Both my children have had a fantastic experience at APA. The teachers and administration are very respectful, inclusive and kind. Everyone belongs at APA. I think my children have most enjoyed the wonderful relationships they have developed with their friends and with their teachers. My son is now in university and still comes back to visit the teachers. He is also in touch with a number of the students he went to school with there. My son was somewhat of a slacker in school. He did not have to work hard to obtain good marks. The teachers at APA always encouraged him to put more of himself into his daily work. They had high expectations of him and really encouraged him to rise to the level he was capable of.
Whenever I have had a concern my issues are dealt with very swiftly. I have met with the Principal during the summer months when I had concerns about the upcoming school year. My worries have always been taken seriously and workable solutions have always been presented. I have not been involved in any discipline issues. I know that they are very aware of issues that are happening at the school. Not much goes unnoticed. The administration is not afraid to deal with issues head on. They wonderful culture at the school is a testament to that.
The teachers are extremely hardworking and experienced. They were able to keep both of my children engaged and challenged. The teachers send regular feedback and are always available for a chat if one is required. APA has an open door policy that fosters strong communication between teachers, parents and students. My kids have had some extraordinary teachers. There have not been any teachers that I was dissatisfied with. Some of the teachers have decades of experience and others are new and eager. Both offer great things. The teachers take a keen interest in their students, going above and beyond. I am always struck how enthusiastic they are when a students brings up something they would like to do. They try to say Yes far more than No.
I have had two children at APA. My son was extremely well-prepared for high school when he graduated from grade 8. He knew what to expect and how to work independently. He had already covered quite a bit of the curriculum in grade 9. He is now at Queen's and thriving. Both my kids are very strong academically. They we challenged and pushed in a gentle, respectful manner. They were encouraged to be leaders and contribute to the school community. The academic level at APA is very high. The children are involved in various activities during the day to make learning engaging. They put on plays, build models, do interesting art projects all to increase their participation and learning. One year the teacher brought in butterfly larvae and they painstakingly watched them hatch into butterflies.
The Athletics Director is a gifted coach. He is incredibly encouraging and supportive and helped my kids to gain self confidence and athletic skills. Everyone is encouraged to participate. APA belongs to the Small Schools Athletic Federation which allows the sports teams to compete against other schools. The school offers a number of events and activities. They do some wonderful charity fundraisers throughout the year. There are clubs offered every night after school that cover everything from choir to Lego club to arts and crafts.
The culture at APA is one of respect and kindness. Students will say hello to you in the halls and hold the door for you. There is a happy atmosphere that is apparent when I go in the school. I am always struck by how age doesn't seem to matter at the school. Kids from many different grades will hangout together during breaks. There are several different age groups on the sports teams. Every year the school puts on a play that involves every student at the school. They all work hard to put on an excellent production. The school is small. This allows all of the students to get a tremendous amount of attention. My kids have both developed very strong relationships with their teachers.
My children have both had a wonderful school life at APA. They have played sports, been pushed academically, been in plays, had wonderful field trips, all in a very welcoming environment. It is really important to me that my children had a great place to be 6 hours a day. APA is that place. I often hear my friends complaining about their children's experience in school - their interaction with their peers or their teachers, not getting the attention they deserve, rules that don't work for their kids. I have never had these complaints. There is a culture of kindness and involvement. My kids were always engaged and included. APA have given my kids a safe, respectful place where they are part of a wonderful, loving community.
The families at APA are kind and involved. I have really enjoyed the people I have gotten to know through the school. There are a number of areas that parents can help out in. They are always welcomed into the school. The parents are generous with their time and skills. They volunteer in a number of areas, not just fundraising. I was able to come into a grade 8 class and teach them how to knit. They ask parents to come and speak to the kids about their interesting occupations. My son has been asked to come back and speak to the grade 8's about his experience in high school. The school offers a Date Night a couple of times a year. They allow you to drop the kids off (siblings included) on a Friday night. They have a number of fun activities for the kids and parents get to go and have a lovely, uninterrupted adult meal.
The school utilizes its location in the middle of Aurora very effectively. My daughter would walk with her Grade 3 and 4 class to the library once a week. The school uses the Aurora Family Leisure Complex, which is right up the street, for weekly skating in the winter and swimming in the spring. They also walk to Sheppard's Bush Conservation Area for Soccer Tournaments and use the town park just up the road for baseball and picnics. The older kids have used the GO Train for field trips to Toronto.