REVIEW OF The Study Academy BY parent, Melissa Arbesman
- Date of Review
October 17, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 3 - Gr. 5 (Male, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Gr. 3 - Gr. 5 (Female, Current Day Student)
- Child 3
Gr. 4 - Gr. 6 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
This school deserves a special place in heaven for being a welcoming space for my child with different abilities. The school aims to ensure every student can integrate into their inclusive community. This is a school where your child's achievements are celebrated beyond their classroom by other teachers and the administration. For areas where your child struggles they are supported and not made to feel less than. Getting extra support is part of the tuition and not something other children would judge another student on, actually other children are jealous of the extra attention! Children are individuals here and sometimes a blanket policy or method of teaching may not work; The Study takes this into consideration and makes dynamic decisions that are in the best interests of your child (while not negatively impacting the whole student population). They think big picture yet do not fail to create the best environment for your sapling. The Study is a safe learning environment for my children, the school aims to support children with different learning needs but is not a school for children with severe behavioral issues. My children feel supported, safe and loved in this environment. They feel successful in learning and looked forward to september when they could come back. I have children who do not fit into a mainstream classroom and in this school my children are learning and HAPPY!
(5) School Leadership
I feel that Bryan the director of the school created this place with my son in mind as it is a perfect fit. The teachers and administrators do not see the world in monochrome, even though many of the students do. They see each child for their potential and aim to support them. Imagine if your child had a rough day, and the teachers took the time to investigate the cause for it, identified factors beyond your child's ability to manage and put a plan to migitate things in the future before your child even made it to the car? They regularly do this at this school. A child's opinion has value here, the administration is available to parents and students.
I am pleased with the quality of instruction, the classes are taught in pods of five so the children are grouped by ability without feeling labeled. If a child is struggling at a subject they are supported to work from where they are and not expected to magically be able to handle "grade level" work beyond their current abilities. However, if your child excels at a subject they are provided materials and projects to help them stay engaged and learning beyond their current grade level. The grade placements are not something the students hold firm in defining their identity as many of the classes are cohorts with multiple grades. The teachers are available to chat after/before school and by email. Each student has an advisor, the teacher who is in their corner to listen and help them problem solve, so they never feel they have to wait until home time to be heard when dealing with a difficult situation. The teachers who are at The Study want to be at the school and put so much into their workday. I have so much gratitude for each of them. My children are supported and feel successful. When your child is struggling a parent knows this (usually), the teachers tell you what your child is accomplishing and highlight their successes. Come year end my children are sad because they will miss their teachers and always hope to get them again the next year. And if this is not the case, they grow the same feelings for their new teacher but still talk about their favs from the previous years.
Post-COVID parents have more limited access to the school (which is standard in most schools) and the main curriculum information is provided via Google Classroom. This is a bit of an issue as you cannot have a parent account to see your children's work but this is a technology issue not one with the school. The report cards describe my children perfectly, their teachers know them. The focus is to fill in the gaps a child may have in their foundations and then support their growth from there. Independent (though supported) projects allow children to take their interests and strengths further than the standard curriculum. I would not say that this would be the school to send your child if you expect straight A's in all courses and perfection is not good enough; so I would not say this is the most rigorous academic school in Toronto if this is what you are looking for. This academic program is standardized per the requirements of the Ontario curriculum but has the flexibility to adapt to what a student needs to learn versus what someone else says would be good to learn.
The school has a study hall four days after school that is included in tuition, lunchtime and after-school clubs. Some clubs carry additional fees if an outside instructor comes in (Pets or Karate) but the clubs are based on the student's interests and if there is a suggestion for a new club the school will support starting new ones. The sports program is not competitive and there are a couple of intra-school teams but this is not a strong focus. Social skills support in sports and skills development is key versus being competitive.
The school is small, with less than 100 children in total and classes are 12-18 kids approximately. With that class size, subjects are taught in pods of 5. Children are able to select an elective each term of their choosing. I have twins and they prefer to be in separate classes so the school accommodated them but moved one child to an older grade to do her grade's work because this was the best solution for both of my children. A policy that you need to be in your grade's class does not make sense in all cases and when flexibility is possible and makes sense the school will take this into consideration. They want your children to be in the best learning environment possible The children love their school and the school has a positive atmosphere.
(5) School Life
The worst thing about school life is that my children have become unaccustomed to bullying; when they see it outside school they do not have a thick skin for it. The children's mental well-being is a priority. Inter-student issues are resolved and other children will call out poor behavior and step in. When a child has an issue they can go to the staff and feel like their concerns or worries are heard and valued. At the talent show the grade 7 children would cheer on the grade 4s by name and truly support one another. When a student forgot the words to her song the students waited for her to catch her place and applauded when she was back on course. I'm not crying you are!
Parents are kind and understanding. This is not a private school about flashing money but rather about what is best for their child. Many of the parents are understanding of other children's challenges and work with their own child to build empathy. Most parents already know that their child is a different learner prior to coming to the Study, so most have more empathy themselves that a child may have a bad day or challenges as they emerge. Parents are welcome to get involved in school life and more opportunities for involvement are becoming more organized. There is a parent's association but it just started last year so many of those programs and community building events are not as well established as compared to other schools. This is a work in progress.
(3.5) School Location
The school is close to Yonge and Eglinton and the cross-town construction is a headache. The neighbourhood is nice with some shops to take the kids to after school if you want to explore. The school is in a church but there are rarely non-school related people in the building so this does not impact the children. Parking can be a bit of an issue, but there is a paid lot attached to the church when street parking is not available. The facilities were recently renovated and a new art and science room was added to the upper school building for use by all students. A new playground will be built soon too. Classes often explore the neighbourhood, go to the park, impromptu trips to Farm Boy for math, class trips to Brick Works for multiple days a year. Older children are allowed to go off school grounds alone. But being a private school this is not a school with a lot of community involvement.