Logan's teachers at Star Academy are all characters onto themselves. One is passionate about art and can write reams of content about her love. Another one loves to DJ. Yet another one is crazy about film. They all bring their unique selves authentically to their students, sharing their own loves with young minds ready to absorb everything creative. Their passion comes through the uniqueness and creativity of the projects they create such as the Art Crawl or the DJ table at the Fair Day. Another great example of their passion is how they document the children's activities with illustriously edited and filmed movies and presentations. I feel that Logan gets a lot of support from all his teachers in a varied number of subjects and forms. He loves all his teachers and the bonus of being at a school like Star is that they all know and love him, often fighting over his home-made brownies that he bakes frequently to take to them. We have loved every teacher we have met at Star Academy. From his home room teacher to his gym teacher, they have brought innovation, passion and humour to the classroom. For example, Mr. Shao, the gym teacher recognized when he first came to the school last year, that building teamwork was more important than teaching them sports skills. He has since used the daily gym classes as a platform to do that instead of letting it become a competitive landscape, which sports is usually known for. Ms. Smith, who has been his teacher for almost 3 years works with us seamlessly when we implement rules for Logan. Such as the time we hired a tech detox specialist and in tandem, Ms. Smith covered the dangers of too much gaming and electronics in class, reinforcing what we were doing at home. It was very helpful to have a sandwich approach to this problem that we have now largely overcome thanks to everyone's help.
Communication between teachers and parents is regular and ongoing. At the beginning of each academic term parents are emailed a detailed breakdown of the curriculum for each subject, including homework and assessment details. Parents also receive weekly emails from their child’s teacher summarizing the week’s activities/learning. Administration also sends a weekly email covering more general school affairs. A monthly coffee morning, following drop off is also held, giving parents a chance to catch up with one another and administration. Assignments and tests are sent home for signature. How students are evaluated is clear, both in terms of criteria (eg: Knowledge – subject-specific content learnt from the Grade 3 social studies and the comprehension of its meaning and significance etc.) and achievement (demonstrates limited understanding; some understanding; considerable understanding; thorough understanding). These assessment rubrics are supported by teacher comments, which recognize and celebrate student effort and offer constructive feedback, as appropriate. Because class sizes are small, the emphasis is on each child reaching their potential with supports, as required. Having come from French Immersion, individual weekly spelling lists were developed for my youngest to help transition to all English instruction. Movement breaks are encouraged for my eldest. If the curriculum requirements are met in one subject, students are simply moved ahead – reading in our case. Instruction style allows for hands-on, collaborative learning, as well as individual and independent study. Primary grade learning has included researching the importance of the Catholic Church to early French settlers and then building a diorama to reflect that research. Or planning, budgeting and then purchasing materials needed as a class for a science project. Senior student learning has involved writing an essay comparing the perspective of the Toronto and Milwaukee media coverage of the NBA playoffs, debating the need for Canadian government support of First Nations or Bangladesh etc. Overall, we have found both our children excited and engaged to go to school, well supported in their learning style, and keen to share their learning with us!