REVIEW OF Pythagoras Academy BY parent, Jessee Liu
- Date of Review
May 17, 2022
JK - Gr. 3
(5) Student Experience
My daughter joined Pythagoras Academy as a JK student in September 2016. She is now in Grade 3. She enjoys going to school with her friends and she also really likes the teachers at Pythagoras Academy. We are always welcome to bring ideas or challenges directly to school staff so they can be worked through. Every voice is heard at PA and that's reassuring as a parent. We must leave our children in the care of school staff each day and it's very important to feel that there is always an open line of communication and opportunity to share ideas. That the staff attending to our children are caring, nurturing, patient and consistent. It's also a good sign when children are excited to go to school each day.
(5) School Leadership
Pythagoras Academy has excellent school leadership and administration. They are great at dealing with day to day situations and they offer open lines of communication. The school management team is very friendly and enthusiastic. They provide updates and share information and ideas regularly so we always know what is happening at the school. I must talk about the administrative team at the school. They face various challenges and requests from parents each day and they solve them patiently and meticulously. If children need attention for various reasons, they provide comfort and care in an attentive manner. There is always an open door and we are free to use school space to meet and work on projects. School staff always provide extra help in a timely manner when we need it.
Teachers at Pythagoras Academy always exceed my expectations. For example, when my daughter was in grade 2 her homeroom teacher led them as they attended a nationwide reading event. Throughout the event, classmates worked together to achieve their objectives and won the event as the No. 1 class in Canada! Teachers find innovative ways to make learning fun at PA. They incorporate things of interest to children to engage them in their studies. They use tech, music, art and other things to infuse learning with fun elements that motivate them. The story studio provides materials to enhance learning and explore ideas that students have and allow them to be imaginative and creative. My child is now in the 3rd grade and her teachers focus on math, science, reading and writing. Our current homeroom teacher communicates with parents through weekly newsletters and daily journals, which remind parents about upcoming events and schedules. This kind of communication helps parents feel relaxed and instills trust and confidence that nothing will be missed.
Pythagoras Academy is very strong in both arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) but the most outstanding thing is that they provide an ideal balance between the programs. They combine and overlap curriculum at times in order to provide connected learning exercises and experiences. Musical Theatre is a highly popular and exciting program at PA. In Science and IT classes (my daughter’s two favorite subjects), students are exposed to advanced technology and concepts starting in JK. For example, in grades two and up students have a chance to take part in the First Lego League Jr. and First LEGO League Robotics competitions. PA Students Invited to Houston for the FIRST 2022 World Championship. Their VEX robotics team has just qualified for the 2022 worldwide championship and traveled to the USA to join the competition for the final stage!
My daughter liked the Musical Theatre program when she was in grades 1 and 2. At PA, the students are fortunate enough to study Musical Theatre as a specialty subject, with two scheduled classes per week. The students develop their skills in singing, dancing and drama and showcase their understanding of these elements through the annual Winter Concert and whole school musical production. As a school, Pythagoras Academy has produced three school musical productions in the past (Beauty and the Beast Jr., Peter Pan Jr., Oliver and Mary Poppins). My daughter joined the last two musical productions, which enriched her life by offering her an opportunity to build friendships and to understand the importance of responsibility and teamwork. There are all kinds of different extracurricular classes and activities offered at PA. Students can participate in after-school classes in many subjects and areas of interest, such as Chinese, public speaking, basketball, ballet, yoga, origami, art mixed media, soccer, reading games and robotics classes.
Students are divided into four "house teams" (Maple, Oak, Arbutus and Birch) that represent four tree species native to British Columbia. Throughout the year, students participate in activities and sports events, such as Sports Day, with members from their house teams. The teams also work together across the grades to earn points for their teams by demonstrating kindness, leadership, effort and being helpful. There is emotional management support for children in lower grades and a Success Centre that helps students thrive. It is so commendable that PA works very hard at addressing and fundamentally helping children solve problems through an emotional response management program. This is a very unique program called 5 Chairs, 5 Choices that is having a very positive impact on students. This professional emotional recognition program is for students, staff and even parents to learn how to identify impulsive reactions and create a more thoughtful, mindful approach to conflict resolution and addressing aggression. These efforts are very effective in creating a harmonious atmosphere in the school and improving overall communication in the school community.
(4.5) School Life
As described, my daughter loves attending Pythagoras Academy for many different reasons. The programs offered keep her interested and engaged. She is motivated to to go school. The variety of activities is very appealing to children and the constant updates to content and clubs ensure every child can find something to participate in. Even though we'd love her to have PE classes every day, there are many options for children to get fresh air and exercise. The outdoor classroom, two playgrounds, playing fields and tennis courts all mean there are ways for children to engage in physical activity each day. The overall quality of life for students is excellent because every child is seen as unique and given the attention they deserve. The sharing of information and connection between parents and staff create a supportive, positive atmosphere that is safe, happy and healthy for students.
The relationship between parents and school staff at Pythagoras Academy is very close. Pythagoras Academy has an excellent group of involved parents who are warm, welcoming and friendly. In particular, the Parent Council group (PAPO) acts as a very good link between parents and school staff. They work closely together and share information regularly to ensure the community is strong and happy. PAPO organizes a lot of events and activities (even during the pandemic), such as a school uniform sale, fundraisers like the popcorn, orchid and gift card sales, a book drive, Chinese New Year activities, and an annual silent auction and gala dinner. Parents are actively involved as volunteers in various school activities. In addition, there are class representatives who are responsible for regular communication between classrooms and parents. Committees that are formed often include students and parents, such as the Sports Development and Food Committees. This gives everyone a voice and a platform to present new ideas and suggestions.
(4.5) School Location
The location of the school in central Richmond is very convenient and easily accessible. The school is situated on a quiet cul de sac in a lovely residential neighbourhood that offers a very safe location. The surrounding neighbours in the community often are involved with the school and we share a great relationship with them based on mutual respect and sharing. For example, before the pandemic, the neighbours located next to the school sent us Christmas decorations! They also helped us to deliver leftover food that the children did not eat from our lunch program to a nursing home to avoid waste and help others. The community also will use the gym on occasion when it is available after hours, for musicals or basketball games.