REVIEW OF Upper Canada College BY parent, Pierre Pong
- Date of Review
October 10, 2019
SK - Gr. 2
(5) Student Experience
I feel my child likes the teachers the best, they care, they are energetic, fully engaged, responsible, and resourceful. My child appreciates the learning experience and result the most: teacher took SK class out to sit on roadside to count car colors in tally marks, teacher gave mindful class every other day last year. One day, my son came back and said "Mom, I think patience is a virtue". And the end of SK, we were so surprised to found that our son were able to read lots of level 1 & 2 books. When I drop off my son in the morning, he immediately recognizes the boy in front him at a distance, calls him by name and they went to the class together. So kids have been advancing well not only in academic but also physical mental and social perspectives.
(5) School Leadership
The school reviewed strategic direction last year, incorporating inputs and consultations from industry experts and parents. It was a long well-planned inclusive process, to refresh school strategy that will be supported by all stakeholders. They respond to problems appropriately. Our principle talked to an adult in-person who, a stranger to our school, was not using the right language in sports. They handle discipline issues fairly, timely and judiciously. Majority discipline issues were handle on the same day. On heavy snow days last academic year, school considered well to open or close and communicated to parents by email, text message, and voice message.
We are very happy with the quality of instruction. The teachers are amazing, each of them! They are the heroes who make a big difference. Every teacher has his/her charm, rich background, and a caring heart, that makes us feel our kids are so fortunate! Yes, the teachers are very passionate and knowledgeable about their subject. They are very energetic and responsible. When I visited the outdoor classroom, I strongly felt that it was the teachers, their energy their enthusiasm that make the education fun and lasting. They communicate effectively and provide constructive feedback: their communication is also clear and to the point, they observe each student well, make individual plans to develop each student to his best. There is an agenda to communicate with on a daily basis for both teachers and parents to sign off every day from SK to grade 5. I feel that my child receives both challenges and the support that he requires. School also provides advanced classes for smaller group who needs more challenges.
The academic program at Upper Canada College follows IB, enriched with tradition value system, liberal arts, and physical education. The school's academic strengths and weaknesses? It's a full IB program from SK to grade 12. I was surprised, even astonished, when my son asked me lots of well thought questions after SK! He is thinking and discovering with his new learned inquiry skills! He was able to read lots of books by then. The school encourages everyone to be his best, to do his best, and to feel his best. School has a learning centre to help everyone to catch up to speed, to also provide advanced study for selected students. Teachers are available in the mornings and afternoons for questions and assistance. There are lots of early small classes, 8:00-8:30am, to help selected students to catch up or advance further.
Yes, there are enough extracurricular opportunities offered. Each grade has at least eight after-school programs, which are age appropriate. Most students can register the programs they like, only a few hot programs like debating need to be selected. Every family can find all their students need for extracurricular. This is what UCC does the best, as they focus on developing all-rounded students. All students are becoming a whole person with confidence and smile.
There are about 1150 students in the school. They are confident, happy, smart, well-educated, all-rounded. Some are eager for achievements, attending lots of clubs and extracurricular, even hiring private tutors. Many students have great family background, and the school provides a character development program and EQ trainings. Last academic year, there was a mindful course every other day. Students interact friendly and gently, no physical touch (fight) at anytime is the school policy, which is well implemented. They invite each other to birthday parties. School provides a cake once a month for the student birthdays in that month. Coach and mentoring is provided for students need social skill development and catch ups. There are lots of clubs, group projects and outdoor (Noval) educations to bond students together. There are many play dates as some students living further away.
(5) School Life
School starts from 8:30am, with first bell on 8:25am. Some students may need to get in earlier, like 8:00am, for additional learning. SK and grade 1 have snacks and drinks during recess. Lunch is provided with a charge, you can also bring your own lunch, or just register for a drink plan. There is a parents participated Nutrition committee, to plan and monitor meals. One hour sports or game time everyday is guaranteed. No school bus, most parents drive students to schools. Very few students walk to school or take public transit. Pickup time is from 3:20pm, begin with SK. If students register in ASP after school program, they will go directly to ASP. From grade 6, students can go to school library to study until pickup, they can also take home their school iPad. There are plenty of arts, music and sports. There are three parent-teacher interviews each year, including one settle in interview, and one student led interview. Reports card provide lots of individual details. Parents and teachers need to sign off on an agenda everyday for students in SK to Grade 5. The parent website provides student schedule for every hour in school.
All parents are always welcome to be involved in life at the school. We are all part of a parents organization, called PO and PPO, which have parents as grade rep and class rep. They bridge between teachers and parents, organize charity sales celebrations and tons of activities. We have an arts club, sports club, nutrition committee, etc. All students, parents and alumni are proud members of school association. Each year, association day, A-Day, is a big hit, fully loaded with sports and fun activities. They are plentiful volunteer opportunities, like school open house, fundraising, popcorn sale, bake sale, freezie sale, and trips etc. All these volunteer opportunities are open to every parent, including class rep and grade rep. Parents can also recommend new clubs or programs or activities. SK parents are invited to talk and demonstrate holiday and other celebrations in their own culture. Now each family donates $140 per year for class funding, for parents social night, and gifts for teachers on holidays, etc.
(5) School Location
The school located in central Toronto on 35 acres of green space, UCC offers modern learning spaces, state of the art facilities and countless athletic and co-curricular activities. Students can swim and skate in school, they have sports in bubbles (inflated indoor playground). UCC's Noval Outdoor School, a 430-acre facility located 40 minutes north of Toronto, offers opportunities to learn about nature and the environment. Students go to Noval three times a year, Grade 6 students stay their for one week of team building and communication activities. Students also have trips to other schools for sports, and to Quebec for language (French) study, to watch plays, and to visit charities.