How To Find The Best Public Schools In Toronto
Canada’s robust economy, combined with the native aging population and the low birth rates, is among the things that have led the country to seek talented individuals in order to bridge the gap in its workforce.
Toronto, for instance, is a magnet for expatriates who look to live and work in Canada. If you are among those who brought or plan to bring their families along, schooling is always going to be huge a concern, in addition to other things like where to stay, security, nearby health facilities, and so on.
The rest aside, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Toronto has plenty of quality public schools, both elementary and secondary, all of which take their curricula mandate from the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Wondering whether you will be able to get a suitable public school in the area for your kids and whether they will fit in?
That shouldn’t worry you because Toronto is a very multicultural city, as reflected by its demographics, and the city is filled with great public schools.
Our guide seeks to help you learn more about the best public schools in Toronto. Keep reading to learn more.
What To Look For In A Good Public School
Toronto has approximately 583 public schools. All of them are overseen by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), which is not only the largest in Canada but also the most multicultural and multilingual in the world.
Now, irrespective of what neighborhood you choose, you are likely to have a public school within reasonable proximity. However, living in a city with such diversity, parents may have varied preferences, such as a school that can accommodate kids with special needs and is in line with their values.
Your kids may also prefer a public school with an emphasis on sports or arts and so forth.
However, coming to a decision on the most suitable public school for them shouldn’t just be hinged on proximity alone, but a few other factors that will help in settling for the right fit.
Having this in mind, we have laid out some helpful pointers on how to find a public school in Toronto that may be a good fit for your kids.
1. The Curriculum And Learning Style
When going through your checklist of shortlisted schools, you want to make sure that the public schools that make your list are, to a good degree, in tandem with your child’s personality, academic ability, and learning style.
If you get this right then your child is likely to thrive and enjoy public school life. The top public schools in Toronto will afford your child a variety of unique programs and courses ranging from Afrocentric, specialized art programs, as well as technology and athletics.
2. Extracurricular Programs
Knowing your child’s strengths and talents will help determine which public school to settle for. If your child is gifted in a certain sport, arts, drama, dance, or musically inclined, you will want to consider a public school that is also strong in those specific talent areas and has the necessary facilities to support them. This can help form the basis of your decision.
3. Academic Performance
As per the TDSB, the quality of education is top notch and is refined in order to improve education standards. More than 80% of Toronto’s public-school students graduate and proceed to university or college. 40% of these graduates will go ahead to rank as Ontario scholars.
Although the quality of education is generally high in Toronto, certain public schools in some areas tend to perform better than others just like anywhere else in the world.
To see performance rankings for a particular school that you are interested in, you can consult the rankings published by the Fraser Institute to help with your decision.
The diversity and flexibility across Toronto public schools are remarkable such that an expat’s children can be admitted into these schools with ease for as long as they are a good fit for the school.
Current statistics provided by the TDSB indicate that 23% of students in public schools were born outside Canada.
120 is the staggering number of different languages spoken by their students and families across the Toronto public school fraternity. It is unlikely that your kids will feel like a fish out of water despite being in a new environment.
What Criteria Is Used To Rank Schools In Toronto?
The Fraser Institute school’ ranking website is a reliable tool from which you can check Toronto’s public school rankings. This is a vital tool as it helps parents get a detailed report on a given school’s performance over a period of the last five years. You can clearly see whether the performance trajectory of the school you intend to select for your kids is on the upward trend, declining, or simply plateaued.
This Institute uses average scores of provincial-wide tests data performed in grade 3 and grade 6 to come up with objective provincial school rankings.
A higher school ranking might also be indicative of the teacher quality in that school as well as the teacher to student ratio.
It is important to point out that if a particular school does not appear on this ranking, it does not necessarily mean that the school is bad; it only means that there is inadequate data to decide on how they rank against other schools in the province.
Having said that, it is important to note that as much as public school rankings may be important, a school selecting decision should not be made solely based on school ranking.
Genuinely assessing your child’s academic abilities and other talents should also play a huge role in selecting potential matches that will suit their abilities best.
Why Top Neighborhoods Have Some of The Best Schools in Toronto
Where one lives and how much one earns appears to have a huge impact on the educational experience students get in Toronto.
A few years ago, Canada’s top newspaper, The Star, obtained data that showed schools that sit in wealthy areas got more funds from families to pay for things like extracurricular programs and building playgrounds and sports fields; a situation that is not so common in schools in less wealthy areas.
According to the report, parent councils in top wealthy schools are never shy of fundraising for the school’s libraries, buying books and computer equipment, or sharing the cost of upgrading school facilities with the board.
Because of the cash influx, schools in top neighborhoods have enough to buy more curriculum materials and other things that make the educational experience in such schools exceptional.
Also, as you may have realized, most homes near top-rated schools are quite expensive, a situation that plainly corroborate the above report.
Although public schools are strewn all over Toronto, what we’ve discussed is part of the reasons why some neighborhoods tend to be surrounded by some of the best schools, from elementary to high schools.
Some of the areas include Rosedale Moore Park, Bathurst Manor, Lawrence Park South, Hillcrest Village, York Mills, and Sunnybrook, just to name but a few.
However, in some cases, you might find that hunting for a suitable public school first then deciding to look for a house in the vicinity can work best as opposed to vice versa.
Because of the sizable number of expats relocating to Toronto, the Canadian government has, through TDSB, made it possible for expatriate children to have easy access to a variety of public schools. The dynamic curricular and extracurricular programs mean your kids can get a high-quality education while learning in a non-discriminatory environment irrespective of their religion, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Nevertheless, your search for the best public schools in Toronto should never miss factoring in the factors we’ve discussed, from the quality of teachers, availability of extracurricular activities, and academic performance to diversity, student to teacher ratio, and the rest of the factors in the guide.
If left out, chances are you will make a wrong choice of school and this could complicate things further for your kids and family.