What is the school’s philosophy? What makes the school unique?
At High Park Day School we believe that all students have the potential to be active, independent thinkers and learners. We believe that an effective education is not a uniform one.
We strive to differentiate our lessons and teaching styles to provide a unique, personalized program for every student. We believe that confidence and motivation are the seeds of life-long learning, and that without these, education becomes a to-do list rather than an exploration of ideas, interests and values. We develop our curriculum to be the latter, allowing the students’ questions to drive our lessons, units and assessments.
A strong foundation in learning skills, and mastery of reading, writing and mathematics provides our students the tools necessary for independent learning. Involving students in group discussions, unit planning and self-reflection provide the higher level thinking skills needed for success in tomorrow’s world.
What facilities and equipment does the school offer?
As well as providing all necessary materials for everyday learning, we house an ever growing student library, have an off-site gymnasium, and a computer for every student. We take advantage of what our High Park and Babypoint communities have to offer; the Jane/Dundas Library and Magwood Park are regular destinations for our students. We use the parks and facilities to run daily lessons and activities.
How does the school challenge and support student achievement?
As stated in our philosophy, our curriculum is centered on each individual student. We encourage students to stand in their strength, while providing appropriate challenges to help each student develop further. Since our class sizes are small and our teachers are exceptional, every student is on his or her own track of progress.
How does the school encourage involvement among parents, teachers and students?
We strive to be as transparent as possible. All curriculum planning and documents are available to parents. Each week we update our school blog to keep parents aware of what is going on in the classroom. Our blog is also used as a discussion forum where learning can extend beyond the classroom. We hold regular parent/teacher meetings. We also welcome parent volunteers in the classroom!
Is the school calendar in line with the Toronto District School Board calendar?
No. We have our own unique calendar which adheres more closely to the international school calendar. We have an October week off, Family Week off in February, and an Easter Week off in April. We do not have March Break. We have fewer PA days, and more long weekends.
What curriculum guidelines does the school follow?
Through careful assessment and evaluation of our students, the curriculum becomes the product of student needs. Our school year consists of 5 different interdisciplinary units which introduce students to various local and global issues, followed by independent studies that are guided rather than instructed.
How are students evaluated?
When new students join HPDS they are given a series of formal and informal assessments to determine their abilities in different learning areas (learning style, reading comprehension, spelling and grammar skills, mathematics, oral fluency, social interaction). These snap-shot assessments allow us to begin a personalized program for each new student.
Students are taught how to self and peer evaluate, as well as how to set meaningful learning goals. Since students are a part of curriculum development and the assessment process, our reports are never a surprise. Progress Reports are sent home before the December holiday and at the end of the school year. Progress Reports are accompanied by meetings with teachers and often include the presence of the student.
What is the average class size?
Our class size is the main reason for our ability to tailor the curriculum so closely to student needs. The average class size is approximately 12 students per teacher, but often students are split into small groups, co-taught by two or more teachers, and receive one-to-one attention multiple times each week.
What is the admission process for my child?
Application packages may be downloaded from our website, picked up from the school, or sent by mail (please request by phone or email). Once completed forms are received and reviewed, we will contact you to schedule a family interview and a trial day for your child. Upon acceptance, we will arrange for a start date and schedule your child’s dynamic cognitive assessment, from which we develop his or her individual program. The average length of application process from inquiry to enrollment is two weeks. At this time we are accepting new students throughout for the 2012-2013 school year.