Toronto, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
The students at Ontario Academy of Technology are happy people, because they like to be with each other. They are close friends and they know each other very well because it is a small school and grants them this. They often visit universities together, they go to technology factories and to science centres. If there is a birthday, the student will have his birthday cake and a party that brings happiness to everyone and reinforce the sense of community. We can see this through the Instagram photos and stories and we become happy like them. Every time there is a university acceptance, everybody vibrates with the success of each other. And this motivates the students to always be present at school to accompany academic life and show his own achievements to his friends.
All the students are really great. The majority of them are from Persia so they are all very friendly and respectful. Other students periodically come from places like Japan and Brazil. The community is very small so everyone in the school feels like family in no time. Without a doubt they have become some of my favorite people ever. The students who do best at the school are the ones who come into class everyday with a smile on their face (made much easier by the positive environment) and are willing to work hard and make sure everyone is having a good time. It is a lot of fun learning about foreign cultures and languages. Many student are happy to indulge in talking about home, making break time feel like another class in foreign studies.
The student body was small and cohesive. Definitely a good environment for people who thrive in small class sizes. I spent a lot of my time at OAT in a class of one (just me) which was very very effective as it meant I had more time to get help or go through something I didn’t understand. I was also in another class with three other students and that was also extremely effective as it was still a small class size and we all got along quite well. Because of the close relationships due to the smaller class sizes, we were able to discuss ideas and have everyone's opinion heard. Everyone was very friendly and all in all the students are a very diverse and friendly bunch of individuals. I still talk to some of the people I met today, three years later!
Please see my answer for the preceding question. Both my sons were taking private or semi-private credit courses. They had almost no interaction with fellow students. I would point out that in semi-private learning the learning style and personality of the fellow student is clearly a factor in determining the nature of the learning experience. A successful shared (semi-private) credit course will match students who are not just at the same grade level, but who share a similar work ethic and whose learning styles are compatible. It may be preferable to opt for a private lesson format rather than compromise in this regard. I assume that any family that is considering a small, tightly focused school like OAT is not looking for a typical school experience.
The student body at OAT is around 30 kids. Because of the small numbers, there is a crossover, and students from different grades interact with one another. The kids seem friendly and well behaved. I always tell people that my son has found his people. He really likes the other kids and connects with the other "techies". Prior to high school, my son had a lot of girl friends. He went to the same school from JK to grade 8. In kindergarten, his best friend was a girl and he grew up with a tight group through his primary years (girls and boys combined). At OAT, the student body is partly made up of international students. My son isn't close friends with any of the girls. I suspect this could be due to cultural differences. I hope this changes in later years.