There are so many things to list but the sense of community, levels of support, service opportunities and extracurriculars would land at the top. I have had two children graduate and one who is about to graduate and the school met all their unique needs from the Jr. School all through the Sr. School. The academic demands are well balanced to sports, arts and service. The international community of the students has been a spotlight for our kids and our family because of friendships made that would otherwise never have happened. It is a very inclusive school community that made all three of my unique children feel welcome. Service trips would likely land at the top of the best memories or experiences my children reflect on.
The most important part of the school leadership is that they work as a shared team across all areas. They are approachable by parents and kids. They are not always tucked away in offices but out and about with the kids as much as possible. I appreciate that they know my kids and have regular interactions with them. The school hosts annual face-to-face meetings with parents and school leadership to allow for open dialogue. I love that they are all down to earth and approachable.
My kids have never once since moving to TCS complained about going to school. The academics are rigorous, but the teachers are outstanding and supportive. Report cards have always reflected a deep understanding of my kid's abilities along with a good dose of constructive advice. The academic support team is outstanding and has personally supported two of my three kids to reach academic goals. The quality of instruction is excellent, collaborative, innovative and current. Teachers are involved with students, not just a teachers, but coaches, advisors and mentors. Many teachers also have house leadership positions so there are abundant ways for them to teach and connect inside and outside of the classroom. The teaching staff is one of the most dedicated and hard-working that I have ever seen.
There is no question that the academic program is rigorous. There is a good breadth of class choices and there is always room to go higher with the AP program. Kids are given many opportunities to find their niche in the world of academics be it STEM or humanities. My two children who have graduated feel they learned the necessary skills for success in their post-secondary programs. They have all learned to manage their time well and with summer program offerings were able to have more flexibility for electives in their senior years. Learning does not only happen in the classroom at TCS. There are student-led clubs, service trips and volunteer opportunities happening on a regular basis. Guidance and support are available at all times for students.
All three of my kids went down very different paths for extracurricular programming. They were involved in competitive sports, music as well as non-competitive offerings. The setting for the school and multiple fields and gyms allows them to offer a huge list of programming. Each term offers a list of competitive and non-competitive sports as well as music ensembles and theatrical productions.
As I mentioned before the school is like a small community. The student body size is ideal and the school makes a huge effort to balance the male to female ratio. The spirit among the students is wonderful and a reflection of the staff and leadership of the school. There are many opportunities for student-led leadership and in general a collegial and family-like atmosphere. The student houses further allow for small tight-knit communities within the larger school community. The strong community bond and traditions at TCS, foster strong community-minded, global citizens. Students learn to be advocates for themselves and their broader community through the example of staff, teachers and the administration of the school. Further to this, leadership opportunities allow for all students to find courage and strength within themselves to succeed.
School life at TCS is a busy life. The days are long and fulfilling academically, socially and physically. All three of my kids have loved their time at TCS. Particularly, the friendships they made with students from other countries stand out above all else. These connections did not stop with the kids but extended to entire families who now communicate from afar and plan visits and holidays. This has been the most enriching part of TCS life for our family. The days are full but also so fulfilling. From Chapel to classes, to hanging out in Cirne Commons, and the amazing food in Osler Hall, the kids feel united in spirit for their school. Another part that brings them all together is the uniforms and long-standing traditions that make TCS a special place.
I have mentioned the community spirit above many times in relation to students and staff. On the side of the parents, I can attest that there are wonderful opportunities for parents to be involved. The school is welcoming and open to parent involvement on many levels. I have spent many years volunteering and meeting new friends and families through the Parents Guild. These parents have become friends and the sense of community that exists inside TCS spreads out to the community surrounding it because of these relationships. This encourages a common goal that exists from the family homes to the school. Not only do the children feel supported but as parents, we feel included, involved and have the opportunity to feel the special spirit at TCS.
TCS is the anchor in a small town. The students are well respected and welcomed all over Port Hope. Many staff and families call Port Hope home. The existence of the school goes back many generations making it an important part of the town. The students are able to get around on foot to stretch outside the boundaries of the school. The school is lucky to have ample space to be indoors and outdoors. They are surrounded by nature but very accessible to trains and highways for travel.
First and foremost, a campus visit is the vital component to understanding TCS. There is a feeling when you visit a place and this feeling cannot be conveyed in a brochure or video. The admissions team is accommodating, knowledgeable and professional. The school also has a team of student-led tour guides to give you their personal perspective of school life. Under the umbrella of the admissions department, the parent Global Ambassadors from all parts of the world are made available to answer questions to allow for that parent to parent connection. Open houses and spend a day/night programming also allow for that personal connection that is so important in making this most important decision. At open houses, families can meet students, see the day-to-day goings-on, meet staff and current parents for organic conversation and perspective.
The guidance process is very comprehensive and focuses on the students being as self-sufficient as possible. The students take guidance courses and have an assigned guidance contact for questions and planning. The department is well versed in local, national and international offerings and requirements. Students also have a social-emotional counsellor available to them should the need arise. As I stated they guide the students in a way that allows them to navigate the application process fairly independently. This is a common way for TCS to teach students to advocate for themselves in all ways of student life at TCS and beyond. There is a collective attitude to further studies with staff and students alike while understanding the traditional and non-traditional opportunities that are available.