Roundtable Q&A Discussion About St. Clement's School (2021)
St. Clement's School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Claudia, Simona, Neil had to say about the school.
- 2:11 - What do you appreciate most about the school during your time there? And how is your perspective on that change now that you have some distance from the school?
- 5:17 - What to the best of your knowledge, most different shapes the school from others?
- 6:56 - If the school were to be represented as a single person, what would its personality be like in only three words?
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Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Claudia — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Claudia graduated from St. Clement’s School in 2001 and wanted her daughter to have the same opportunity to learn and grow in the same environment that she did. As both parent and an alumna, Claudia has spent many years in the St. Clement’s School community. She appreciates the sisterhood that her daughter has the opportunity to experience in the school’s all-girls environment. The values of St Clement’s School align with her family's values, and she believes that that, along with the strong academic focus, will set her daughter up for success in life.
- “I think the lifelong relationship is very much a key to my experience at [St. Clement’s School]. I'm still friends with the girls that I grew up with, it has been a good 20 years since I graduated, and I am still friends with these people. There's something to say about the shared experience you have and really going through the ups and downs of life. It is harder to make friends as you get older, and you really value the people that you grew up with. … Everybody has been so great to boost each other up, even with jobs.”
- “In university, you don't necessarily have those [close] relationships with your professors. So out of university, I was looking at some other programs and I found myself coming back to St. Clements [School], and the teachers and staff were more than willing to help me, and help get me to that next phase in my life.”
- “[St. Clement’s School has a] sense of community that everyone feels, and [students] can form cross-grade relationships, because it is such a small school. [Students] have a lot of time together physically in the small space, and also, St. Clement’s [School] teaches girls to be resourceful. It is a great time for everyone, being able to depend on each other. Always knowing that somebody has your back is a really great feeling.”
- “I also thought about this a lot, and I kind of pulled [answers from] some of my fellow alumni too. I feel like St. Clements girls are very ambitious. We have a lot of great scholars out there, top 40 under 40, very successful people in life. ... The girls are just genuine. What you see is what you get. ... They're happy to see you, and kind. They're just warm.”
- “[St. Clement’s School] girls know how to get things done. We come from a small school but we're resourceful.”
- “When I was at [St. Clement’s School], I would have really appreciated a program that [the school] has a newly instituted program called ‘Linkwell,’ which really helps teach the girls balance and taking care of themselves. St. Clements [School] is academically rigorous. ... And [the students] do strive for success. But at the same time, this program is so key to teaching them how to avoid burnout. That's always top of mind as an alum, but also as a parent. ”
- “I think [St. Clement’s School] found fun and creative ways to encourage STEM in the classroom. Even from Grade 1, there was an introduction to coding, and this past year [students] were able to introduce that at school. [My daughter] in her spare time would be programming little Galaga games, or using her brother as a tester, and then quickly changing the code based on his feedback. So I thought that was one and she's only nine years old and she just knows how to take care of everything herself, and I just let her be.”
- “At St. Clement’s [School] you have all sorts of opportunities and experience, and there is no prototypical St. Clement’s [School] girl outside of the core values. Where [a student’s] interest lies, [St. Clement’s School] is ready to help them flourish, and I think that's wonderful.”
- “There are so many different activities for [students] to explore, whether it be sports or arts or music. [Students] have a lot of opportunities [at St. Clement’s School] to make new friends and pursue a potential new passion.”
- “I had a wonderful experience during my time at St. Clements, and I wanted the same thing for [my daughter]. There have been so many improvements since I graduated, that it's an even better experience for her. ... I actually have two other alum [from my year] with girls in my daughter's grade, so that's been fun reconnecting [with them]. … My daughter is growing up in a family of a lot of sons. I wanted to give her that sisterhood that I could not provide her.”
