My child has attended Westboro Academy since junior kindergarten. He has developed close friendships with his classmates and with children in other classes as well, thanks to the small class sizes and the sense of community that is experienced at the school. He likes the variety of classes and activities that they are exposed to there. There is a lot of hands on, experiential learning which he finds really fun. He particularly likes science class, with age-appropriate science experiments and guidance that he then comes home and shows us! He also really enjoys that the older students engage with the younger kids, so they learn from each other. And the school has a fun “house teams” approach where students from all classes participate in fun monthly challenges together.
The school leadership and administration has been outstanding. They set the culture and tone across the entire school, and they make learning fun and accessible for the kids of all ages. They also set a culture of respect and inclusion for all students. When there are behavioural issues or cases requiring discipline, they do so respectfully and mindful of the child’s particular context (age, understanding, underlying health issues, etc). They reach out to all parents of the children involved, confidentially and without blame or judgement, to let us know about that incident and how it was handled, and allow us to discuss as needed for follow up.
The teaching is second to none! The teachers are across-the-board fantastic. They care deeply about the students and their education, and are extremely dedicated and professional, all the while being fun and engaging to the students. The students are exposed to a wide variety of subjects, including science, math, art, music, drama, health and physical education, social studies, English and French. The school's unique bilingual curriculum comes through in all the teaching and activities. The children are encouraged and challenged appropriately to develop their academic, musical, artistic, and athletic competencies. The teachers try to adapt the material to the level of the child to ensure they are continually engaged. The teachers are empathetic and generous of their time with both the kids and the parents!
The school has an excellent Director of academics, who is a well-known and respected educational expert, and among the most compassionate and dedicated people I’ve met! The school routinely surpasses all academic performance indicators for the students, year after year. I feel my child in Grade 2 has developed significantly stronger linguistic, math, science, art skills than my friends’ children in other schools. They make learning fun, and go out of their way to keep the kids interested and challenged. They have regular school wide challenges and activities (house challenges, science fairs, Terry Fox runs, charity fundraisers, etc), theme days and weeks (international week, la semaine de la francophonie, reading week, earth day, etc), celebrating special days across different cultures to broaden their appreciation of different religions, regions, countries. There are regular invited speakers who come and share their experiences with the students on a wide range of topics. Westboro takes the development of well-rounded kids seriously and encourages growth and participation beyond the traditional academics.
Yes, the extracurricular opportunities offered are excellent. In non-COVID times, there are numerous activities, ranging from track and field, chess, taekwondo, dance, and so on. There is before and after care where the kids have both organized activities and free play as well. They have regular school field trips to museums, sugar shacks, farms, historical sites, etc. They also celebrate “citizens of the month” for each grade, to acknowledge those students who go above and beyond within and outside the classroom that demonstrate empathy, kindness, respect and civility.
The classroom sizes are small, with no more than eighteen per class. The school ranges from JK-Grade 8, and they create a culture where the students all look out for one another, and know each other in all the grades. I remember one time when I was dropping my child off to JK a few months into his first year of school, and a group of the Grade 7 and 8 kids all waved and said hello to him by name, and he knew all of their names too! It was such a touching moment for me that 4 years later I still remember it! The school population is diverse, with a wide range of cultures, religions, languages represented in all the grades. It promotes respect, civility and equality.
Through this school, I have developed friendships with many of the parents there, across all classes, not just my own child’s class. The parents actively participate in the school, either through regularly assemblies with the administration, volunteering with the school for science fairs, school trips, concerts, etc. Pre-pandemic, we would gather for school celebrations at least twice a year as well and it was always a warm, welcoming and happy atmosphere. We have each other’s backs, and help each other out throughout the year. This has been particularly evident throughout the pandemic as we all adjusted to remote learning. I think most grades have a parents group chat where we touch base almost daily on homework, upcoming events, birthdays, etc. It is a very connected, supportive community.
The school itself is spacious to accommodate comfortably the student population. It situated very close to a park that the students use regularly for physical education and playing. My child does not venture much beyond this park given he is still quite young, so I can’t speak to adventures beyond the school grounds and playing at the nearby park. It is a convenient location to get to from many parts of Ottawa.
Yes, he loves going there and we love sending him there! He feels safe, motivated, engaged, and happy at the school. It has been one of the best decisions we have taken as parents to send him there. I can’t think of any improvements needed beyond what they are doing. Even during the virtual learning of the pandemic, they have found ways to keep classes engaging and interesting for the students at all ages. They have brought in speakers virtually, adapted their sciences fairs to an online model, and still find ways to do fun school challenges despite remote learning! As interested prospective parents, please don’t hesitate to ask to speak to parents who have children registered at Westboro– the school can arrange chats and we are always happy to discuss and concerns or answer questions.