REVIEW OF Oak Bridge Academy BY parent, Chantal Fortin-Menchenton
- Date of Review
January 19, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 7 - Gr. 8 (Male, Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
We loved the Oak Bridge experience, the staff were second to none and provided my child the support he needed during a very difficult time. The experiences that our son received, in a small group setting, helped to build his confidence and expose him to real-life situations that will benefit him long-term. For a person who is quiet and struggles to connect, he made a small group of friends to which he is still connected today. We value the connection with their families and that has helped us on our journey to not feel so lonely. Thrilled with our experience at Oak Bridge! I think my child really felt good about having so many trusted and qualified adults around to help him every day, he felt so supported.
(5) School Leadership
Fantastic!!! They are truly the kindest people with the biggest hearts and we always felt so safe and supported. In our opinion, YES to all of this! The staff always were aware of what was going on and were always able to help and walk us through a situation to it's conclusion. The staff were always quick to respond and help out. Every morning they would greet my son and myself with a smile which always made us feel welcome.
Absolutely! We never worried about the content or the instruction and we were always kept in the loop. The teaching and support staff would always take the time to go over the IEP with us and reach out if they knew my son needed some extra support at home to complete an assignment. My son always talked about the things they were learning in class, and what was up and coming. We had not seen that level of excitement from him in a long time. It was a hard decision to send him to Oak Bridge, but we knew that it was this small group instruction that he needed to keep him focused and to help him feel successful. We are able to see his confidence grow because of all this.
It has been three years since we have attended so it is hard to say. I do remember, however, that his IEP was followed and they met my son where he was at academically. He loved going to school every day and this spoke volumes to us. I feel that it was a real strength to have so many educators in the classroom to help support, and although my son was not great at advocating for himself, they were able to check in with him and see when he was struggling and needed clarification. The school always stressed the importance of academics and how it would relate to their futures. We definitely feel that he was prepared for the transition to high school, and that he was capable, with the right supports in place, to achieve and feel successful.
My son attended during the first two years of its opening, so the programs were still evolving (or hadn't all started yet), also it was the start of COVID. However, they did a fantastic job at the time with what they were offering and including the families and community. My son had the opportunity to go swimming and skiing for the first time, and even take trips to the grocery store to learn about shopping and budgeting.
We LOVED the ratio of staff to students, and the attention that the students deserved and received really helped to build confidence. My son was pretty quiet but he did open up a bit there and talk to his peers. He attended the before-school program which had a few students in it of all ages. Like anywhere, there may have been a few conflicts here and there, but the students learned to work through them and support each other. We found that overall the students felt safe and supported and were eager to come to school, and I think this was something that our son could relate to and he felt connected there also. We noticed kids who never had friends, connecting and laughing with one another, it was very heartwarming.
(5) School Life
My child loved it at Oak Bridge, it felt like a safe bubble and we miss it so much. Again, he had the opportunity to learn in a different way, but that met him where he was at, and he had experiences with peers and staff that he had not yet experienced. Although he was quiet, he tried to step out of his comfort zone and we have seen this extend beyond his time at Oak Bridge. If you have the means, the place will be a game changer and you will love it and feel so supported! It allows the students to acquire skills in a quieter and safer setting and allows them to be successful! Our family highly recommends Oak Bridge to any family considering attending.
100% yes, parents are involved. We learned very quickly that we were part of a community that "understands" and things didn't feel quite so lonely anymore. Many parents reached out and we made some new friendships there that will last a lifetime. While our kids were branching out of their comfort zones, we were too. My son even joined an adaptive needs hockey team (that he still plays on) because 2 of his new friends were on the team. We are still connected to Oak Bridge families today. I felt that we were always included to be part of things and volunteer to help out. If I had more time and it didn't conflict with my work schedule, I would have, too. So grateful for how much they kept parents involved.
(5) School Location
School location was great, a tiny bit far for us, but still in Cambridge which I appreciated. Not aware of any issues otherwise. The neighborhood was very clean and the school is easy to get to. The yard is large and there is ample parking as well. I loved how they used the yard as well as the areas in the building for the students.
We had a great admissions experience. My son, at the time, did not have his ASD diagnosis yet, but he did have a few other exceptionalities. I remember being told, "doesn't matter the diagnosis, he belongs here and we want him". The staff always made him feel included since day one, and they used strategies that have helped us tremendously, regardless of diagnosis or situation. I remember the interview process and feeling nervous, but that disappeared quickly as we felt so welcomed and very much listened to. We got so excited when we heard all that the school had to offer and we knew it was the right place for our son. Also, we didn't have to wait too long to find out that he was accepted. Great experience all around!