REVIEW OF The York School BY alumnus, Mikaela Hummel
- Date of Review
January 23, 2020
Gr. JK - 8
- University (major)
(5) Overall Experience
I am so thankful that I was able to attend Ottawa Christian School for all 10 years of my elementary education. OCS laid the foundation for my future academic studies while also providing a safe and fun environment in which to learn. The caring and dedicated staff ensured that I not only received a quality education, but also created an atmosphere where I could grow as a person. They encouraged me to develop not only as a student, but also as a follower of Christ. I always felt welcomed during my time at this school and the teachers desire to know each student on a personal level. They want the students to succeed, not only academically but in life. They care about each of their students deeply.
(5) School Leadership
The school's administration and leadership are well-respected by parents and students. They care about the students and their families and want to make sure that the best learning environment is provided for everyone. They understand how to properly and appropriately discipline students in a fair way. This allows the students to learn better and grow as individuals. The weekly memo allows for both students and parents to keep track of what is going on in terms of assignments, events, and school news. The administration is friendly and readily available to answer questions and address concerns.
I am completely content with the quality of teaching that Ottawa Christian School provided. Teachers are knowledgeable about the subjects they teach and are passionate about wanting their students to learn. Students respect them as people in authority; however, teachers are also approachable. They want the best for their students and show this in their genuine care for every individual. Teachers provide helpful feedback on assignments and tests in order to help students improve and get ready for the next part of their school career. After Grade 8, I was more than ready academically to enter high school. The teachers also show their commitment to Christ in their teachings, pointing to Him in all that they teach, no matter the subject. My French teacher instilled in me a love for the language and was the reason I continued taking French all through high school.
Throughout my time at Ottawa Christian School I felt challenged yet supported in my academics. The curriculum equipped me for entering high school and made me passionate about learning. It made me ask questions and seek for answers. Teachers were passionate about the material and made students want to learn. Assignments and tests were administered fairly, reflecting what students learned. In Grade 7 and 8, I was able to participate in the Gauss Math contest, which helped to push me academically. This was an optional activity but open to anyone interested. The teachers and curriculum used enables students to see how God is at work in all of His creation. The lessons helped to expand one's knowledge and deepen one's relationship with Him. While grades are important, teachers want to see the student develop as a person and grow in godly characteristics. Thus, the report card reflects this too.
When I was a student, I was able to participate in the sports team. OCS provides opportunities for older students to compete on sports teams. While competitive, coaches and teachers teach students valuable lessons, such as how to be a team player and show sportsmanship. I also participated in a "Battle of the Books" team, where a group of students read assigned books and then competed against other teams from different schools in a trivia tournament.
Ottawa Christian School is a relatively small school, so class sizes are manageable. The teacher-to-student ratio allows for more teacher-student interactions, and teachers are able to spend more time with students who are struggling in class. Students are generally excited to be at OCS and enjoy their time. They are proud to be a part of the OCS community, as evident in their participation in the annual Walk-A-Thon. OCS has a diverse group of students coming from many different cultural and denominational backgrounds. This provides a rich environment where students can then learn from each other and appreciate differences. Students come from many different socio-economic backgrounds but all are treated as equally important to the learning environment and their experiences are validated. Students mostly interact well and get along; when conflicts occur, teachers are equipped to help in working through them in a healthy, Christ-centred way.
(5) School Life
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ottawa Christian School. Teachers were always ready to help students, making studying and learning less stressful. They made classes interesting and related it to real-life examples, helping students engage with the curriculum. OCS also has a great atmosphere. Throughout the school year, special events are planned by the older students to create school spirit and to allow for older and younger students to get to know each other and create a strong intra-school community. Reading buddies and Play Day are two examples of this. When I was in JK, SK, and Grade 1, the teachers would plan special activities related to course content in order for us to visit other classrooms and areas of the school so we felt more comfortable interacting with students and teachers from other grades. The chapel also helped to accomplish this, as everyone gathered together once a week. These activities helped to make school less intimidating as a little kid and made me excited to go to school every day.
When I was a student, my parents were actively involved with the school. There are many ways that parents can help out. Parents can volunteer to chaperone class trips or help out at school events, such as the Walk-A-Thon. Members of the school community are able to attend meetings that make them aware of what is going on at the school and allow them to vote on certain issues. The board is made up of parents of students or supporters (members) of the school. I have been able to stay in touch with some of my classmates after finishing school at Ottawa Christian School. I have also gone back to OCS in order to watch family members or younger students that I knew during my time there graduate. The staff is still there from when I attended, and they remember me and are interested in where my studies have taken me.
(4.5) School Location
The school is located in a safe neighbourhood in Barrhaven. Students must stay on property grounds unless under direct supervision of a staff member for a special occasion. However, there is ample space for kids to play at recess. Also, the school is located next to a nursing home. Sometimes classes will visit it and sing songs for or do other activities with the seniors.