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St. Michael's College School:
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Grades 7 TO 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


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St. Michael's College School:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
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Roundtable Q&A Discussion About St. Michael's College School (2020)

St. Michael's College School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Matthew, Rozz, Robin had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Matthew — alum

Matthew attended Northmount School and graduated in 2020. Matthew found his confidence and love for sports at Northmount where he graduated as Head Boy.

  • “The thing that I appreciated the most about the school was how the school really dialled down and made you feel like you were the star kid there.  All the teachers wanted to make sure we were proper and always handed in our work. They always give you the most attention and care. For example, at the beginning of the school, I was struggling with my core subjects, particularly math. The first thing that Mr. Milana, who was my math teacher at the time, did was he sent me to the classroom where I worked with Miss Fialo who was great. She provided so much extra help. She helped me a lot; mainly she helped me with my confidence, and it also showed when my grades improved.”
  • “It's the group of kids and teachers which really differentiates the school. The first thing I noticed was the teachers. The moment I came to the school, my first teacher was Mr. Kurrick. He was my Grade 7 homeroom teacher, which was the year I came to Northmount. And immediately I completely noticed how enthusiastic he was, how energetic he was, and how he shaped up the year. He made it seem like he was going to help you; overall made you feel good and comfortable.”
  • “All these kids, it was very, very social, and they made you feel very comfortable, and like you were part of the community that early on.”
  • “Number one trait of Northmount is honesty for sure: honesty gives a lot of kids confidence. It takes a lot of the blurriness that happens in your brain. What I mean by that is you don't have to think, is this kid being honest with me? Is this teacher being honest with you? It takes away that aspect of thought and that worry. It makes you feel very comfortable and very confident.”
  • “I would describe Northmount as a very sports-related school, but it's also a very academic school. A lot of kids, including me, learn a lot about themselves through challenges that you get put in and Northmount provides a lot of challenges and many of those are academic challenges. For example, in my math class and at the beginning of the year, Mr. Milana is a strict teacher who works very fast. I think it was a challenge in terms of an academic perspective. It really taught me about how I reacted to it at the beginning versus how I react to it now; seeing a problem that I can't solve. Do I panic and get all these items wrong, or do I relax and get it right? So, confidence in how you react to certain situations and certain problems.”
  •  “One more word that I use to describe Northmount is community. It is a very loving community, everybody's together, all the kids, everybody works together. Every morning we have a meeting, a morning assembly, and that's a time where our whole school comes together. Dr. Sheridan most mornings is at the front leading the whole school and everybody's together. Everybody's sharing announcements and overall it’s a great community that a lot of people, including myself, really grow off of.”
  • “I think surprising is just the intimidating term for exciting. So, what would a family find surprising about Northmount? Well, it depends on your background. For example, in the school I came from, before Northmount, I found that I didn't get much extra attention, extra help, and all this extra stuff that Northmount provides. So when I came to Northmount, I found the most surprising thing was how the Northmount teachers were immediately like, ‘Okay, you didn't do so well in this. Let's get you this and all this extra help and stuff’. That was when I first got into the classroom, and I wasn't expecting that. So, I think it's different for everybody. Every family is going to find something surprising. It just all depends on where you're coming from.”
  • “The best advice I can give to a new student that's entering Northmount is to step outside your comfort zone. Go join the club that you never joined before, join the sports team that you always wanted to, but you never found the courage to. Do all this stuff and keep the mindset of being challenged; this goes for sports and academics.”
  • “I found that sports and Northmount help me grow this mindset to be in a challenging phase. Where a challenged mindset is where you're confident, but you're not cocky … So overall, in short, I think that the best advice I can give is to step outside of your comfort zone and then keep a humble and challenging mindset.”
  • “Northmount makes you feel very confident, and that allows you to go and ask teachers for things. That support could be written support or emotional support. And I'm going to give you an example. I asked Dr. Sheridan to write my reference letter for my application to high school and he wrote a nice, really nice letter for me, which I know helped me out a lot.”
  • “So, applying to high school is the easiest part for sure. With all the support that Northmount brings, it's just during the school year, the opportunities that you take advantage of are what's going to define what happens later on in your high school years, which is why it's important to have courage.”

