REVIEW OF Rothesay Netherwood School BY parent, Amy MacIsaac
- Date of Review
October 22, 2020
Gr. 10 - 12
(4) Student Experience
My son appreciated the welcoming community at Rothesay and the chance to make friends from many different places and backgrounds. There are many with whom he is still in touch. The structure and accountability of study time during the week was a very positive influence on his academic growth. He had the opportunity to participate in the Round Square program which he really enjoyed and was excited to be part of the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp session. Despite injuries, he remained part of one of the sports teams and found some identity with them which was an important part of his growth through his teens. He connected with his Advisor and from a parent's perspective, this was a valuable tool for both the student and the parents- communication and support for both.
(3.5) School Leadership
The leadership is invested in ensuring all students have a safe and exceptional experience at the school. The size of the school population and the structure lends itself to a more closely-knit community where everyone knows everyone, where self-confidence can be fostered, and where the administration can respond to situations. In some cases, we may not have agreed with how certain personalities handled situations however the headmaster was always available for discussion and in some instances, instrumental in helping find a resolution.
The quality of the teachers has never been in question for us. They are passionate about helping the students learn in very engaging and creative ways, when possible. For example, the digital media students played a role in creating the yearbook. Teachers have been honest in their assessments of my son's progress and work and have been open to hearing from me about ways to help him progress. We were always able to contact his Advisor if we wanted an update on how he was doing. Teachers were also available outside of regular parent-teacher interviews to talk. He was definitely challenged by the program which is one of the main reasons we wanted him to attend Rothesay. The public school curriculum would not have pushed him to find his potential.
Strengths in this school lie in: a) the desire of the teachers to reach each student and bring out their academic capabilities, recognizing their differences in learning styles; b) the experiences many of the teachers have from their explorations and travels that they can bring back to the classroom; c) the culture of working hard to succeed; being true to yourself and discovering new things about yourself. The school does a fantastic job of celebrating the cultures represented by the students at the school (eg, international food nights); allowing them to show their uniqueness to each other. The academic program absolutely prepared my son for the next steps- both in post-secondary education as well as living on his own and being wholly accountable and responsible for the choices he has to make. The growth in his character and maturity was significantly attributable to his time at Rothesay. Generally, I would note that the amount of scholarships that graduates of Rothesay earn each year is a good testament to how well they can excel in their program.
There are quite a few activities to be involved in during the year - RoundSquare leadership conferences, student exchange programs, sports (both varsity and intramural, music, theatre, culture nights, dorm activities, community volunteering, the first week of school opening activities and a host of others. I think they do a great job at providing many options and faculty and staff are an integral part of it.
Depending on the year Rothesay has between 275-300 students. There is always an upbeat feel on campus when you visit, students are smiling and friendly. There is friendly but serious competition between the four houses throughout the year which they all enjoy. At the end of Grade 12 there is a short field trip for the graduates after exams where they get to celebrate the end of their high school work, spend time together white water rafting and making plans for graduation. That tends to be a highlight of their year. I always found it fascinating to look at the artwork that all the students created each year in art class. Not all had a flair but they were able to create something uniquely theirs. There will always be some personalities that do not mix well and a private school is not immune. Staff are conscious of helping students to find positive ways to manage themselves through these challenges which help build their character.
(4.5) School Life
It is my sense that the students enjoy attending Rothesay Netherwood. In his first year attending the school, my son made new friends and found some mentors in the staff and faculty group. When we picked him up at the end of that school year, he would not leave before he found two of the staff with whom he became close that year so he could say goodbye and wish them a good summer. In some ways, it came as a surprise to us that he would be sad to leave them for the summer. They were a positive influence on his experience that year and he was excited to return in the fall. His personality was such that he would not have "loved" school anywhere but I believe he is happy he attended Rothesay.
There are opportunities for parents to be involved: participation in opening ceremonies, anytime connection with your child's advisor, Mother's Day brunch, participation in things like Terry Fox Run if you are in the area. Parents are kept informed with a weekly e-newsletter and the website also highlights various activities and gives you access to your child's schedule as well as reports of absences, etc. Parents are always welcome on the Hill to drop in and see their child within reason or make arrangements to visit with faculty outside of regular meetings. As the parent of a boarding student, there were more opportunities to be involved than I could take advantage of because of the distance. But I certainly appreciate having the option to do so.
(4) School Location
The school is situated on its own campus "up the Hill". It is surrounded mainly by nature. The community seems to be a benefactor of the school because of the involvement in volunteering by students and faculty/staff. Students that row or take part in the golf club leave the campus to do so. However, there are also great facilities on campus (arena, gymnasium, fitness centre, outdoor basketball courts) that are available for student's use.
We first learned about Rothesay Netherwood by attending an information session in our city hosted by one of the Recruitment staff. We attended that session because we knew friends whose children had already attended the school and had glowing reports about it. Nothing stands out in my memory as a significantly frustrating process. The Admissions officer did not have much of a chance to persuade or dissuade us because we were already convinced that Rothesay Netherwood was the right choice for our son. The advice I would give anyone considering applying is to find parents of current students to ask them for their experiences and opinions of the school and the process. There are questions other parents can answer that provide you with the practical information you should have to make your choice.
(4) University placement and counselling
My son had the opportunity to attend university information sessions on campus and to talk to faculty who guide students through the process each year. The school was very supportive of scheduling times for students to visit campuses within the Atlantic region and to understand when students planned visits beyond the Atlantic borders. In our case, our son was interested in doing all the research about schools, visiting and making his own decision. He was able to do so because the structure and guidance provided by the school for this process worked well. It is inherent in Rothesay Netherwood's mandate to help their students find academic and personal success in their high school years which gives them a better chance at finding and being accepted in a post-secondary program and they have done a great job at creating that space.