REVIEW OF St. Jude's Academy BY parent, Rola Abunowara
- Date of Review
January 24, 2018
(N/A) Student Experience
St. Jude’s Academy encompasses a warm and friendly atmosphere; from the moment you walk through their doors. Two years ago we attended their open house, and immediately we knew this was the school for our children. The diverse and highly-qualified staff are always greeting you with warm-hearted smiles, and are continuously willing to go above and beyond their job descriptions. The morning school-wide assemblies nurture the friendly school environment while challenging the students to do their best through their technique of positive reinforcement, called “house points.” The entire school is divided into three “Houses”, and students are encouraged to achieve points for their house group. Points are attained through good behaviour, aiding fellow schoolmates, and by the ever so exciting “House games,” that both students and teachers take part in. The strong International Baccalaureate curriculum encourages students to be inquisitive, and prepares them for the collaborative nature of the work place. St. Jude’s Academy and its’ staff have instilled a love of learning in my child, making him a lifelong learner.
(N/A) School Leadership
The administrative members of SJA work together to make the school a truly enriching setting. The Principal, Vice Principal, teachers, IB Coordinators, and all the support staff are outgoing and approachable. As a parent, I never felt a problem was too small or insignificant to approach any of those listed. Any questions or concerns are treated with the utmost respect, regardless of whom I spoke with. The staff work alongside parents to inspire the greatest educational experiences for the students. The student body is diverse and celebrated. Many staff members take part in leading the various extracurricular activities the school offers, which include sports teams, dance, yoga, or piano lessons to name a few.
The teachers and supporting staff at St. Jude’s Academy hold a special place in our hearts. My son is currently completing his second year at SJA and absolutely adores the staff. The teachers are deeply committed to giving the students the best educational experiences, while challenging them to do their very best every day. Walking down the halls with my son during his first year at the school, I was shocked to see that all teachers knew the names of the entire student body. This was heartwarming to know that he would be in a caring and nurturing atmosphere, that acted as his home away from home. The educators at SJA are always willing to offer extra help and support if they find a student struggling with any part of the academic curriculum, but are also respectful of children’s sensitive nature when they are feeling lost or confused. Teachers create lessons that embrace the diverse learning styles of students. Field trips occur a few times a year, per grade, and are facilitated through the collaboration of the instructors, enabling enrichment of the curriculum.
SJA is an International Baccalaureate World School, encompassing an advanced and internationally minded academic curriculum. Whether the student is enrolled in the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, or soon to be Diploma Programme, the educational philosophies mirror those outlined for an IB school. We decided to enroll our children in this curriculum because it emphasizes and instills necessary work ethics, and the essential life skills needed after high school. Students have set courses every day, which include Math, French, Science, English, Gym, and Social Studies. The upper years require additional courses, not included in the regular Ontario curriculum. These include the Theory of Knowledge, where students are taught to question the foundations of information, and a research project in the form of an Extended Essay to be completed in their last year of school. Community service plays a large role at SJA, and this was important for us as a family to teach our kids. We wanted our boys to learn to be responsible and active members of their community, and society; which is another reason we chose St. Jude’s Academy.
There is no shortage of extracurricular activities to take part in at SJA. Whether students are a part of the band, sports teams, or the school concerts and talent shows, everyone is engaged. The entire elementary student body works together to perform their annual Winter Concert. Parents, friends, and grandparents gather to attend this well-versed show. The volunteers who take part in the Parent Guild plan extraordinary fundraising events, that gather students from all grades.
The student population at SJA is composed of a large diversity of ethnic backgrounds. This was another feature of the school that my husband and I treasured, as we felt it aided in the enrichment of our children’s educational experience. SJA is a small private school that has roughly 450 students, ranging from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12. The student body is comprised of both Canadian and International students. We found that the families registered at the school had an assorted range of financial backgrounds, and no preference or stigma were given to either end of the spectrum. My son has friends in every grade, mainly because the students are friendly and always willing to play and include everyone. These inclusive attitudes of the children are simply a reflection of the teachings of the school. St. Jude’s Academy is based on integrity and honour. It also values the IB Learner Profile, which are a set of attributes taught to the children and nurtured by the curriculum. These characteristics include being open-minded, caring, principled and balanced. Many members of our extended family have also enrolled their children at SJA after seeing how happy we were after our first year. My son enjoys being able to go to school with new friends, and old cousins.
(N/A) School Life
St. Jude’s Academy allows its students to be surrounded by caring staff, and parents. It is not uncommon to walk down the halls and see parents helping children, other than their own, unpack their bags, or simply help them on days they are missing their parents. My son is always greeted by other parents and kids from older grades. The school has two gyms, an auditorium, a music room, and a science lab (to name a few). The campus offers a large soccer field outside, where students play and parents chat after school, during the nicer-weathered months. They run around laughing and playing tag, while solidifying eternal relationships, and building their self-confidence.
Parents work alongside the staff and administrators to successfully plan many of the events at SJA. Some examples include the Bake Sales, the Science Fair, the Book Fair, and many of the movie and dance nights. As a parent, it was lovely being able to meet, and personally get to know the other parents at the school. I remember after our initial tour at SJA two years ago, I connected via telephone with another mother at the school, whom I had never met. I wanted to get an honest opinion on the school. Her outlook then, is exactly what mine is now – I would highly recommend St. Jude’s Academy for any parent who wants to give their child a strong education, that combines a nurturing, but challenging, environment.
(N/A) School Location
The school is located in North Mississauga, in a quiet neighbourhood. It is situated right beside one the oldest ice rinks, where the school offers skating lessons. It is located close to two of the major highways, (HWY 401 & HWY 407), making it extremely accessible by transit or automobile.
The admissions process at St. Jude’s Academy includes a pre-assessment for students that have attended other schools, for placement purposes. If you are entering at the JK level, I would recommend booking an appointment early, as the spot fill up relatively quickly. At the initial meeting one of the admissions representatives meets with you to give you a tour of the school, and inform you of the schools policies and overall environment. The admissions process was smooth and fairly easy since my son was enrolling in JK, but having any previous preschool reports in-hand at the time of the interview would be helpful.