Rozz — current parent

Rozz is the current president of the parent association at Northmount. Her son, Daniel, joined eight years ago.

  • “What struck me when we came to the school and all the other moms were there when you walk in the building—it is very comforting and not daunting. So if you have, say, a boy who takes a little time to ease into things, it's a comforting place to slide into.”
  • “Another aspect to it, which surprised me, which I thought was a nice and unique element, was the chapel that's right in the school. Now, I'm not of the Catholic faith, but I do think it's important, in terms of the value in the character of bringing up our kids, that there is that aspect to it. So, it was another nice element in the physical space of the building that attracted me to consider the school.”
  • “The class size, I think at that time was around 15—now we've grown to 16 or 17 but, that's where it maxes out, and it’s a good number. I didn't want something too small, that’s why we switched schools. I think 6 people, that's not enough to socialize. It's not enough breadth or depth of people and diversity, whereas 15 is a great number. So, those were the things that attracted me initially.”
  • “What I liked seeing in the first year was that it's a school that spans from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, all in one. So, Northmount doesn’t have a middle school or a lower school—it's all together. And when I went to school, I don't remember being aware of the kids in the grades ahead of me or the kids below me. Whereas the boys here, because of some of the activities, like Big Brother, Little Brother, and the assemblies in the morning, where they're all gathered together for the morning announcements and so on, they are acutely aware of kids in other grades. So, it's really cute to see the Grade 8s and they have a little brother paired up with them in the lower grades. “
  • “I think the single-gender feature, which again, isn't for everyone, but for boys, especially in the junior school, I can see that there are definite pros to it. I think it's great that they can play on the field and challenge each other with math, computer math, whatever they have, they're competitive, and they get competitive with each other. Then, they forget about it when they're doing something else and they're collaborative or they're going to try and get under each other's skin. So, they have that whole gamut.”
  • “I think that impact for my son is a good thing in terms of the social aspect to it. The academics were a given that I would expect and want out of Northmount, and I haven't been disappointed with that. So, you're asking me what has had a bigger impact from my point of view, would be that social aspect for him that … he can be confident and vulnerable to all in the same place.”
  • “I think the size of the school has, in retrospect, been very positive. For Daniel, he started to get into the school play and the music stuff. In a large school where each grade may have four classes, instead of one grade, they all know the Grade 7s. They all know each other and they're all joining in and developing at the same kind of rate, roughly speaking. That I think was a reason why he would get into those things. And I'm not so sure that in a larger environment, he would have tried out, gone into the class play or the school newspaper or things like that.”
  • “If I were to reach into my son’s brain and get what I think he would say about the school, what comes to mind is a sense of safety and comfort. It’s comfortable, it doesn't take them long to figure out the layout of the school and from the little ones who race around as if they've been there for four years to the older ones.”
  • “He likes or knows that there's healthy competition there. That is, I'm sort of hearing that more and more so-and-so is doing this or so-and-so is great at this but I'm better at this. They tend to know each other's strengths and weaknesses in their group but not strictly in a competitive way. They also know how to help each other with the other person's strengths and weaknesses.”
  • “The values of Northmount: They were generous, supportive, and ambitious. So, in terms of generosity, the school is generous in its spirit. And I think in keeping with the Catholic nature and basis for the school, the parents are particularly generous as well. There are lots of opportunities for parents to contribute to be part of their son's school. It's very comforting about the quality of the parents and the quality of community support of the school. I think supportive to its students …  in terms of abilities and aptitudes and the facility is something that the school has been working on over the past few years to be supportive from a facilities point of view, which is important.”
  • “Not only do the teachers know the students, but the students know each other very quickly. Maybe it's because they're all boys, or maybe it's because they have the assembly together in the morning and they fool around and get told to be quiet and so on. But they learn about each other's strengths and weaknesses. And they really do recognize them and don't gloss over them. I think that enables the boys to be individual and to not be afraid if they love music or they love art or they like to read in the library, like, that's fine. It gets processed and turned around and everyone knows what they are.”

Robin — current parent

Robin is a proud mom at Northmount. Her sons, Frase and Sloan, are currently in Grades 3 and 4.

