Roundtable Q&A Discussion About The Giles School (2021)
The Giles School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Geny Lee, LeAnne Bernie, Kevin Chiang had to say about the school.
- 5:53 - What did you appreciate the most about the school, your time with us, and how perspective on the change now that you have some distance from the school?
- 7:58 - What differentiates our school to other schools?
- 9:17 - If the school were to be represented as a person, what would its personality be like?
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Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Geny Lee — alum
Geny attended The Giles School for her elementary education, and is now in Grade 10. She enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere, and has made close bonds at the school with friends and teachers.
- “I think the thing that I appreciated the most was the atmosphere, the parents, the teachers, the kids, everyone was just so accepting and welcoming and warm, which I think is crucial. Crucial especially for elementary school, kindergarten, and the lower grades, because going to school, when you first go to an actual elementary school, it's so different from what you're used to.”
- “The atmosphere [at The Giles School] made it feel that you're there to learn, not to be perfect. That was just so helpful. It really helped me become the person I am today, because I'm not afraid to make mistakes. I'm not afraid to ask questions because I know that in the long run they will be so beneficial to me and my learning. Not only that, my emotional and social growth as well. So I think I have a lot to thank The Giles [School] atmosphere for.”
- “When I first came to high school, the thing that surprised me the most was how segregated it was in terms of the parents' involvement in the school, and the child's involvement in the school. What I was used to is the teachers, the educators, everyone [at my school] being as close or similarly close to the parents, as they were with the students. At [The Giles School], communication is everything, between everyone in your family.”
- “Something that I found was very useful in my time at [The Giles School] was that I could get help as easily as I needed, because everyone was so close. Within the parent community at The Giles School, all the parents were so close. So it was perfect for me because when I wanted to go see my friends, my parents already knew the parents of the person that I wanted to hang out with.”
- “There was just a real feeling of trust [at The Giles School], I think, because everyone was so close with each other. And it just made my experience so much more enriched, to know that everyone was kind of in this together.”
- “I think overall [The Giles School is] nurturing, accepting, and knowledgeable … something I find that the school, they're not only knowledgeable in the content of the education, but also in the deliverance of said learning … and the way in which they teach the students to educate each other, and to educate themselves.”
- “The thing that I appreciate about [The Giles School] is no matter who you are, how you act, you will be accepted there and you will find friends. You'll find your community. Everything will be okay in the long run, as long as you yourself are happy. A lot of kids in elementary and middle school feel the pressure to be something else to fit in with the crowd that is popular at that time.”
- “At Giles, I think it's just important to remember that everyone is there to learn and grow together and really just to be happy to have fun while you're still a kid. Education is a big part of it. Social bonds are a big part of it. I think that as long as you yourself are confident and proud of your individuality, I think that your time [at The Giles School] will be beautiful.”
- “I think the thing that was most surprising for me at Giles was that the students, the friendships were not only made within their own grade, but at a huge range across grades. So I remember when I was in Grade 4, I would be talking to people in Grade 6 and looking up to people older than me and younger than me. And I think that really helps with leadership because it's a real-world example of when leadership and responsibility comes into play.”
- “I think that it really helps with overall learning, being close to the people in your class, because they inspire you to be a better person. I think it is just really inspirational, how impactful it can be to have kids that close, especially from a young age. It teaches you the value of balancing the educational aspect and the social aspect.”
LeAnne Bernie — current parent
LeAnne has three boys in Grades 2, 4, and 6. She chose The Giles School because she wanted her children to be bilingual. They enjoy the small class sizes and the leadership opportunities offered there.
- “I would say [The Giles School] was what I expected and more. I chose it initially because I was looking to challenge my children at school, and I loved the idea of introducing them to multiple languages, and when I was searching for a school. It was very important to me that they learn French. I was very impressed with the academic academic program at The Giles School. I did the tour and saw that the children were working. And I was so impressed and very surprised to see them working at such a high level.”
- “I also liked that the class sizes were small, and I found that once my kids started here, they were able to get the attention that they needed to excel. The one thing I didn't expect is that the teachers and administrators are so loving and nurturing, they're very approachable and they care so much about students.”
- “I have three boys as well and the thing I noticed was that they were becoming more and more confident in their abilities. ... I find that they're very calm speaking publicly because they get to do it so regularly at school. I also really like my older son, now that he's in Grade 4, he's learning how to be a leader. I really appreciate the efforts the school is making to teach him how to do that.”
