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Grades JK TO 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


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Roundtable Q&A Discussion About The Bishop Strachan School (2021)

The Bishop Strachan School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Ashley, Stephanie, Vanessa had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Ashley — alum

Ashley graduated from Bishop Strachan School in 2020, and is now attending Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She was a boarding student at the school for her high school years. She felt very prepared academically and socially going into her first year of university. She feels that Bishop Strachan teachers and students are like her second family, and the school’s facilities were like her second home.

  • “I was a boarder, which means that during my time there, [Bishop Strachan School] was my entire life. I remember I would periodically have this realization that I was just so comfortable and content with every facet of my life at [Bishop Strachan School], whether it be how confident and unafraid I felt to speak up in class and ask questions, or how strong the relationships I formed with my peers and teachers were, or most importantly, how at home I felt in boarding.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] provided me with the best second family a girl could ask for, no matter how tough academics might have gotten. As a student who was applying to the US, there was never a time I felt completely beaten down or unsupported, because I was always surrounded by people who were willing to lend a hand. Now that I've been away from [Bishop Strachan School] for a bit, I've realized that an environment like that is really hard to find, and especially in a bigger University, there are so many other people and you might feel a little bit like a small fish in a big pond.”
  • “With all the confidence and toughness I've honed from my time at [Bishop Strachan School], I feel ready to thrive no matter what situation I find myself in.”
  • “I think I'm most definitely very prepared [by Bishop Strachan School] for university]. The toughness of academics at university is kind of in the back burner of my mind, because I've just been so well prepared, especially with the study skills that boarding teaches you. ... It really builds that routine and self-discipline, even in your own academics. ... Although I haven't been on campus to actually live with others yet, I think I'll definitely be prepared with all the little life skills that boarding has taught me, like doing your own laundry.”
  • “People usually start taking AP [classes] in Grade 11 at [Bishop Strachan School], so that's when you can choose what subjects you want to expand in. I really like the AP program because it gives students the choice to specialize in something that you are interested in or are good at. I really like science, and [Bishop Strachan School] is so great because it offers all three AP Sciences. I took physics and chemistry, and all of that is basically teaching you first year University knowledge. So as long as you score really high on the exam or even just take the class and do fairly well understanding the content, first-year University will be very easy for you.”
  • “I think the biggest thing for me is how well-rounded the [Bishop Strachan School] student body is. There is really no cookie-cutter type of student that is most favoured. We have an incredible trophy winning athletics program, but we also make a really big deal of the yearly collaborative plays and musicals, and we have weeklong exhibitions to showcase the stunning work of our visual art students. We also sweep our STEM lovers to science and robotics competitions around North America. I think that at [Bishop Strachan School] , no matter what you're interested in, there's always someone who wants to help you foster it. [Students] really do get a lot of support to thrive in whatever direction you choose.”
  • “ I think the first word I would use to describe [Bishop Strachan School] is definitely confident, and this doesn't mean they're the most extroverted or the loudest person in the room, but they are very sure of themselves and unafraid to take charge and lead. I want to say the second word is passionate. … Willing to take a stand on things they believe is right, especially with the world and social justice issues in the past year. Lastly, [Bishop Strachan School] is open minded, so willing to adapt to change.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] is constantly evolving, especially with the past year's changes to the landscape of social issues in the world. I think [Bishop Strachan School] always embraces these changes head on and listens to students.”
  • “I would not be the person I am today without [Bishop Strachan School]. I'm forever grateful and it will come with me for the rest of my life.”

Stephanie — alum

Stephanie graduated from Bishop Strachan School in 2021, and is now in her first year at Western University. She was the head prefect in her final year, and she also was awarded the prestigious Loran Scholarship for her university education. She was actively involved in the school community, and participated in many extracurricular activities, such as being the co-head of the Black Student Union. She always felt included at Bishop Strachan School, and that was supported unconditionally by the many teachers and students she became close with during her time there.

