Reviews of City Academy

Toronto, ON  |  Grades 9 - 12  |  Shortlist

 

Review by: Ellena Theodorakakis - Alumnus (Jan 06, 2021)

"City Academy prepared me well for university by..."


Overall Experience

I had the most amazing year at City Academy. I attended for grade 12 and I met some of my best friends there. All of the teachers wanted to see their students succeed and constantly checked in with us to make sure we were attaining our goals. City Academy prepared me well for university by having us read scholarly articles for research papers, teaching the fundamentals that are learned in 100-level university courses, and by teaching us great study habits and organizational skills. I would not change anything about the curriculum or the way City Academy goes about teaching their students. Prospective students will expect a rich, unique, and positive learning environment that will help them reach their goals. I really enjoyed the small class sizes that created an intimate environment for learning, and fostered great personal relationships with the teachers.


School Leadership

The administration and leadership by City Academy and its respective teachers was on point. Every class schedule was very succinct and organized well. My fellow classmates and I wanted to do well to show our teachers we were learning the curriculum and provided a positive competitive atmosphere. Administrators were quick to respond to any potential issues and handled them fairly. Administrators and teachers were responsive to questions or concerns posed by students and parents. Every staff member was always positive and ready to help their students succeed, and this positive environment gave students like myself the confidence to apply myself academically in ways I thought were previously impossible. Administrators and teachers both saw a great deal of potential in me, which pushed me to succeed and show them that I am the student they perceive me as.


Teaching

I am extremely happy with the level of education I received at City Academy. I am currently in my fifth-year of university and I am still learning concepts I first learned at City Academy. I formed great relationships with all of my teachers who fostered positive learning environments that made it easy to succeed. Teachers were respectful to the students and vice versa, and effectively communicated with students regarding questions or concerns about the course. Teachers held an extensive amount of passion regarding course materials that made it easy for students to want to learn, and was reflected in our grades. I will never forget Ross, Helena, Erica and Lucas, who all had a great impact on my confidence and my ability to succeed and apply myself academically. Without their kind words and motivation, I would not be the student I am today.


Academics

City Academy provides a wide array of courses students can choose from that aren’t offered in public school curriculums. Having the opportunity to take these courses really put me ahead as a student. The course selection process was simple and easy to navigate - ranking your favourite courses on a scale of 1-4. I really enjoyed the fast pace of each semester and focusing on two courses per semester really helped me do well. The small classroom sizes offered a positive and intimate environment that made it easy to pay attention and learn course concepts. Many of the students were eager to succeed which fostered a positive competitive atmosphere. Both my teachers and fellow classmates challenged my knowledge of course materials appropriately, which helped me get a better understanding of how course lessons can be applied to real-world issues. The academic program successfully prepared me and helped me get ahead for university life, as many of the concepts I learned at City Academy were taught in either my lower-level or senior-level courses.


Extracurriculars

City Academy strives to provide quality and rich education to its students. By doing so, the curriculum solely focused on academics. There were no extracurriculars available during my time as a student at City Academy (however, that might have changed recently). The lack of extracurriculars helped me focus on my schoolwork and guarded me from potential social distractions. I have a very vibrant social life outside of school, so I appreciated the fact that City Academy did not offer extracurriculars so I could truly focus on my academics.


Students

The student body was very small, as class sizes range from 2-6. I enjoyed the small class sizes as it helped me focus and learn the course materials, and also fostered great relationships with both the teachers and my classmates. The typical student was uplifting, focused, and eager to succeed, which cultivated respectful and positive competitive environments. Of course in a group of students there are people who are not as motivated as others, but overall, every student wanted to be successful. The ethnic and socio-economic class of students was diverse and everyone got along with one another. Like I previously stated, I met my dearest best friend here at City Academy and I couldn’t imagine life without them. We would get breaks in the middle of each class (as each class was about 2 hours long) where students would hang out with each other in common areas. Overall, it was a positive experience.


School Life

I really enjoyed going to school at City Academy. I had the privilege of taking the subway to and from school every morning and afternoon which helped me learn how to navigate through Toronto. The building itself is nice, clean, and easily accessible. The school itself was secure and had cameras in both hallways and classrooms to provide safety for students. All of the students I encountered were just as passionate and engaged about the school and the curriculum as I was, which made it easy to make like-minded friends. There are lots of resources available to students who feel stressed (such as your teachers, guidance counsellor, etc.), and all the teachers were very kind and understanding which added to the quality of life provided by the school.


School Location

The school location was perfect and considered “mid-downtown”. The location and building were safe, and many of the students (including myself) frequently ventured beyond the school community during breaks or lunch to either grab food from the various shops available, or just to go on a walk to clear the air during a break. Many of the local vendors were friendly and gave student discounts which added to the already-positive community atmosphere.


Admissions

The admissions process was fairly simple; to my knowledge, it involved sending in transcripts, meeting for an interview, and a tour of the school and classes available. My parents handled most of the admissions process, but it was still interactive for me. My advice for students wishing to apply is to just go for it and put yourself out there! Application processes seem scary on paper, but everyone at the school is very kind and willing to work with you to ensure the school is a right fit. My advice would also be for students to show they are truly dedicated and motivated to learn and be successful. I recall the staff, teachers, and students greeting me during the school tour, and the principal working with me to ensure I had the proper prerequisites to transfer and succeed at their school.


Community

The community was very welcoming and engaging, and everyone was friends with each other. All of the teachers were amazing and worked hard to ensure we succeeded in their courses. Parents are welcome to be involved, but this step wasn’t necessary as the administration and staff did an excellent job communicating with their students. Teachers provided students with multiple different methods of communication (i.e., email, text, etc.) which made us students really feel as though the teachers were there for us and open to communicate whenever we needed them. Additionally. teachers made themselves available before or after class for extra help. I still keep in contact with the alumni community, as many of these people became close friends of mine during my time as a student there. I also went back to visit the teachers after my first year of university to catch up on life. Overall, both the teacher and student body were very friendly and welcoming.


University placement and counselling

Both the Principal and university counselling were very helpful and aided me through my application process. Both counsellors and the Principal provided suggestions as to which programs would best suit me based on my academic performance. The guidance provided exceeded my expectations, as they made sure students began their application process early enough, offered multiple sessions, were helpful with navigating through OUAC, and were excellent with communicating. I was able to choose which courses I wanted to be included as my top courses for my GPA, and was provided with multiple pamphlets, flyers, and books regarding universities and programs. Additionally, City Academy held information sessions with school officials from Ontario universities so that we can ask them questions about application requirements, available programs, student life, etc.




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