Reviews of Rothesay Netherwood School

Rothesay, NB  |  Grades 6 - 12  |  Shortlist

 

Review by: Ellen Milner - Parent (Nov 16, 2020)

"Students from various countries and backgrounds, balanced with students from across Canada, combine to allow for an expanded sense of the world."


Student Experience

My son and daughter attended RNS for grades 10-12. For each of them, the major impact of RNS has been the relationships that they developed, both with their peers and with the staff. RNS provides a variety of structure and well-planned activities from opening to closing day that are fun, engaging, and designed to help students build connections. My children looked forward to house challenges, sports, theatre productions, movie nights, New River Beach day, and countless other events. As well, the small class sizes enabled them to form trusting relationships with their teachers. This is essential given the high level of academic expectations. While in residence, they were able to build their independent skills for managing free time, socializing, studying and activities with the support of their house parents.


School Leadership

My experience with the RNS administration team has been very positive. Communication is frequent, transparent, and encouraged. The administration is extremely approachable. Discipline is handled through a teaching lens, to help students understand consequences, develop a sense of responsibility and grow. When a family emergency required immediate attention, the RNS leadership was available and did everything within their power to support. This included supporting not just our child who was there, but our whole family and the entire RNS community.


Teaching

At RNS, teachers are extremely knowledgeable about content areas. From my observations, their expectations are that students will assume responsibility for coursework, including advocating for themselves when they need support. This support is available during class, but also during scheduled study time. As well, faculty are on duty at the dining hall and available to help students during the day on weekends. There is no question that students are challenged, and teachers frequently check in to ensure that students have the support they need so they are not overwhelmed. Teachers have also expressed that they are available to speak with parents as needed. Even after graduation, my son would return to visit his teachers at RNS to check in. I expect my daughter will do the same.


Extracurriculars

RNS offers a variety of extracurricular activities, ranging from arts to athletics to technology. Because of the focus on being well-rounded, both my children participated in a theatre production, which they never would have done otherwise. In addition, they were able to participate in their chosen sports and continue their development sufficiently to play at the university level after graduation.


Students

The diversity of the student body at Rothesay Netherwood School is one of their strengths. Students from various countries and backgrounds, balanced with students from across Canada, combine to allow for an expanded sense of the world. RNS structures dorm life, dining hall, advisory groups and house challenges so that students are continually in mixed groups. At all times, the school is conscious of creating a culture of respect. Students celebrate each others' achievements and individual characteristics. RNS is small enough to ensure that every student makes connections, yet large enough that students can find a group that shares their interests. My children would say that the social aspect of RNS life is what they will remember most about their time, and they still connect with friends.


School Life

School life at Rothesay Netherwood School provides a balance of structured options, mandatory activities and downtime to hang out with friends. Dorm activities were always popular, and provided chances for them to hang out with those who may have very different schedules due to different interests and extracurriculars. The availability of faculty, the friendliness of the dining hall staff, and the care of the house parents all contribute to the overall experience. Rothesay Netherwood School functions as the home away from home that we want for our children. Students have a chance to develop the values and habits that will serve them well as they move onto post-secondary life and beyond. As a parent, I also appreciate the attempts made to keep us informed and involved, including weekly news and the photo gallery.


Community

Rothesay Netherwood School provides an abundance of home and school communication. This includes both formal and informal, from staff members, administration, coaches, advisors and house parents. Because of this, I feel very connected as a parent to all aspects of my child's RNS life. We do not live in New Brunswick, so opportunities to visit campus are infrequent. Despite this, we feel very welcome and connected to what a day looks like for our children. When we do make it to campus, the staff is very visible and always make an effort to say hello and check in. In addition to responding almost immediately to any queries, teaching and other staff reach out to share details that reflect their strong ties and relationships with the students.


School Location

The setting of Rothesay Netherwood School is ideal. In addition to a beautiful campus, there are numerous walking and hiking trails which the students use, especially Spyglass Lookoff. As well, there is a shuttle service to the commercial mall area on the weekend for those who are interested, as well as trips to New River Beach and other areas.


Admissions

The administration staff was very helpful with the application process, and followed up to ensure that all necessary documentation was submitted. I would recommend a campus visit to anyone considering applying to Rothesay Netherwood School, but be forewarned: once you visit the campus and see the classes, campus life and opportunities available, it will be difficult to entertain other options. As well, things are quite well laid out on the website, including Frequently Asked Questions, tuition, scholarships, fees, etc. Once admitted, the admissions team continued the support, guiding new families through uniforms, technology, what to bring, etc. We did not have any experience with the process initially, and the admissions team was key to helping us navigate and ensure that we completed it without issue.


University placement and counselling

One of the major factors in considering Rothesay Netherwood School was the support of the university placement officer. At the first closing ceremony I attended, the number of scholarships awarded and the variety of post-secondary institutions students would attend were impressive. Students are encouraged to apply to programs that suit their path, and RNS staff follow up to make sure deadlines are met. As a parent, I feel that the next step to post-secondary learning needs to be less about support for me, and more about support for the student who is applying. To this end, I have not been in direct contact with the university placement staff, but trust that those conversations are happening with her, as they happened with her brother, who found a perfect post-secondary spot with a full-tuition scholarship.


Academics

The academic program at Rothesay Netherwood School is quite rigorous. Offering only International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, the students are expected to complete a significant amount of work independently, and manage their time effectively. Teachers are available to support outside of class hours. Even the structure of the school day reflects the high academic standards, with two hours of school-wide study time mandatory during weekdays. My children have said that this study time makes it easier to commit to getting school work done, as everyone is in the same boat. As well, in the dorms, the house parents and other students are available to support if needed. Rothesay Netherwood School places a strong emphasis on participation and self-reflection, as evidenced in their progress reports.




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