- “I think the teaching staff at [St. Clement’s School] are very in tune with each individual child, and they are not afraid to reach out to the parents and help them thrive, if it means finding little things to help. For example, say you have a left-handed child, and you need to bring in an OT to help with certain elements. I'm very early on in this journey with [my daughter], but even finding little things to help her become more confident and giving her opportunities to grow and learn [is great].”
- “The teaching has been amazing at [St. Clement’s School]. [The teachers] are so in tune with what your child needs. … I feel like I have a lot of loving feelings towards all the teachers that we've had so far. I've just been so happy with [St. Clement’s School].”
- “[My daughter] enjoys not having boys around. … She came from public school, and [St. Clement’s School] was very different, being a single-sex school. She loves it, and having that opportunity. … Girls and boys learn differently. Even as she goes to other camps, she does find that it is a bit more disruptive for her participation and learning when the boys are there. She does appreciate that aspect about [St. Clement’s School] and she also loves all her friends and her teachers.”
- “Integrity is a huge key to the core values of [St. Clement’s School]. A lot of the families want the same things for their girls. They're not just looking for their girls to succeed, but also, how do they want them to live their lives? I think a big component is success with integrity.”
- “For me, St. Clement [School] is like coming home again, and not just as a parent, but as alumni, you can always go back in. The relationships are so wonderful and invaluable.”
Simona — alum
Simona graduated from St. Clement’s School in 20 17 and is now completing her last year of her undergraduate degree. While there, she enjoyed exploring many different opportunities and extracurricular activities. She appreciated the teachers taking the time to give each individual student the attention they need to flourish academically and otherwise. Simona enjoyed the tight-knit community at St. Clement’s School, and remains close with the students and teachers that she met there to this day.
- “One of the things I appreciated the most about [St. Clement’s School] was how invested the teachers were in getting to know the individual students beyond the classroom, and really developing strong relationships. I think back to when I was in school, I had those teachers that were friends and mentors. Especially because I started in Grade 1, [they] saw me go through so many stages in the Upper School, [such as] choosing classes, choosing what university to go to, and I really appreciated that.”
- “I felt like I had teachers at [St. Clement’s School] who I could lean on. Now five years out from the school, I actually still have relationships with two of these teachers. I was just reading a book with my English teacher from Grade 10. ... It's really nice to see how these relationships have sustained, and I think that's something that you can't take for granted. If I look at my undergrad degree, I didn't really get that relationship with professors, so that's something that definitely was unique to my experience.”
- “The size of the school, which I think sometimes can be perceived as a negative, but I think is really positive, and just makes for such a more united experience as you're going through St. Clements [School]. I think back to being in Grade 1, I still am in contact with my prefect who was in Grade 12 to this day. She's working in New York in her 30s and remembers me when I was in grade six. I think that just speaks to how wonderful it is to be such a small school, where the older girls are really a mentor to the younger girls.”
- “I think [the small size of the school is] a huge differentiator. A lot of the other private schools are a little bit bigger, and I think that's something really special to [St. Clement’s School].”
- “I would say [St. Clement’s School] is passionate. Everyone at the school, all the students are really involved in something at the school that they love. If you've been to school, you know. ... [Students] are really passionate about the things that they're learning, and they really add a lot of energy to school through that.”
- “I know throughout my time at [St. Clement’s School], if I had a new idea or initiative I wanted to start, I always have the support from teachers. [They] always wanted us to go above and beyond, and add our own colour to the school. … [St. Clement’s School] is really warm, walking into [St. Clement’s School] is like a big hug. It's so nice to be back even now. I always felt going into school in the mornings, you're surrounded by your best friends, and it’s just a really warm place to be.”
- “Despite [St. Clement’s School] being a small school, it can really cater to totally different individuals that have different interests. I'll use my sister and I as an example. I went down the STEM path. I was on the soccer team, I was into music, and she did a completely different thing. She didn't want to go into those STEM courses. She was interested in the arts, she got really involved in the musical. So I think that's something that was really neat, that we were both able to flourish in our own ways and leave our own marks.”
