systemic racism school

The ultimate insider’s guide to choosing the right Toronto school for your child

Want the inside scoop on the schools you’re considering for your child? Look no further than the students themselves. These six kids share their best tips on how to find the right school and their thoughts on how their schools have supported their learning.

Jamie Mann, Branksome Hall

“It helps to understand the way you learn and the way you want to spend your time in school. Truly learn about the environment the schools you are considering will foster, and speak to students and teachers within them. By using your understanding of yourself to match with your possible future school, you will make a choice that will only strengthen your own potential.” Jamie launched a not-for-profit creating and illustrating children’s books.

Kevin Liu, Upper Canada College

“Visit the schools and follow your gut feeling. Try to find a school that fits your own interests and passions. Each school is different, in terms of their strengths and vibes. You’ll see it and you will know which one is right. When I chose my school, I looked for one that would offer me a more balanced, holistic educational experience.” Kevin founded the Coding and Algorithms Academy at UCC.

Angelina Tseng, Havergal College

“An important part of your decision is whether you see yourself fitting into the community. After visiting the open house, I realized I would have the chance to be surrounded by so many capable girls in leadership positions. At my school, we are encouraged to explore the intersections of fields and walk different paths than others. The school helps us become the creative minds behind groundbreaking works to come. Last but not least, we explore many challenging moral concepts surrounding sustainability and ethical development, which have had atremendous impact on my growth.” Angelina placed in the top 10 in an international entrepreneurship hackathon.

Martin Thaw, Toronto French School

“Dynamic extracurricular programs and supportive staff are important. It’s great to know that if you express your interest to be involved at school, the staff will always be there to find a suitable role for you.” Martin received the Absolute Winner Award at the International Economics Olympiad 2022.

Shoshana Iny, The York School

“For me the “vibe” of a school is most important in deciding if it’s the right fit for you. Everyone is on their own unique path, so do your best to focus on what is most important for you in your school journey. I chose my school because of the extremely apparent close knit community; it really teaches through relationships and every student in the school can confidently say that they have at least one (if not more) close relationship with a teacher at school. Everyone in the community – parents, teachers and students alike – treat each other with respect and empathy. ” Shoshana leads the Equity and Wellbeing Committee and coaches the debate team.

Jeremy Hirsh, Crescent School

“The key is to find enough elements of the school that align with your objectives of what you want to get out of the school. For me, I wanted to grow in a school that combined a challenging academic curriculum with access to a variety of sports teams. Understanding the philosophy and culture of the school is key to figuring out if the school is right for you. For me, I remember touring the school for the first time and hearing the Head of School use the term “warmth” to describe one of the school’s key values. That resonated with me. Culture is everything, in my opinion, when picking a school.” Jeremy represented Team Canada at the 21st Maccabiah Games and won gold.

Aisha Boubacar, Linden School

“It’s important to assess your personality and figure out what kind of environment your personality can flourish in. Think about the kind of programs you want, as well as the kind of peers you want. Get specific about what you want, then work from there. I was looking for a school that would support my introverted personality, so I looked for smaller class sizes.” Aisha wrote the book Crowned in Curls, inspired by her natural hair journey.

Jon Rosenhek, The York School

“You will truly enjoy your time at school if you have an outlet – creative or athletic – to look forward to outside of academics, so find a school that appeals to your niche and supports your future aspirations and you will be set. If you’re an athlete, find a school with an elite athletic program that will help you train, grow and improve. If you’re a public speaker, find a school that offers an amazing debate program. Don’t forget to speak with your parents for their support and guidance along the way!” Jon leads the school’s digital newspaper, The Stand.

Hao Ni, Branksome Hall

“You really want to consider how diverse and extensive the opportunities are offered at each school. You may already have a vague idea of what your interests are now, but that is very likely to change as you naturally mature and develop. Being able to access a wide variety of opportunities while you grow gives you the power to discover what is truly ‘you.'” Hao was selected to join the Canadian National Debate Team in June.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO