REVIEW OF Oak Bridge Academy BY parent, Laura Martin
- Date of Review
January 19, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 4 - Gr. 8 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
My son has had a wonderful experience at Oak Bridge and he has come farther than I thought was possible, both academically and behaviorally. Being a mom of a special needs kid, I feel like I am always worrying about what the future will hold. But by sending him to Oak Bridge, I feel 100% confident that I am doing everything I possibly can to ensure he will have a successful, happy life ahead of him, whatever that may be. Although the academic part of school is essential, I feel like the focus on the behavior and social side of life is essential for raising an autistic child. He's learned some great strategies for staying calm when he's struggling with being wrong and losing. He loves his classmates, teachers, and therapists. They've created a wonderful school community for him.
(5) School Leadership
The school's leadership is fantastic. Heather and Kristina always get back to us right away and Kathie, the Principal, is always working so hard. In terms of discipline, the school's approach is textbook. They never reinforce bad behavior by sending kids home. Instead, they deal with issues within the school. The therapists will let us know when behaviors happen, and how they are addressing them, and they also give us the tools to use at home to help address any issues we may be having.
The teachers at Oak Bridge Academy care so much! I love how the behavior therapists are right there in the classroom to support the students throughout the school day as well. The teachers are all certified and have the biggest hearts. I'm amazed at my child's academic progress since starting at Oak Bridge. The IEPs that are done for each student are very detailed and the teachers are regularly in contact with us so we know when our kid is struggling or falling behind in a specific area. The school does not regularly give out homework, but if you are wanting to do extra work with your student at home and would like some direction on what you should focus on, they will definitely make recommendations.
Oak Bridge Academy follows the Ontario curriculum. The school also works hard to assess each student and then tailors the academic programming around your child's needs. So if they're a little behind or ahead in a certain subject, they adjust and teach appropriately. The teachers use lots of different methods to help the kids learn. My son has really loved some of the programs they use at school so much that I've actually started to use them at home as well. The classrooms are all run through Google Classroom so if you wanted to check on what your child is learning you can. Or if your kid is home sick, they can stay mostly caught up on school work when they're away from school. They also offer both life skills and typical academic paths in the high school program.
The school offers a wide variety of clubs and activities for the kids. These are usually offered at lunch breaks and I think on Friday afternoons. There are no sports teams though, but to be honest, I don't see much of a need for them considering our student population. The only after-school activity that I can think of are the occasional school dances that they host to help the kids develop those typical social skills.
The students at Oak Bridge Academy are mostly, but not always, autistic. They have typical social and behavioral struggles that get addressed and helped head-on each day. Despite the typical behaviors one would expect when dealing with this student population when I visit the school, the atmosphere feels so happy and accepting. The classes are very small and run around 10 students. Each classroom also has a mix of teaching staff and behavior therapists to work with the kids. They do an amazing job of creating a kind, welcoming, and accepting environment. The staff at Oak Bridge also do a great job of addressing any tension between the kids and they help them learn to get along. Several of the kids have built some very strong connections.
(5) School Life
The overall quality of student life at Oak Bridge is exceptional! This school does an amazing job of making sure every student feels special and unique. Even the school's admin group are always chatting with the kids throughout the day. I never an issue with getting my son to go to school. Although he loves PD days and holidays, when it's time to go back to school, he's always up and ready to go. He feels very comfortable and accepted at Oak Bridge. I'm not sure if there is anything Oak Bridge can do to improve the student's quality of life. They really try to get to know each kid and when possible, they do their best to incorporate your kids interests into the school day.
The other families have been really great and the overall parent community feels very welcoming. The school is always looking for parent volunteers for lots of different activities and events, like the book fair and the annual end-of-school fun day. Often, the whole class gets invited to birthday parties and the school does offer occasional dances for the older kids. These seem to be pretty popular this year, and not just for our school's kids, but for their extended friends and families as well. There are also a couple of school events for families, or even just parents only, that allow us to get to know each other. We have a rock concert fundraiser and a golf tourney every year which are always a lot of fun.
(4.5) School Location
The school is currently located in a church on the south end of Cambridge. The space is amazing (classrooms, gym, kitchen, library, outside fields). The school feels very safe and is surrounded by houses, but the students never leave the school property anyway. One downside of us is the distance. We live about 45 mins away and so driving in the winter can be a bit much.