REVIEW OF Vianney Academy BY parent, Marilyn Alfano
- Date of Review
June 08, 2021
Gr. 9 - Gr. 12
(5) Student Experience
Both my children experienced attention to their worries and concerns. They were listened to beyond any of my expectations. Coming with an at-risk profile, attention deficit, oppositional behaviour, OCD tendencies, both my children felt they were understood and given the chance to build on their skills, despite their weaknesses. My children were impressed with the level of commitment from the prinicipal and the teacher and support staff. Academic learning was only one aspect of the school, the value of relationship and positive interactions with peers and the local community played a huge part in balancing out my children's emotional life. Dedication and commitment is definitely strong qualities at Vianney, and my children have gone on to form deep, positive friendships as a result. The drive to accomplish academics is magically incorporated in Vianney's mission.
(5) School Leadership
In light of the profiles of both my children who attended Vianney, the attention to their specific make-ups were essential in dealing with any actions that fell short of the schools expectations. The leadership at this school is prompt to address any signs of trouble, and to assert in the most fairest ways some boundaries that needed to be set. My children have learned to value others' expectations and rules, and it has been a great place where lasting principles have been learned. From the principal to the teachers and support staff, everyone shows deep concern for the welfare and progress of the students.
The quality of instruction is excellent. My children needed accommodations and assistance to reach success in their courses, and Vianney's staff was always informing me and encouraging the children to apply themselves, or to adjust themselves. Achieving is something that every child must feel, and Vianney motivates the students to see there is always a green light at the end of the tunnel. My children received so much support and accomplished what they needed to in their time with Vianney. I was thoroughly impressed with the commitment to all youth, at-risk, learning disabilities etc., and how Vianney creates an environment that imparts education as well as inspiration for the future goals of the child. Timelines are always reinforced to motivate the children to succeed, and assistance is given along the way when marks are at risk. It's an incredible alternative to mainstream schooling.
I do feel that the academic program is par excellent. A lot of thought and years have gone into mastering the deliverance of the academics. Both my sons went through the school at different times, but both received every possible alternative in order to get the job done. Most recently my youngest son complete high school diploma after dropping out of the mainstream system. The small group to teacher ratio, the community-like atmosphere, and the feeling of being needed and valued, all work strongly in seeing the success in the academics. Excellent teachers with much experience, and regular contact to achieve academic requirements has always been characteristic of the school. A large building would help to grow the school and give more space to other developments.
I found that there were always school trips and outings in nature, tree trekking, camping, swimming, etc,. My sons were both involved in fundraising activities as were the other students. This allowed for community activities, ice-skating events, Summer fest events, and walk/bike a-thons. I have seen the school at events such as the Farmers market, dances, summer camps held on the premises, and outings to parks and up-north experiences. Outdoor activities are usually all year-round.
The student ranges from grade 1 to high school and this allows for a variety of personalities. The school is small which also allows for special attention to children that are at-risk. I see value in this as older children are mentoring and role models for younger children and also motivators for them. Older children who have lost self-worth and self-confidence like my children then receive a sense of responsibility. School patriotism is important and I feel Vianney has done a great job at making the students proud of themselves and the school. Interaction with other students from the home-schooling community has also been a characteristic of the school. In general the school has a very positive energy and vibrant spirit. My children were able to reflect this to me.
(5) School Life
The school life at Vianney is vibrant. There is much happening everyday. Academics, activities and recreation is a constant. The children have quiet time to do their class, study and complete assignments, take breaks to mingle and catch up, have outdoor experiences during the day as well. I believe the quality of life is conducive to positivity that is reflected in the academics but also in the emotional growth of the child. I have seen changes in leaps and bounds as my son began with failures, and ended up with high marks that I couldnt have imagined. So positive,caring and committed environments are the key to success. My child settled in over time, but then enjoyed learning, and became motivated to succeed, probably due to his fellow peers also trying, and collectively wanted to succeed, having set goals for themselves.
The parental involvement is essential in the school, as the child is an extension of his family. The need for fundraising has given the school a wonderful platform to integrate parents to help. And helping hands with helping hearts is always successful. Parents showed that they were willing to be there when it counted, whether for meetings, planning events, preparing the the fundraisers, and even volunteering at events such as dances, ice-skating Family day events, Summer Fair events etc., The common bond of raising up the school was a great unifying experience, as parents showed their commitment in small and big ways, each making a difference. I was personally so happy to be part of the team effort to raise awareness to the great alternative teaching that Vianney provides.
(5) School Location
The school grounds is currently a large residential area, students find respite in the gardens and recreation at the park and surrounding areas. The teacher accompanies younger students and older students are allowed safe boundaries. The children are given ample opportunity to be in nature, and the outside grounds are large enough for pool, trampoline and small group sport. My children never felt confined.
Vianney is a school for children who are needing a special attention. They could be at-risk youth, with learning or mental health issues. They could have other frameworks that stop them from flourishing in the mainstream system. As a result, parents feel at a loss when their child cannot succeed in school, or with peers. Vianney academy allows the child to be seen and heard. The child's learning abilities are assessed. The family situation is addressed and taken into account. The child is given attainable goals to begin with. When calling the school it is important to be honest about your challenges as a parent and your child's behavioural, and learning blocks. Only then can clear goals be set. The principal is ready to hear you and help you. You do feel they are concerned, and you feel for the first time there's a chance for your child to succeed.
(5) University placement and counselling
I know that Vianney has post-secondary at the forefront, wanting to encourage the future of all their children. It's important to feel that these options are open to all children and Vianney has STRONG staff to guide children to see their future potential. Talking about future plans, careers, vocations, is an open topic for the children, and encouraging them to see themselves in proactive roles in their future. Staff has the ability to guide students to investigate post-secondary options, and is ever ready to suggest new programs that may benefit your child. So far my child has not applied to post-secondary due to covid circumstances, but his goals are clear, and he knows that Vianney is there to support his next step. I am confident in relying on Vianney for this.