- “I find that as the boys get older, they're becoming more and more responsible. They themselves are telling me, ‘I need to finish this for homework. I need to do this for my test.’ And I've noticed that they aren't shy to ask questions when they don't understand something. So they're just becoming confident.”
- “I would start with ‘loving’ [to describe The Giles School], because I think the environment is very nurturing and loving, the school respectful. I've always been amazed by the way the kids respect one another, and respect the parents and the teachers. And I would also say the kids work hard while they're there, and they achieve great things as a result.”
- “My kids love [The Giles School] school, the class sizes are small. … My oldest son, when he started ... I was worried about him making friends and fitting in. But that happened very quickly, he got into a group and it was almost as if he'd known them for years. So the class sizes are small and the kids develop a really close friendship with one another. I found that they love that they're able to explore their interests.”
- “There's a lot of after-school programs and clubs [at The Giles School] that my older son in particular has enjoyed, such as chess. All three of my kids kept on playing chess at lunch time. Right now, my oldest son is doing a robotics class once a week and he really enjoyed the Stamp Club last year. … So there's a lot of different clubs and activities [at The Giles School] that allow the kids to explore their interests.”
- “I was surprised as well about how quickly my boys made close friends with kids at the [The Giles] School. … I wouldn't be surprised to find my boys in the schoolyard playing with kids of all ages. It wasn't just kids from their own class.”
- “I don't think I could emphasize enough just how wonderful all the teachers are at The Giles School. They're fantastic and they care so much about the kids. You don't hear about an issue for the first time during a parent-teacher interview. You'll know right away if there's an issue or if there's something that they were concerned about. Or maybe even about something they did really great. You'll hear about it and you'll get that feedback, because they genuinely care about the kids and want to help them succeed.”
Kevin Chiang — current parent
Kevin has two sons who currently attended The Giles School. He appreciates the one-on-one attention that is given to each student because of the small class sizes, and he considers the school to be like family.
- “[The Giles School] has a more intimate learning environment. I think it gives the children a lot more one-on-one time. Exposure to multiple languages I think has been so helpful. It's been basically everything we expected and more, and a real reflection of what we had heard from parents that we talked to doing our due diligence.”
- “I would say outside of academics, and it does feel as though that's a significant focus of the school, the other thing I've noticed, especially with my older son ... is a certain level of confidence, especially in terms of public speaking and dealing in the social network. I think part of that is because we have two assemblies with the presenter in front of a large group of people.”
- “They're doing weekly recitals in front of the class. So I think that comfort around speaking publicly, around interacting amongst large groups of people I think has definitely been the differentiator [at The Giles School]. I think of my own experience when I went through a public school system 25 years ago, 30 years ago, I don't think that was part of the curriculum.”
- “I think there's a family [at The Giles School]. I think something that sticks out to me as I think of my kids' experience at the school, there's a family atmosphere. And leadership, I think that's something that is nurtured within the walls of the school. … I think there is a concerted effort and push to accelerate the learning curve for the children there. And that's been noticeable for me as well.”
- “I think [my oldest son] enjoys the classwork, I think he enjoys a lot of the subjects and the after-school and extracurricular activities. He enjoys being part of the chess club during lunchtime. I think [my son] has had an opportunity to do things that maybe he wouldn’t have otherwise been doing if it weren't for the opportunities presented at [The Giles School]. I have a child in junior kindergarten, my four year old. He's liking [The Giles School] more every day. I can tell you that for sure. And he's singing a lot of French songs.”
- “I would love it if The Giles School just went up to Grade 12. … I think given the experiences that I've had, if [students] could continue on with that environment through their high school years, I think that would be an ideal scenario.”
- “One of the things that surprised me, was how close the family is within The Giles School, and how close the parents are with one another. How close parents are with the teachers. … You're not just getting an update once a semester from your teacher to get a sense of how your child is doing. You can almost get an update daily, weekly.”
- “You have a better pulse on what's happening in your child's learning and how they're doing in school [at The Giles School]. That surprised me just given my own experience, as a much more formulaic relationship. My parents saw my teacher once a year, and that's when they got an update. And that was probably the only 30 minutes they ever talked to my teacher. So that sense of family is something that was a positive surprise and maybe unique when it comes to [The Giles School].”
- “When I talk to parents whose children are now alumni, they said as they moved on to high school, how much of a great foundation The Giles School did provide them as students, and not just academically, I think socially [too].”