REVIEW OF Revel Academy BY parent, Nicole MacDonald
- Date of Review
June 01, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 2 - Gr. 4 (Male, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
SK - Gr. 1 (Female, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
My children love Revel! They play more and learn more, and spend less time standing in line, waiting for teachers to help other students, etc. Instead of needing to advocate for my children and their individualized needs in a public school setting, it's nice to go to a school where individualization is part of the school philosophy. I feel like I want to shout from the rooftops all the time about my jubilation over finding Revel Academy - it is like a perfect combination of homeschooling, gifted programming, and individualized learning. It's also a wonderful community, where the staff, parents, and children all work to lift each other and support each other. It's an ideal educational institution! I also love that my children can learn from amazing software programs for basic skills, and go to guides for help, instead of doing repetitive worksheets.
(4) School Leadership
The leadership and administration are incredible. They are willing to discuss any issues that come up and implement policies that are good for the children, the staff, the parents, and the entire school community. There is a strike system when children get in trouble and a Revel Bucks system for children to self-monitor and help their classmates get back on track. There is some mystery surrounding the strike system in the school that may need to be addressed in future versions of the parent handbook, related to the number of strikes, what happens when you get 3 strikes, etc.
Teachers at Revel are "guides". They are there to help the children discover their passions and help them to get there. The guides are happy to speak with me whenever we have questions, and I truly feel like they look out for the best interests of my children and their future. I have been incredibly impressed with the support of the guides. My children love their guides, and come home passionate about the subject matter and their learning environment. The teachers are also flexible with their expectations of the students - they don't expect them to sit still and be quiet all the time, but instead contribute in meaningful and supportive ways, and aim to learn. Children have wobble chairs, trampolines, gym space, and stationary bikes (and so much more) if they need body breaks.
My children feel motivated and inspired. They love that they can demonstrate their learning at the end of each session (every 4-6 weeks), and start new topics for each session. It allows for a fresh start, new excitement, and fantastic integration of overarching issues. Plus regular mindfulness training, the hero's journey and the challenges you must overcome, goal setting, and independence. I could go on and on - I truly wish I was still school-aged so I could attend! As my children are in the lower grades, I'm obviously more concerned about my children enjoying school, getting support when they feel too stressed about expectations (reading support, discussion about the challenge zone instead of the panic zone), and learning something at the end of the day. I cannot speak to the academic requirements of the older grades, which are obviously important when thinking about plans after graduation.
With such a small school, there are not the same sorts of academic and sports clubs and programs that you would find at other schools. But the guides work hard to provide in-school and after-school programming that would be interesting and provide enrichment opportunities. I'm sure if students expressed an interest in a particular sport or competition, the school would provide those opportunities. Since the school is about self-directed learning, students have opportunities to work on a variety of topics during the school day that they are interested in.
The student body is generally kind and supportive. Students are encouraged to work things out with each other, through the support of the guides and older students. Methods such as a peace table and Revel Bucks help the students to self-monitor, although the guides are there for support and interventions when appropriate. The smaller class sizes allow children to work to get along, and it also means that most of the children and families know each other. Many birthday party invitations are for the entire class, ensuring that children feel included and supported. I love when we attend exhibitions and see the support between the students, and the way they can each contribute to help develop both their strengths and weaknesses. For example, in a recent exhibition, the students were asked to put on a play, including performing, emceeing, lighting, stage management, sound, and direction. The children that did not want to be on stage were not required, but could still choose roles that worked for them and helped with the entire project. These roles were chosen through volunteering for roles and students voted if there were more than 1 person interested.
(5) School Life
I cannot rave enough about our experiences at Revel. I always LOVED school as a child and was saddened that my children were not loving the public system. With the low student ratios, focus on well-being and community, and the ability to work on things they are passionate about, my children are now loving school. They are engaged, enthusiastic, and emphatic about their love of the school. As a parent, I watched my son get sent to the Principal's office multiple times in JK and SK. It was disheartening for us and him. He went from LOVING to learn going to school, to hating it. I worked with the staff of the school, got an IEP, worked on an IPRC, and at the end of the day saw the years stretching out where I would have to advocate repeatedly to get him the education he deserved. At Revel, he is excelling, he is a leader, and he loves school. And the staff want him to succeed, and help him to succeed.
I have really loved getting to know the parents at Revel Academy. I have made some great friends! There is an app that we use for communication with the school, but also have the ability to message other parents directly, or post on the message boards. We had a book club in the fall, and that was lovely too. Also, since we meet for exhibitions at the end of each session (every 4-6 weeks), we are able to interact and get to know each other. Revel also asks for volunteers for mystery readers in the Spark studio (ages 3-7), volunteers for games days or mentoring opportunities, volunteers when commuting to soccer tournaments, etc. I would always love more, but I'm an extrovert and excited to be part of such an amazing community.
(5) School Location
The school is located near many fields and some wooded areas, so the children are often at the public parks, skating, and sledding regularly in winter, then playing outside in summer. The school also connects with local businesses, does regular field trips, and brings in members from the community (such as politicians for a session on government). There is a local chip truck that some of the older children go to, and can even bring back food for younger children if they bring money. It's an easy drive from the highway to most areas of the city.