REVIEW OF The Hill Academy BY parent, Caren Morrison (Elson)
- Date of Review
June 22, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 8 - Gr. 9 (Female, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
My daughter just completed grade 8 and said it was "The best year of her life". Being part of a school where the student-athletes and staff support each other, encourage each other, and challenge each other to be the best they can be at The Hill Academy was beyond our wildest expectations. Well done over well said is a phrase you hear often at The Hill, and that holds true both in the classroom and on the field/in the rink. Students are held accountable to do the best they can and create plans to meet both academic and athletic goals. Student-athletes at The Hill come together because they have a dream. They set goals, create development plans to achieve them, and then through the unwavering support of coaches, teachers, teammates, and other students push through challenges and adversity, to be the best they can be. They learn that it is the process that is as important as the end result.
(5) School Leadership
At The Hill, strong communication between staff, students, and parents is very important. The teachers and coaches communicate to the parents on a very regular basis, I would often receive a weekly email or phone call providing updates on my daughter's progress. At one point in the year, I felt one of her marks was not where it should be, and before I even called the teacher to ask how I could support my daughter, the teacher had already made arrangements for her to have extra help and support bringing her mark back up over 90. That is an example of the accountability the staff takes to help students be the best they can be. The passion and dedication Merrill Family has towards helping every young child achieve their dreams are what inspire staff, parents, and students at the Hill.
My daughter thrived in the classroom at The Hill, the class sizes were small and they were very interactive. There were no issues in the class, the students are there to learn and are focused. I think one of the differentiators for The Hill are the teachers - they are very relatable to the students. A lot of them are athletes as well and understand the importance of greatness not just in sport but in the class. From a young age at The Hill students learn being an athlete is great but not at the cost of your education, you need to be well-rounded and achieve success in both areas. The students were well-prepared for tests and worked on a number of projects throughout the year. They had opportunities to present and build public speaking confidence as well. The teachers always push the students, and provide a lot of feedback, with the smaller classes the teachers get to know each student and can provide a lot of specific feedback on growth opportunities.
Children and young adults attending The Hill are referred to as student-athletes. The student comes first. The school emphasizes academic greatness and you don't often hear a coach at The Hill recognize a player's achievements in sports without also referencing academic achievements. The discipline, and time management skills the students learn help them keep a focus on school work. The teachers are engaging and teach the subjects with passion. Math, Science, French and Outdoor Education were some of the courses my daughter was the most excited about. As a parent who works in Tech, I was impressed with the focus on STEM (Science, Tech, Eng, Math). Academic success is a key driver for these students, after this year's athletic banquet where a number of High School students were recognized for having all marks above 90, my daughter set that as a goal for herself. When the younger students see the older students achieve success it is inspirational for them and they realize they can also achieve that.
The staff at The Hill is always creating ways for students to take part in extracurricular activities. They also encourage students to take initiative and plan days and events to bring students together for some fun and competition. One of the great things about The Hill is that throughout the year they encourage community involvement, they invite the community to join the school at games, BBQ's and other events. This helps to foster an inclusive place of belonging, especially for the students that are staying on campus.
The entire school feels like one team - the teams and classes that make up the school are comprised of very bonded groups of students. There are a lot of natural leaders at the school, some from day one join as strong leaders and some take a bit of time but emerge as leaders throughout the year. This process of creating leaders at The Hill is encouraged by everyone, and it's recognized that there are many types of leaders. The students do not compete against each other they compete against themselves and they lean on each other for support when needed. I am a firm believer in the saying "Show me your friends and I will show you your future" ... every child would benefit from the bond created when like-minded, dedicated, athletic students come together in a school environment like The Hill.
(5) School Life
My daughter loves going to school every day at The Hill, she said they have such a great time. They train hard, they work hard in the classroom and the days can be long and exhausting but that is intentional and it drives the student-athletes to be disciplined and learn time management. They come together weekly as a school for an assembly where they focus on inspirational life lessons that can be applied in all aspects of life. The students are challenged on a regular basis and it builds the ability for the students to learn to handle adversity. If you feel your child has untapped potential, or if you feel your child is not in a school environment that has them engaged, curious, and wanting to go to school every day I would encourage you to provide your child with the opportunity to combine sports and academics at The Hill. Sports are a way to teach our children and prepare them for life.
The Hill Academy encourages community involvement and support. Parents are involved in the school and are always welcome to call and speak to the coaches and teachers, however, parents of Hill students also understand that our job is to offer support. This means in some cases parents have to take a step back and trust the process of having others guide and lead our children. We as parents have the most impact on our children's lives, but when you send your child to The Hill you are trusting them to be surrounded by the entire staff and want them to have the time and space to learn from them as well. The older students are also engaged with the younger students and are great role models. I think The Hill does a really good job balancing parent involvement.
(5) School Location
The school is located in a beautiful part of Caledon, Ontario. There are multiple buildings on campus, a lake a cabin. There is a new state-of-the-art field, basketball courts, and the rink is a short drive away. The beautiful trails are used for running and exploring all year long. The grounds are breathtaking and provide an incredible environment for the students.
The admission process was straightforward, and there was a lot of support. The admissions team spoke to me and they also spent a lot of time talking to my daughter which was very important to have her involved in the process. For the students entering the older grades, it is always good they have the opportunity to speak to other students attending and ask questions about their experience as well. It is a great idea to spend some time at the school and feel the energy that comes from The Hill. One of the things the admissions officer talked to my daughter about during the very first conversation was what legacy she wanted to leave behind. That really impressed me - she had not even made her decision to attend The Hill yet and they were asking her what she wanted her Legacy here to be. She committed to The Hill after that conversation.