REVIEW OF Rothesay Netherwood School BY parent, Javier Azagra
- Date of Review
November 16, 2020
Gr. 9 - 12
(5) Student Experience
We had two kids at school, a girl from grade 6 until grade 8 and a boy from grade 9 till grade 12. He boarded the school the last year since we had to return to our home country Spain. What both like the best is the atmosphere that they were able to breathe at the school: a familiar atmosphere that helps you to know different cultures and participate in all you can think of. At the same time, it was also challenging since the school provides all the opportunities that you can think of. The school will help the kid to develop his/her strong aspects and improve his/Her weaknesses. They also enjoyed the balance between social life, academic and sport/art curricula. They would get support, not only from staff but especially from other students.
(5) School Leadership
As a parent, I consider that one of the strongest aspects of the school is communication. There are several ways to do so (online tool, email, phone or in person!). Availability is 24/7. They get to know your son/daughter pretty quickly (thanks to their experience) so they can also detect any issue soon enough and take action between parents and school. Administration runs smoothly and any issues that we have had (which we did) were solved quickly and efficiently. For parents what we most appreciate was the positive a safe environment that we perceived. We also were aware of some disciplinary decisions that were appropriately communicated.
As always, the preparation of different teachers vary. Their overall quality is high although sometimes you can think they can push the kids a little bit harder. What we liked is that the philosophy or culture of the teaching was really consistent across de the border. That is, no matter which teacher your kid has he/she can expect the same: effort, commitment, hard work,... The feedback is really well organized with regular behavior evaluations and also detailed academic evaluations. On top of that, there are personally scheduled meetings. But as mentioned before, there is 24/7 availability of everyone at school, including the headmaster. They really know what your kid needs to improve in and what to potentiate. In the last two years school really helps your kid to focus on his/her next step, really opening their eyes to all opportunities that exist.
The academic program is really strong. And it offers lots of opportunities. Our experience is mainly in the science aspect and we know that math, physics and chemistry are really strong and prepare the student very well for the next step at University. We feel other programs are also strong based on the scholarships that some of the students were able to obtain in humanities, and social sciences. Also, the artistic program (art and music) is there although we feel is more challenging. Culture, as mentioned before, is based on hard work, continuous effort, commitment and challenging objectives that really develop your son or daughter to their maximum capabilities. Obviously, they will push but it will be the student's decision to accept that challenge or live in a more comfortable position.
This is another of the strong aspects at RNS. Sport, art, musicals,...there are so many opportunities that the student will not have time for everything. Sports can be at a very high competition level (national) or local which is fun but still teaches key aspects for the student, such us teamwork, responsibility and commitment. For example, in the competitive teams, they prioritize academic results and they will always reserve time (and hotel room) in trips to make sure that academic does not fall behind.
Student body is around 330. There is an amazing mix of local, Canadian and international students. A mix that gives the opportunity to learn about other cultures and develop friendships that will last all the children´s life. At least this has been our experience so far. There is a culture of community where students help each other in all aspects: academic, sports and arts,... Also, there are quite a lot of planned situations where students are responsible to organize events for the community, parents and neighbours. Student choose their representatives, so in this way the student can develop their leadership role. An excellent initiative driven by the school is during lunchtime where students from different grades share that time which is supervised by a grade 12 student.
(5) School Life
RNS Campus is amazing and it is also located close by to a beautiful forest area full of paths that can be enjoyed all academic year long. Sport and art facilities are first class and as mentioned before there is always something to do. The area (Rothesay) is beautiful and most importantly safe, in which the students can enjoy some free time. Students have lots of opportunities to interact with each other. Rooms are shared by students with different nationalities so there is a lower risk of own-country isolations. There are many activities that are organized weekly for the students and by the students to share their work or culture with the school community, parents and also with neighbours. Students can also access a mall, movie theater, sports events in the city and also trips organized when long weekends occur.
Families and parents are engaged from the first day. Being also abroad you can interact with the school through social media (really active in Facebook and Instagram) and especially through the web site. Where you can find everything that goes on at the school. The school also organizes activities to interact with the community (musical or theatre play, music auditions,...and all sorts of fares). But especially important is the involvement of the school family in events where community is in need for help: events such as flooding situations, cleaning initiatives and also anti-poverty initiatives. Students also participate in voluntary programs such as BBBS, interacting with other students from local schools who are going through difficulties. This really helps the RNS students to open up their eyes and grow as human beings.
(5) School Location
The school is located in a beautiful spot, within walking distance to a safe and organized neighbourhood that includes access to some shopping. There is accessibility to malls, town (Saint John), and airport through bus or taxi (20 minutes top). Students are allowed certain times for leisure: go shopping and movie theatre at specific periods of time. The school will drive them in their own bus
The application process is really straightforward. The admissions team will help you with anything you might need. They will give you all the facilities necessary. This has been our experience. I would recommend a visit and get to know the team and also admire the facilities and the local area. The process was really smooth because it can really be stressful. Also, the first day of school or "the landing" of the students is a process that is well prepared. One activity that the admission team has is that the student can visit the school on a normal day and this visit is run by a student which really helps the potential new student to feel about RNS culture and how his/her important things might work.
(5) University placement and counselling
Based on our experience this is one of the strongest processes that the school has. Our son was able to fulfill his project of remaining in Canada to pursue his Engineering studies. All his journey was supported by his teachers and advisor. There is also a specific university counsellor that really helped him to solve any questions or issues that he had. Also supported during the whole process, including preregistration, scholarship opportunities and so on. There was no deadline that was missed and he was able to select the different options that were applicable. The team really puts an effort into that and our son was able to achieve his goal with really good funding for the next step. The counselling team also helps in any other post-secondary options that exist. Also, the school facilitated contact with former RNS students to share their experience at University (the same one as he was applying to).