REVIEW OF North Star Academy BY parent, Joseph Sorella
- Date of Review
March 27, 2018
Gr. 7 - 8
(5) Student Experience
My child has enjoyed and benefitted from the small class sizes and the extra personal 1 on 1 attention that this affords. She also loves the close knit and friendly atmosphere of the school. Overall, North Star Academy has provided my daughter an excellent experience and she is very happy at North Star.
(4.5) School Leadership
The school leadership is very good. Problems are taken seriously and responded to promptly. The initiate many fun, educational and creative projects and activities for the students and really work hard at making the school environment a positive and pleasant place to be for the students and staff. I am fortunate to say that my child has never had any disciplinary issues at North Star, so I cannot fairly comment about that that, however, I have not heard of any serious issues in this regard. I do feel that communication and organization is a touch lacking sometimes but this is very minor.
My child absolutely adores most of her teachers and the ones she does not adore, she just really really likes LOL. My daughter tells me that the teachers are extremely engaged and engaging. The teachers provide very good instruction and have provided my child with the necessary assistance whenever she required it. Communication between myself and the staff has also been for the most part excellent. I have often seen and heard of the teachers and staff going above an beyond their normal duties to benefit the students and the school as whole. Sure wish I had more teachers like this when I was in high school. The only negative I can speak of is that there does seem to be a bit more teacher turn over than I would like.
A very good and well rounded academic program is offered at North Star. it is my child's first year so I cannot in fairness speak about strengths and weaknesses yet but overall, I have no complaints. I would describe the academic culture as stimulating, challenging but friendly. My child has experienced some strong but friendly and beneficial rivalry between individuals and groups that has encouraged her to take her game up a notch or two. The school offers many perks and rewards that encourage children to work hard and do their best. The overall environment is very motivational and fosters learning and personal growth.
There plenty of extracurriculars at North Star. From arts, to music, to cooking, to sports and outdoor activities. Whatever your child is interested in, North star almost surely has something to offer in terms of activities. All students are required to join at least 2 extracurriculars per school years There are many fun, educational and experience building activities such as intramural sports and student challenges that my child has enjoyed. The school also strongly encourages community and volunteer projects, in which my child has participated in numerous times. The school is definitely providing what it is necessary for my child to develop into a more well rounded person.
The student body is relatively small and the spirit from what I have seen and heard is excellent. Everyone seems to get along quite well. I have not heard of any serious bullying and / or disciplinary issues in this school year. The younger and older students usually work together in harmony in the extracurriculars and other school events. The school is physically quite small and intimate. There are many international students that encourage inter-cultural awareness and understanding. My child has very much enjoyed sharing their experiences and cultures.
(5) School Life
My child totally loves going to school at North Star. I have not heard one negative criticism about the school from her with the exception of the school lockers being too small for what they are expected to keep in them. Also, my child would like to have more outdoor activities and learning. The children generally stay indoors most of the day and there are not many opportunities to go out doors at lunch or recess times. In general however, the school life is excellent.
The broader community at North Star is good but I do find that parent involvement is lacking. Parents are very welcome and encouraged to be involved in the school community and life, but seldom do get involved for some reason. More parent participation in the school committee and other school initiatives should be more strongly promoted.
(5) School Location
The surrounding neighbourhood is a very typical suburban area. Generally very safe and clean. The students in sec 1, 2, 3 are not allowed to leave school grounds but the older students can. The school is located in close proximity to a major highway, shopping and several restaurants.
The admissions process was easy and not stressful at all for both myself and my daughter. We visited the school 2 times before making our final decision and were given a very good tour and lots of open and honest information about the school on both occasions. Everyone involved was very pleasant and welcoming. if you are considering North Star, I strongly encourage you and your child to take advantage of the "student for a day" program they offer. This was an excellent way for my daughter to get student's eye view of the school and the environment. It very much helped us with our decision. My daughter also felt more at ease on the first day of school because she knew the school a bit more and already had made some acquaintances with students and staff.