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Neighborhood Schools (The good, the bad , the nightmare )

Hi everyone,

I am a proud leslieviller who supports our community in as many ways possible.

However, despite the charm of our neighborhood I have heard many negative comments about Duke of Connaught school. Comments range from rampant bullying to lack of engaged teachers due to the sheer size of the school. As you can imagine this is quite unsettling to a parent of a 3 year old who is poised to attend next year. I've had a few conversations with other parents who are even thinking of moving because of the "school situation".

This begs the following questions:
1. Is Duke really that bad a school ?
2. Am I unreasonable to consider moving as well ?


Thanks so much for the honest input and debate !

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Back in the day,. I had faced a similar conundrum. Moving would be a drastic choice. Do you work in another part of the city?  You could always request Optional Attendance at a school that you prefer or that is closer to your workplace. Our daycare was at U of T, so we got automatic out-of-district attendance for Huron, where we enjoyed 8 good years.

Start by going to the TDSB website for info on Optional Attendance.  HTH.

Thanks for the reply Lisa. Sounds like it worked out for you! The troubling thing is that TDSB has new policies that make it more difficult to attend out of district schools. I agree it may be a bit drastic but my partner and I are leaning towards selling and renting in a neighborhood if it means a better school for our child.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Is Duke really that bad a school?

Thanks again for your opinions, experiences and insights.

I've heard the same type of thing about Duke.  My child goes to Leslievill Jr Public at Leslie and Dundas.  We love the school!  Really engaged teacher, tons of extra curriculars, a dedicated music teacher and a dedicated gym teacher.  (Dedicated as in, they only teach one subject, rather than having the regular teacher try to teach music etc.)  Really fabulous school.  So just enroll your child there.  Depending on where you live, you won't have to move.  My child is heading off to grade seven next year, and we are wondering about Duke as well as that is our "home school."  We are thinking of Earl Grey.

Interested to hear other people's thoughts.

 

Thanks for the reply Eloise !

Unfortunately, Leslieville public is not an option for anyone east of Hastings. If so we would enroll there in a heartbeat . Speaking of heartbeat, mine is running triple time with the thought of my child going to Duke. Don't get me wrong , I'm sure parents and staff try their best to make it a great school . However, the negative narrative this school has is quite striking.


Looking forward to more insights.....

Eloise, consider alternative schools too!! We got into Quest for 7/8 (which is based in Withrow) and it is an AMAZING school.

Eloise Smith said:

I've heard the same type of thing about Duke.  My child goes to Leslievill Jr Public at Leslie and Dundas.  We love the school!  Really engaged teacher, tons of extra curriculars, a dedicated music teacher and a dedicated gym teacher.  (Dedicated as in, they only teach one subject, rather than having the regular teacher try to teach music etc.)  Really fabulous school.  So just enroll your child there.  Depending on where you live, you won't have to move.  My child is heading off to grade seven next year, and we are wondering about Duke as well as that is our "home school."  We are thinking of Earl Grey.

Interested to hear other people's thoughts.

 

Thank you all for this discussion - your honesty is refreshing and much appreciated. I'm glad to see an open conversation about this.  Leslieville Dad, I like your comment about how parents and staff try to make schools as good as they can, but that's not a magic solution.  Of course, we'd all like to do as much as we can to make a school great, but we're also concerned for our kids.  This isn't elitist - it's just honest.  Thank you. 

My daughter is still a baby, so we're just starting to learn more about our public school options.  We're in the catchment area for Bruce Jr. Public School, and I've been going to the Parent Resource Centre (drop-in centre) there for a few months now.  It's fantastic, which makes me think good things about Bruce.

Duke of Connaught is our French Immersion option. But, for now, I think I would rather send my daughter to Bruce Jr.  We'll see when the time comes. And if she does go to Bruce, then we'll also consider alternative schools for Grades 7/8.

Leslieville Dad, have you looked into the "Equinox" program at Roden?  I have friends who have their daughter in there, and they all love it.  I'm sure there's a waiting list and you probably have to jump through hoops (volunteer hours and the like), but my friends do not live in the catchment area, and they got their kid in there.

Keep up the conversation - there are many of us reading along, and hoping to learn from each other.

Cheers,

Avery

 

Thanks so much Avery !

I also have heard good things about Bruce! Best of luck.
I think there are a lot of parents in our community who also float between moments of anxiety and buyers remorse as a result of the question of their child's school.

For those of you reading , please share your thoughts , insights , suggestions and opinions .

Parent engagement is a huge factor in the success of a school. There are so many positive changes happening in this area, and it is becoming such a destination for new families, you also have the opportunity to effect positive change by staying. I've been here for 12 years now, and the area has improved SO much. If I were choosing schools now, I might not be so adverse to DoC.

If you have it in you, you can be part of the solution. Bullying is intolerable, and bullies are everywhere, regardless of your age. (we had them at Huron too, and we had good teachers and not so good teachers). Parents do have to stand up for their kids and demand solutions. The TDSB is committed to it, so we must hold them accountable. And from what I have heard professionally, there are also some excellent teachers now at DoC.

So maybe stick around and see how kindergarten goes. Get to know the parents on the playground, volunteer when you can, meet your teacher. TDSB schools really are overall great.

Thanks to everyone for this discussion.  Not to take us off track on Duke... But any other thoughts about Leslieville Jr?

I'm not familiar with that school, but I did grow up in the public school system. If you wish to go that route I would start enrolling your child in self defense courses asap. The public school system is prison for children. It's not a pretty place for the weak.

I put my daughter in French Immersion for the sole reason of avoiding sending her to Duke of Connaught. It was a pretty rough school, but that was 15 yrs ago. At the same time a friend chose to put her children in Duke. She was a stay at home mom and was very involved in the school, spent a lot of time there, was close to the teachers and principals. She said it was a great school with a lot of diversification, very open to parents' ideas.

My daughter is in her second year (Grade 5) in the 'extended French' (half the day in French, half English) program at Duke. Prior to that she attended Bruce. 

I have to say that our experience at Duke is nothing like the panic voiced here by "Leslieville Dad." We have not seen / heard ANY of the issues he has raised. I cannot speak to the specific classroom environment in the "general" classes, but my daughter's teachers in her program have been excellent. 

I could see the concern about sending a 4-year old to such a large school, but I would encourage you not to overreact to the size and hubbub at Duke - they seem to "insulate" the younger grades well.

I'll can definitely personally vouch for Bruce - its ideal for JK/SK younger grades. 

 

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