Woodbridge, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
The care the teachers give to the students is outstanding. We have had some experience with other schools and are familiar with the pattern of education there. We were able to find a big difference in how the teachers take it as a personal commitment, mission and responsibility to care deeply for each of the students. The teachers genuinely help and guide the children and also pray for them and with them in several occasions. The teachers develop personal interactions with the students, and take the role of mentors, counselors, older siblings and sometimes even parents. Even after graduation, the relationships are maintained and they become friends for life.
The leadership at TDCH is commendable. Every child here is loved, no matter what. They are sought and given opportunities to improve. They are admonished and given correction. There were a few instances when my teenagers needed reproof and correction and guidance and and we are thankful they were stopped in their paths and corrected. TDCH surely has been a positive school environment for my children as they always were happy to go to school. TDCH keeps the communication open with parents for the most part - maybe this is an area to work on, just a little bit more.
Other than academics, there are quite a few opportunities to develop in sports, music, band, art drama. There is also a Robotics clubs. TDCH puts out very interesting shows every year and its rated very good quality. I might be missing some that my students were not involved in. The school also takes part in mission trips and service trips keeping the students engaged globally and locally.
The school is neither too small nor too big. There are lot of resources to keep the entire community engaged. If there is one high school where the grade nines and grade twelves all mingle together, TDCH would be the one. There's hardly any occasion you hear about a bullying incident. The general atmosphere is pleasant and caring and loving. Students seem to get along with each other and respect fellow students. They seem to be respectful of teachers and the administration. I have had the opportunity to drive the kids for sports events several times and was pleased with the conversations that I heard in the car. The school also has a big international overseas student community. Maybe a few more opportunities can be organized to intermingle the internationals and the local student bodies.
It was very important to us as a family that all the teachers are OCT qualified. The teachers are thorough in their academic or athletic or technical knowledge. Each teacher has their own style of presentation and communication, and so does the student. The teachers seem to be up to date with the Ministry of Education's curriculum and teach it with passion. In almost every subject, they give an opportunity to the student to dig deep and explore and research and ask questions. There are presentations of learning days when the students gets to relay the information they have learned. They use an online application called EDSBY to keep students and parents informed of the course outline. This is very useful to guide and help the student as it helps to understand where the course is at a particular period of time
The school's focus is in developing the student. Some children are academically strong and some struggle with different subjects. The academic program at TDCH will prepare the student for post secondary education or work as it follows the general set guidelines. We see a high percentage of students successfully graduate from the school. There are hardly any drop outs that we know of. The school prepares a student to face life, especially to live as a Christian in a challenging world. This focus is key and reflected in all the meetings and agendas. Browsing through alumni publications, and judging where the students end up in life, the school has been successful in creating a positive culture for success.
TDCH school starts typically just before 9am and finishes around 3pm. There is a lunch break for less than thirty minutes around noon. This makes a typical school day longer when compared to other public schools in the area, but it suits perfectly to our schedule. Since more classroom hours are covered, there are four project days scheduled every semester, when student works on a project for each subject, and there are also focus days and presentation of learning days. These help the students dig deeper on the topic they have been exploring and add to knowledge and understanding. My children are up nice and bright on school day mornings as they love to go to TDCH. The warmth and the acceptance they feel when they are there gives them the motivation to continue attending TDCH.
The school community is spread out in a vast geographical area. This is a little bit frustrating for the students as this limits them on visiting or hanging out with their friends outside school hours. There are several nations and countries represented in the school both in parent community as well and student and staff groups. The school tries to organize plays and membership meetings when parents are invited and encouraged to join. There are alumni tournaments which give opportunities for parents and older students to get together. There are also 'parent cleaning days' when parent get opportunities to meet and mingle. Compared to public schools, there is definitely better communication with parents, but this might be one area where the school could look into bringing the parent community more together - maybe prayer rallies or other events when more connection could be established.
The school is situated in a busy neighborhood. The grade 9 students are typically all day in the school as they are not allowed to leave the grounds. The older students get out during lunch time on some days. The school participates in several sports events with the York Region. This gives the students and staff exposure to the neighborhood schools in the same area.
TDCH has several open houses during the school year, when the community can check out the insides of the school. It is basically geared for incoming grade 9 students. The application and admission processes were pretty simple and straightforward. The school takes every effort to honor every application that comes through. The parents and the family of the 'new' applicant go through an 'interview' or 'getting to know you' process. This is an opportunity where parents can get their questions answered. And an opportunity for the school admin to meet the family. The families take this very seriously, we were happy and blessed with this opportunity to spend some time face to face with the school authorities. I wonder if there is room to include more people in this panel - maybe an academic and athletic representative as well, so families get to see more faces and talk to more people.
The school offers enough subjects to have a wide variety of choices in almost any university program a student might want to attend. University or post secondary counseling starts with Grade 10s filling out their options for Grade 11 subjects. The school uses a third party program called 'MyBlueprint' which helps the students figure out their passions and goals and career paths and inclinations. Very clear directions are given to students on how to apply to OUAC (University) and OCAS (College) application websites. The guidance counselors are very knowledgeable and have one to one meetings with every student trying to get to know them and gear them to reach their individual goals. Parents have opportunity to directly message or talk to the guidance counselors to clear any doubts or get information about their students. I have made use of all these opportunities and had conversations and emails with guidance to get any extra support I needed. The teachers have been very helpful.