- “I think [St. Clement’s School] did a really good job offering [students] different opportunities based on our own interests. There was no one path for a ‘Clementine,’ even if the school was small.”
- “[I would encourage St. Clement’s School students] to take time to invest in relationships in the school, and take time to pause and talk to people. There are very ambitious girls at [St. Clement’s School]. [Students] are always running between classes, doing clubs, but I would encourage [prospective St. Clement’s School students] to take the time to hang back, talk to teachers, and get to know girls in other grades. That really goes a long way, developing those relationships, throughout [St. Clement’s School] and beyond.”
Neil — current parent
Neil is the parent of two twin girls that attend St. Clement’s School as Grade 7 students. He appreciates that the school individualizes the education for each student because of the many different interests each of his girls have. He believes that the school is a warm and nurturing environment that is preparing his daughters academically and socially for their futures. With a strong focus on mental well-being, St. Clement’s School shows it cares deeply for the students and their success.
- “My daughters are capable, and they enjoy the sciences. It'll be interesting to see what direction they go in. I took note that [St. Clement’s School] had the robotics program, and I thought that was super cool. What a great thing, right? Giving the girls an opportunity to have fun and play around with that stuff, and create some interest and passion around that. I thought that was wonderful.”
- “It was very warm, and very good for my kids. As soon as we left, my wife and my daughters were like, ‘oh, this is great. I really like this school. This feels really good.’ So at that point, it was a no-brainer. We knew that [St. Clement’s School] was the school we wanted for our daughters.”
- “I feel like that the [St. Clement’s School] teachers really are warm and supportive, and they take time for the kids. ... My kids are big into sports, so I always see that part of it.”
- “[St. Clement’s School] really is just a place where [my daughters] can thrive. In the last semester, [one of my daughters] did some different project work at [St. Clement’s School], and one of them was around architecture... She made this really beautiful structure. I think she was on that path towards medicine, but it's made her pause. She's got this lovely artistic side to her. I love that, because this is the time to discover those interests, and those passions.”
- “I've always said to [my daughter], you gotta figure it out, and you do what you want to do. In her mind, she was always going into medicine, but the school and the opportunity really caused her to pause [and think about it]. [St. Clement’s School] offers [my daughters] lots of opportunities to be put out there, and get out of their comfort zone. I think they are true leaders.”
- “[My daughters are] very different: they're twins and they are fraternal. They look different. They are completely different in a lot of respects. I feel like [one of my daughters] is finding her identity more, which was the big thing that I wanted for her. ... She's developing her own unique friendships. I can see that just continuing to grow with her over the years.”
- “There was consensus [in my family] that [St. Clement’s School] is a really positive, supportive, and nurturing environment. [My daughters] also talked about how they really try to individualize [education], and they look at [students] as individuals.”
- “I think the words [to describe St. Clement’s School] would be supportive and nurturing. … The academic rigor and all that stuff is there, but how do you get there? How do you best support [students] through that? It really starts with a caring, really nurturing environment, where nobody gets left behind. ... Some environments just allow certain people to succeed, and others are forgotten about. [St. Clement’s School] really is looking out for each individual [student], and what their needs are.”
- “Curiosity, courage, and passion are [St. Clement’s School’s] values. … I think about my life, and the stuff that I do, a lot of it's about learning, leading, and inspiring. When I go back and reflect upon those values that are at the school, I think they align. That curiosity, that passion, that drive for learning. ... You know, the whole point about leading, [is that] anyone can lead.”
- “When we talk about inspiring people, it's a lot about integrity. … I really like those values. I think that they're important. In terms of the whole school, and the families and stuff, everybody is so welcoming and warm and there really is a sense of community at [St. Clement’s School].”
- “I would say [St. Clement’s School] is a wonderful school, and the school really does live up to its values and its reputation. … It makes me super excited for the next four years and what the school is going to offer for the girls, and where it's going to take them.”