- “With COVID, [the support received [from the Meadowridge School teachers] didn't really change. Yeah, we were at home, but teachers are still available for office hours or by email if you had questions. I still felt like I had so much support, which was really important with me being in Grade 11 at the time. ... I think just having all that extra support really helps make it easier. I think that's probably the most special thing about the school.”
- “I think the [Meadowridge School] campus itself and the experiences it brings, some people don't realize how unique it is. I think you do when you're there, but now that I have graduated and I have looked at other schools, I kind of realize, ‘hey, having a forest, having a campground and stuff. It's pretty special to [Meadowridge School].’ It has provided experiences like being able to do biology- and science-related things outdoors.”
- “I think [Meadowridge School] is caring. ... All your teachers care about you and you're taught to be caring and consider the world and how you can help. I think community service is kind of ingrained in all areas of [Meadowridge School], whether you're in Grade 12 or Kindergarten. I also think [Meadowridge School is] open minded in terms of learning about different cultures and ideas, especially in the past, with different social movements.”
- “I think [Meadowridge School] has done a really good job at trying to educate students and also giving us the opportunity to take action, as well as being a risk taker. I would say more in terms of experiential education. I think something that's really important is how we go on overnight trips starting Grade 3. The opportunity to be away from home, especially an outdoor setting taking risks [is great]. All the camping trips and stuff like that definitely pushes [Meadowridge School students] out of their comfort zone.”
- “I think that [Meadowridge School] has gone a long way ... by having a mental health advisory committee and having a social emotional counselor. ... I think just providing these resources to students is a big step.”
- “I had my Kindergarten buddy this year [at Meadowridge School], and that was such a special experience, just to even get to hang out with kids in Kindergarten. That's something most people can't even imagine. I think that's such a cool relationship. I really hope I get to see him when he's older to see how he's grown. … I've worked with kids in Grade 6 to 8 on Junior Council, and the fact that I've been able to get to know kids in younger grades I think is a really good learning experience.”
- “When you're younger, being able to look up to kids in the older grades [at Meadowridge School] is something really inspiring, to be like, ‘okay. I want to be like this to be on the Senior Council. I want to be in sports, or musicals, or whatever. Having people to look up to is a really special thing at [Meadowridge School]. How you can actually get to know the people that you're looking up to is a cool experience.”
- “Over the years, I've tried so many different sports, so many different clubs at [Meadowridge School]. Some things were not for me, but there were other things that I stuck with for so many years. I was able to help grow things like Student Council and Global Citizenship club, and just being able to see that growth is something I'm glad I took the opportunity [to do]. … I found out early what was for me, what wasn't. I think that really helped me, especially as I went to Grade 11 and 12.”