  • “It was a smaller school which ticked a box for us. It was evident from speaking with Mrs. Menta and different teachers that from the whole pedagogy of the school that academic excellence was a focus, as well as being well-rounded students who are taught character traits.”
  • “What I expected, based on what I had learned from the school before our boys went in, was that academic success played a very strong, critical role within the school and tied to that was the small class sizes. They’re a really, really great size. Small enough that it's very focused but large enough that the kids can get into experiments and work in groups and things such as that. So, the school isn't too small." 
  • “What I didn't expect was the connection of all grades. I was going to say the same thing as Rozz, when my older one was in Senior Kindergarten when he first got there after a few weeks. An older boy went, ‘Oh, hey, Sloan’. And I thought, oh, this kid's joking. And I said, ‘Oh, Sloan, who’s that?’, and he said, ‘Oh, that's so and so…they're in Grade 7.’ Having camaraderie across the grades is just fantastic.”
  • “Also, what I didn't expect and even though I had been told it, I didn't expect that there would be such a great focus and a great kind of 360 views on different academics, art, music, and different types of physical fitness, as well as theatre, and all the kinds of periphery that helps kind of make these boys well-rounded students.”
  • “My two boys, although they have a lot of similarities, they're also very different. So, for Sloan, the biggest impact for him has been a safe space for him to show his confidence, even though he seems very confident, he looks for reassurance quite a bit. So, he's learning that confidence to be more self-assured, and to be more conscientious.”
  • “Whereas my younger one, Frase, he's very self-assured, he's very confident. He goes to the beat of his own drum and if he doesn't want to play, he removes himself. But he's starting to break out of that shell. He's starting to speak more in class, he's starting to be a bit more kind of team-oriented and gravitating towards being part of groups and things instead of just being himself.”
  • “Their class sizes allow them to explore different areas and risk-averse or risk mitigate. It is always your safe space. The school is the closest that I've ever seen to a safe place for my kids to figure it out outside of their home.”
  • “For me, they are typical students, they will grumble about their homework, but then on the flip side, they take pride in it and they want to show me their work. They want to show me stories that they've done, language arts. They want to show me marks … they take pride in their work.”
  • “I find that the way that the school as an entity kind of comports itself is just demonstrating to the boys how to bump along in life. I'll also say it is uplifting in different ways, so uplifting as a leader. When you think of a leader, a leader helps lift others around up and gives them the tools and gives them the ability to be the best that they can be. Leaders want to see the people within their organization succeed … My third trait for Northmount is outstanding, so outstanding in a lot of different ways.”
  • “The way the different values of the school and the community that I see it parallels quite a bit. Support is a great one, whether it is the support of the school, whether it be time from volunteering or bringing food in for the food drive, every little bit demonstrates just how strong and close-knit the community is. Right back to the same value of the school because you see the teachers putting in those extra hours, you see them setting the children up to succeed, whatever it is. The teachers, the staff, they're all invested, which is a critical component for us. We feel we're invested and it's great to see that everybody else involved is also; it echoes high achieving and goal-driven.”  
  • “Collaborative, we have a great parent body. Being able to work with everybody is great. You know, we all want this to succeed. We all want our boys to succeed in whatever capacity or in whatever way as their own, and we're all working towards that goal.”
  • “The boys also see the parents involved and it helps to hit home that you get what you put, and what you put in, is what you get. So it really just strengthens the community that much more.The boys understand that they're in a pretty special place. They feel somewhat that it's a privilege, homework aside.”
 

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(4.9)

Parent, Don Marino (2020)

We love who our three boys have turned out to be. The teachers give so much of themselves, and the personal time they put into the boys amazed us. The retreats our sons participated in were life-chang...

(5)

Parent, María Corral (2020)

Our family has been part of St. Michael's College School since the year 2017, with our 2 older sons are currently attending the school. Since the very beginning, we were very impressed with St. Mike'...

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Alum, Michael Marcon (2020)

As an Alumnus of St. Michael's College School, I can say firsthand that my experience was excellent. I have had the pleasure of being taught by some of the best teachers around and been coached by som...
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