My daughter has had a tremendous experience at JA for 9 years. She is engaged in the classrooms, enjoys participating in the clubs, the concerts, talent shows, assemblies, special/free dress days, pizza lunches, recesses, skating, girls club, choir clubs, physical education, outdoor education, LEAP projects, and especially the Onandaga camping trips. Even during the lockdown, the school kept the online learning engaging. They created storytime and other offerings to help fill the child's day. The teachers continued to strive to make the child's day positive and challenging and the best it can be. The school is bright, clean and cheery and the staff arevery pleasant, kind and fun. She comes home happy every day! As she is moving to high school next year, the teachers and guidance councillor have been tremendous at helping to chose the best school for her.
I have seen the school evolve through being at JA for 9 years. I would have to say it is the best it has ever been! These later years with the current principal and management team and amazing teachers, I feel that issues are prevented and dealt with well when they do arise. The teachers are excellent role models to our students and teach them ways to calm themselves down if upset. They teach the children self-control, and how to take responsibility for their own actions. The teachers/staff are outside every morning and evening to welcome your child at the car for another day. It is very comforting to the students to know they are there for them.
The teachers at JA are outstanding. They are engaging, kind, compassionate, caring and energetic. They are gifted in creating ways to tailor the work to your child and keep them engaged throughout the topics. Even during lockdown the teachers immediately stepped up to create meaningful programs and online learning to fill their day. There was online phys ed, music, and drama and each child got a schedule with their zoom links- was very well organized and communicated. My child is on an IEP and the teachers work hard to ensure they are all on the same page to provide the best experience possible for each child. The school is small enough also that every teacher knows every child- the child is comfortable to approach any one of them if they need help. The teachers at this school are truly the best!
For us, the location is great. It is easy access on Bayview without any side streets to navigate through. In all weather conditions, it is fine. The benefit for the kids is the proximity to the outdoor space across the street as well as the school property. The younger children have the playground in the front which has always been a safe and fun enclosure. They have also walked to the skating rink at Bayview/york mills for skating lessons.
The school hosts grade parents evenings, parent gatherings at each holiday concert, as well as school BBQs a few times a year so it is very nice for the parents to socialize and get to know each other. They put in a lot of effort to make it a nice experience for all with food and beverages. The teachers and staff attend so we can all mingle, get to know each other and talk. my daughter has had many playdates and birthday parties with other children from the school and the parents are easy to arrange these with. Also, I have volunteered on many occasions at the school such as uniform sales, library assistance, and scholastic book sales days. The school is always warm and welcoming to parents upon drop off/ pick up as well.
My daughter loves going to school every day at JA. There was a time in the younger years when she didn't and the management team sorted it out. They rearranged her classroom and teachers and all worked together to provide the children their optimal daily success. She had a good experience being online during COVID and was delighted to be back in person! She has enjoyed many field trips, outings, guest speakers, and special guests such as sunshine therapy dogs. Now that she is in the upper school, she has enjoyed the overnight trips and is really excited to be able to attend it again this year after COVID restrictions are lifted! Hopefully, the girls' clubs will be offered again now too with the lifted restrictions as this was great for all the girls to be together.
The student body at JA is nice. It seems to be that all the students are supportive and get along with each other. In the earlier days, my daughter was experiencing some bullying, but the school stepped in and made changes. These latter years have been good for her and the students have been very supportive and inclusive. The school population is a bit more boy-heavy so they created a "girls club" so the girls have time to get to know each other and become friends across all grades. The cohorts with COVID have presented some challenges as she is not allowed to play with the other grades but hopefully, that will be over soon. The teachers try hard at recess to ensure that all children are playing happily.
The school offers extracurriculars after school the children can pay to attend- these are often interesting and fun for the students. They also offer a variety of clubs over lunch/recess that the children can join such as choir, dance crew, art club and other sports. They are often divided up by lower and upper grades as well. There is usually something for everyone to enjoy.
JA takes academics and the success of your child seriously. My daughter requires an IEP and they worked very hard to make it detailed, accurate and realistic in order to achieve success. Again the teachers are amazing here and work hard to tailor the work to your child's best learning style and needs. My daughter is in the STEPS program which allows a smaller environment for the core academic subjects. This offering is wonderful for the children who need it. She is able to progress her level and pace. The teachers are amazing at working 1:1 and then monitoring while the students work independently. This program has been really beneficial to her and allowed her to build her confidence, knowledge and independence. She has learned to ask for help when necessary and be proud of her work.