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Review of: The Linden School


An emphasis on community

Caitlin O'Leary - Parent    (Jan 23, 2018)
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Student Experience

My daughter is very bright, engaged and articulate, but she's also very reserved and shy. She was in one of the better public schools until Grade 3, by which time it was very apparent that she'd given up participating and was falling further and further behind academically and feeling quite lost socially. The Linden School puts an emphasis on community, and the day before the school year starts, new students are welcomed at an informal breakfast in the gym and they're toured around the building with their peers. My daughter made a friend who she kept all year. The teachers are allowed the time to interact with the girls individually due to the small class sizes, and they were able to attune their teaching to my daughter's needs. Everything they did seemed to be based in the real world making it more accessible and memorable for the girls. Projects were spun through the subjects, such as doing a wildlife survey which was charted for math, became a social science topic about wildlife in the city, which was in turn an English project to write up their reports, and then finally an art project as they made a brochure. She loved her teacher and has fun every day. They spend a day raking leaves for a shelter in the neighbourhood, they have a "week without walls" where they spend each day in a different environment. Each child belongs in a "family" within the schools, giving them a multi-grade team. She is in her second year at Linden, and continues to adore it there. Her confidence and abilities have improved by leaps and bounds!


School Leadership

The Linden principal, Janice Gladstone and the faculty seem to be incredibly tuned in to the needs of the students and to ensuring the teachers step up their knowledge as trends and issues arise, such as spending time furthering their knowledge of children's mental health or I believe they spent a number of days enhancing their knowledge of aboriginal issues. Janice is tireless and makes herself available in every way - she's at the door to greet families as they come in, she happily chats with the girls throughout the day, and she dons a chef's hat for the welcome brunch! The principal and my daughter's teacher are easy to contact and have always responded immediately to any messages I've sent or left. When I run in to them at the school, they always take the time to check in and have a chat. There is a great emphasis on community at Linden, so the girls have all-school gatherings twice a week, belong to multi-grade "family" groupings, and participate in the multifarious clubs run at lunchtime. A coffee morning with the teacher an principal is arranged for each class, as well as the parents from each grade getting together informally a few times through the year.


Teaching

The teacher seems so much more engaged and energetic than I've been used to in the public school system. Much of the teaching seems to happen outside the school - in the park, on field trips, etc. Everything seems real-world based and I think feels useful for the girls. They have a CERES (coding, engingeering, robotics, etc) lab in which they do much of their science, which makes everythign hands on and really opens up the girls' creativity.


Academics

My daughter is still in the junior grades, but I feel that there's a great academic improvement since she joined Linden. She reads very well now, and didn't at all at the end of grade 3 when she left public school, and her math and science knowledge is leagues ahead of her old school friends' as she has experience of coding, robotics and physical engineering, as well as the rest of the ontario curriculum. They have enhancements, such as a beehive on their roof, that really kicks the kids' interest level up a notch.


Extracurriculars

Students and educators arrange lunch time and after school clubs of every type, and there are ample sports opportunities, both intermural and with other schools.


Students

There are around 100 girls in the school from JK to grade 12. It's a family feel, with lots of inter-grade interaction. The junior school engage in field trips and community activities, as does the senior school. They have all-school gatherings twice a week if not more, so the girls get very familiar across all the age levels. Students and teachers there are welcoming and gregarious. Even the shy girls don't hesitate to greet visitors and are proud to show you around.


School Life

My daughter loves her teachers and her classmates. She feels she's found her people. They are active, intelligent and creative - just like her!


Community

Presumably due to the STEM and social justice focus of the school, I have found most Linden families to be engaged, intelligent and active in their individual communities. Linden girls live all over the city, so it takes an effort to hang out outside of school hours, and in my experience, everyone is happy to take the time to continue the friendships beyond the school walls. From taking part in the Women's March or attending the Science Rendezvous or just going for sushi, these are real bonds.


School Location

The school is 1 short block directly south of St. Clair Subway station, and half-a-block east of Yonge. It's a very handy location. There is a large park on the street which they use for sports, science and a lot of their activities. It's a really nice area.


Admissions

The admissions process for me was meeting with their guidance counsellor myself first and then bringing my daughter in with me to meet one of the faculty and the principal. I took to everyone I met, and so did my daughter. Touring the classrooms, the students make such a point to say hello and introduce themselves. They all seemed so bouncy and happy, and were so confident! Jean, who deals with admissions, is a lovely woman who kept us informed as to the process and very responsive to my questions.


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