  • “Something that's really valuable to me that I will appreciate from [Bishop Strachan School] is the friendships that I made there. When I first got to [Bishop Strachan School] I thought it would be difficult, due to financial barriers and cultural barriers. ... I was in my head and working myself up [about it]. When I got there, not only did I find a lot of students who are in similar situations like myself and from similar backgrounds, but I also got to connect with people who are just completely different from the areas that I grew up in. I got to bond and form really great relationships with those peers as well, and that is something that I truly value.”
  • “In Grade 11, I was co- head of the Black Student Union, which is something that I'm extremely proud of, and something I hold close to my heart. … It started this whole movement at [Bishop Strachan School] in terms of speaking up, and talking about injustices that are happening within, and more importantly outside the school walls. That really allowed for students to find their voices, and work alongside faculty, which is something that is really important.”
  • “What I think differentiates [Bishop Strachan School from other schools] is the support for the students that is available, whether it be for mental health reasons or academic support. It's all there, and it's always available. I know as a boarder, I got special priorities … But you can reach out to your teachers past school hours, they might not respond right away, but they will always be there, and have a response for you as soon as they possibly can.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] truly does celebrate diversity. I noticed, because as a leader, that's one of the things that I focused on and really advocated for, and I was never pushed away from it. When I was doing speeches in Chapel and assembly, talking about the importance of celebrating our cultures and bringing that to light, it was something that everyone celebrated with me. That is something I truly appreciate. [Bishop Strachan School] differentiates because they support their students all the time and always, and also because they celebrate who you are no matter who you are.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School students are] paired up with whoever's in their grade, alongside a tag adviser, which would be a teacher in the school. They will be your support buddies all throughout high school. You meet once a week, and you bring in snacks and you have great conversations. Sometimes there are themes where they are student-led or teacher-led and they can focus on important topics. Sometimes it's really just a safe community for you to have those important conversations, to ask questions and to just bond with people in your grade and to grow together as well.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] is loving … Especially in the boarding community, because we're living there 24/7. The whole entire [Bishop Strachan School] community is loving, but in boarding specifically, it's a home away from home, and it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels like your first home sometimes, and you don't want to leave it. I know for graduates, or boarding graduates, it's extremely difficult to leave at times because they spent most of their teen years there, and it's difficult to say goodbye to the place where you've had just so many incredible memories.”
  • “Something about boarding, and [Bishop Strachan School] in general, is that the community stood strong and united throughout the hardship that has been the pandemic. I think that goes a long way to show how loving our community is. [Bishop Strachan School] makes students unafraid to step into the unknown and explore it, whether it be trying out for a new sport, joining a new co-curricular, or even standing up and demanding change from officials. [Bishop Strachan School] inspires students to be courageous.”
  • “With my university applications, if it weren't for the help of my guidance counsellors [at Bishop Strachan School], I wouldn't have so many incredible people bragging about me, and my scholarship, because they were there to push me and remind me of my potential, even when I wasn't feeling it. That really got me to where I am now, and who knows where that will take me in the future.”
  • “I love [Bishop Strachan School] and I rave about it, and I'm just a proud old girl now. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it's really true. Even being a prefect, and being stressed out with the workload, or what my leadership responsibilities are. I always had the support there available at school.”
  • “I got to go to New York City with my best friends for the very first time, thanks to [Bishop Strachan School] , and it was a drama trip. We got to watch a bunch of musicals and plays and visit Juilliard, and just live in Manhattan for three days. It was the best time of my life.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] hosted a national wide summit to talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for the very first time this year, and it was run beautifully. The advice that I would give to a student just coming into the school would be, ‘be yourself and you'll fit just right in. You will find your people, you will find your group and your club, and if not, you can make your own at [Bishop Strachan School].’ I really wish someone would have told me that because there is no specific mode for a [Bishop Strachan School] student whatsoever.”
  • “Forest Hill is a pretty affluent neighbourhood in the city, and you would think that the people there are in a nice little bubble, which is not kind of the ideology you want to go into school with, because everyone's an individual. When I broke that mentality myself, I got to create some really great personal connections and friendships with people there. By just being myself and not having to hide where I come from, who I am, and my family's background, I was able to find people [at Bishop Strachan School] who are just like me and had evolved already and have joined student unions and things like that.”
  • “I will forever be a [Bishop Strachan School] student, and I recommend it to anyone who is considering it. I would not give up the opportunity that I had for the world. It was incredible. I got to grow as a leader and as a person and really discover who I truly was because I was placed in a loving and nurturing environment and encouraged to thrive and to take advantage of all of the opportunities that were available right beside other people with similar mindsets and with great staff alongside me as well.”

Vanessa — current parent

Vanessa has one daughter that currently attends Bishop Strachan School as a Grade 9 student. She chose the school because of the all-girls setting, which she believes has helped her daughter come out of her shell and gain the confidence she needs for her future success. Vanessa appreciates the diversity of the school and is happy that her daughter is learning in an international environment that opens her mind to all different types of people.

