REVIEW OF Nancy Campbell Academy BY parent, Hugo Francato
- Date of Review
January 21, 2020
Gr. 9 - 12
(5) Student Experience
I think it's safe to say that what my daughter likes the most, is the environment of the school. They try to keep it as a family. We live in another country, as many of the students there, and since the day we left her at school, we felt it. Try to wonder how hard it's to leave your daughter of only 14 years old on her own, in another country, with another language and culture, without knowing anyone! But all my worries disappeared at the moment I met the whole staff and teachers. They are all highly qualified, and see the students as human beings, not only "numbers".
(5) School Leadership
The school uses google class, so every week they sent me an e-mail with the contents, homework, and subjects studied at every class and what is expected for her to deliver in the next week. Please note that we are separated by thousands of miles, but I'm more informed now about what she is doing at school, than before when we were together. I have all the contacts of teachers and even the vice principal. They always answer us, and it's great to see how it all works almost perfectly.
Yes, they have highly qualified teachers, and they all want to make sure that the students are understanding the subjects in the class. As most of the students don't speak English as the first language, their task is even harder, and a lot of patience is required. I always receive a report card, with comments of all teachers, telling us what are their impressions of my daughter, what she is doing well and what she could do to get better. Until now, despite my fears, she is doing very well, in her studies and in learning the language. As they have a limited number of students, teachers are able to work closely with and guarantee results in the learning.
I don't think that the main goal of Nancy Campbell Academy is to prepare the children for next steps. Instead, they want to prepare them for life! The atmosphere of friendship, and more, of a family is essential to this. They want each student to reach their full potential. In order to do it, the classes are almost individual and the students are pushed always to do better. You can see it as they have a 95% rate of acceptance in universities. The closest weakness that I can think is that students receive so much special treatment from the staff and the teachers, that they may miss it in university. But even in regard to this matter, right from the start, they are encouraged to think by themselves, to have initiative and be self-sufficient.
Maybe this is one of their great qualities. My daughter is very happy to serve, and help the community. She already had the chance to help in a cat cafe, to help the city with the Christmas lights, and teach virtues to children. Here in my country she attended one of these virtue classes, and now she has the chance to pass it along. They also have a special place called Wildfire, where they have the chance to do the integration and some competition for fun.
This year, they have about 70 students. They are from all over the world, with different languages and cultures. Many of them are apart from their parents for the first time. This could be a challenge, but they are taught to make the best of the situation. They are encouraged to share their experiences, and it gives them a vision of the world that would be impossible to achieve outside of Nancy Campbell Academy. My daughter has so many friends now, that sometimes is hard to find some time to talk to her by skype alone. She is always surrounded by friends!! Before she went I was really concerned about her loneliness. What really happened was the opposite, she was embraced by all the staff and students.
(5) School Life
My daughter lives in a residence provided by the school. She has a space good enough for her, with a sink, a small fridge, a bed and a desk for a computer. It is full of rules, but she had to learn to live on her own. For me this is excellent! Before she went, I saw her as a child. Now she is a grown-up girl. About the school, she loves it. Her life is the school, she is very focused and involved in her studies. She is very glad that she now knows people from all over the world and she is always surrounded by these new friends, inside or outside school. If you have the chance, try to watch some of the videos that Nancy Campbell posts on Facebook and Instagram, and you'll see how proud these students are.
We attended a barbecue before classes started. But most of the parents live in another country, so we are informed online usually. If you live in Canada, there will be a lot of opportunities for parental involvement. But even far away, I always know whats she is studying, where she is going, and what extracurricular stuff she is doing. Sometimes it is hard for us, because our daughter is only 14, but I think the internet made it a lot easier. There is a baha'í writing that says "The earth is one country and human beings are its citizens". And this is one of the school's principles. So even with parents from all over the world, we can feel always connected with the school and our kids.
(5) School Location
The school is in Stratford, which is a very beautiful city. There my daughter feels safe to go walking to school from residence, and to visit it's tourist attractions. As a small city, the baha'í community embraces them, so they will never feel alone. The city has a very famous theater, where people come from everywhere in Canada to watch the famous plays. You can see this artistic vein everywhere in Stratford. From the Shakespear's Garden until a boat with a guitar player doing his show while floating in the river that crosses the city.
I found Nancy Campbell Academy surfing on the internet. I was searching for a school with Baha'i inspiration. But I was only curious about it and trying to know how they worked. Then I thought that I could try to talk with them and sent an email. Please note that I live in South America and I didn't know anyone at Nancy Campbell. I didn't expect an answer, but it came. They gave me all the instructions about how to apply and how the bursary worked. We had a few interviews by Skype and they were always very kind. At the end, she was accepted in Nancy Campbell's family and she is loving the place! For us, it's like a dream come true, and it is still hard to believe that everything worked perfectly the way it did.
(5) University placement and counselling
The education system is very different from ours, so I had to learn the whole process. The school has a counselor that helped her make the right decisions. I still don't know if I'll be able to keep her until grade 12 or if I will be able to afford a university for her in Canada. In this meantime, we trust the counselor is doing his best to guide her, and I was even surprised that the school has this person. Where I live all grades are the same for every student, and they only have to choose after ending secondary school.