  • “[Bishop Strachan School] has such a rich history. It's a very well-known school. It has an excellent reputation as a leading girls school in Toronto. From our tour and from all the interactions that we had in going through the process, we really felt that the school was a nurturing environment, an inclusive environment, and it just had a beautiful energy. We noticed that as soon as we walked through the doors, we were greeted. Students had a smile on their face. There was action going on.”
  • “The [Bishop Strachan School] campus has so much to offer. It's physically a beautiful building.”
  • “My daughter had actually never had the opportunity to really get involved in her community. [Bishop Strachan School] offered such diverse opportunities for girls to get involved in community service, and really look outside of the classroom, which was a really nice feeling for us, to know that she would have those opportunities readily available to get involved in, as well as leadership opportunities. Has it met our expectations? Absolutely. [My daughter] started in Grade 7, didn't know anybody, and very quickly had friends and was getting involved and was sort of thrust into school life.”
  • “[My daughter] never really missed a beat. She was all of a sudden getting involved in teams and sports. She was on the field hockey team, which she had never played before. We didn't expect for her to transition so seamlessly into [Bishop Strachan School], and I think it speaks volumes. They know the stages that the girl is going through, whether it be in the Lower School, the Middle School, or the Senior School. Girls, as they transition, need different things. They move from needing more emotional support and mental health talks, or how to manage social media. We felt that the school really recognized those points and supported [our daughter], specifically in the Middle School years, which are some challenging years for girls.”
  • “What stands out about [Bishop Strachan School] is [my daughter] feeling that anything is possible. I think that that's something that's nurtured from every touch point, whether it's teachers, faculty, or coaches.”
  • “I think [Bishop Strachan School]  does such a beautiful job of giving their students the sense that they can achieve anything, that they can set goals for themselves and find a path to achieve them. For [my daughter], I see her eyes sparkle, I see  her eyes light up, and see how excited she is to go into school every day, and do something nice; that's kind of unstoppable.”
  • “When I send [my daughter] to [Bishop Strachan School] every morning, I know she's going into a very supportive school where the teachers really care about her, friends care about her, and everyone wants her to succeed. On the flip side. As a parent, you also want your child to be nurtured by learning from their mistakes. I think [Bishop Strachan School] does an excellent job of recognizing that girls are going to fail and girls need to fail, and they also need to pick themselves up and learn from their mistakes.”
  • “I feel that there's a lot of continuity between our home and the [Bishop Strachan School]. I know that our values are the same as the school values, and it's a very seamless flow between the house and the school. [My daughter] is learning those life skills. She's learning executive functioning and she's learning that making mistakes is all part and parcel of success.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School] makes [students] want to embrace all that the school has to offer. I think that it allows girls to explore areas that they may not have otherwise thought that they might want to, from teams to the theater. It has a lot of different things to offer and really gets the girls excited about participating in those things. ... I think that [Bishop Strachan School] is open minded in several different ways. It's open to differences, diversity. It's open to change. ... They're open to ideas and they're open to questions.”
  • “If the students feel that they don't agree with something, [Bishop Strachan School] is very open, the teachers are very open. The student body is very open to challenges and discussions, and I think that there's growth and evolution that comes out of that.”
  • “I think [my daughter] would say that [Bishop Strachan School] is a really warm, nurturing environment and she has made amazing friendships. With that said, she's also made a lot of friendships with a lot of different groups. I think that that was maybe a little unexpected for her.”
  • “The class is so big and [Bishop Strachan School] has so many opportunities to learn from different people, to be in classes with different girls, and really spread their wings. I know socially, she's very happy, feeling very settled, and she's also excited. She wants to join the swim team this year, which is something she's never done before. I think it's opened a world of opportunities for her, and it's exciting for me as a parent to see her get excited about these things.”
  • “We specifically chose [Bishop Strachan School] because they're very much about the whole girl. It's not just academics. ... Though [Bishop Strachan School] is academically rigorous, and I know that my daughter is getting an excellent education.”
  • “[Bishop Strachan School is producing students who] have strong values, have strong rules, have a strong sense of community, and have participated in the community. I hear about experiences [from students] travelling to different cities, and having all these different experiences, and that's an important part of nurturing a girl, nurturing her mind, nurturing her view of the world. I think that [Bishop Strachan School] just does an excellent job of encouraging girls to be the best possible version of themselves and giving them the opportunity, and the outlet, and the support to become that person. [The school] lets them fail, and they learn from their mistakes and they become stronger for it.”
  • “The values of [Bishop Strachan School] are to support and create and nurture women who will take on the future.”
  • “The values are very shared, although you can also see the diversity. It's great for me to know that my daughter is going to be exposed to different ethnicities, different backgrounds. We are a part of the [Forest Hill community], but that is not solely represented at the school. You really see the world represented at the school. [Bishop Strachan School] has got international students, students coming from all over, which is really nice.”
  • “For us, there was an immediate connection with [Bishop Strachan School], and for us, it was really about their whole girl outlook. We want [our daughter] to get a great education, but there's so many other things that we don't want her to miss out on, and we want her to be able to participate in.”
 

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Key insights on The Bishop Strachan School

Each school is different. The Bishop Strachan School's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

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Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of The Bishop Strachan School is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • Throughout its long history, BSS has consistently provided leadership in education and beyond. 
  • BSS offers the highest amount of financial assistance of all the girls’ schools in Canada. There is over $2 million available in financial assistance for the 2022/23 school year. 
  • The school offers a high level of student support encompassing academic, social, emotional, and post-secondary counselling, as well as study skills development.
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Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about The Bishop Strachan School's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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More video reviews

Alum, Monika Steger (2022)

Watch our alum interview with Monika Steger to learn about the unique experience of attending The Bishop Strachan School.

Roundtable Q&A (2022)

Watch our The Bishop Strachan School Q&A discussion to gain fresh insight into the school's culture, values, and strengths.

Parent, SONA SHAH (2022)

Watch our parent interview with SONA SHAH to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend The Bishop Strachan School.
See all video reviews (4 total)

More written reviews

(4.8)

Alum, Allison Smith (2018)

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at The Bishop Strachan School. BSS has a strong academic program which prepared me for university and graduate school. Learning in small classes with teachers th...
 

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: The Bishop Strachan School

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