Dear Mr. Evans (Alex),
I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that you personally and your team at Don Valley Academy (“DVA”) have made to the progress, well-being and success of our son, Benjamin. We – and he – couldn’t be more satisfied with and grateful for the experience that Benjamin had as a student at DVA.
Benjamin came to you at a time of real disaffection with the conventional approach to teaching, learning, growing, developing and socialization promoted and implemented at other “leading” schools in the community. Initially, Benjamin turned to DVA for tutoring and extra help while still enrolled full-time in another school. But as Benjamin began to appreciate and respond well to the attitude, style and approach of the DVA staff, he asked his mother and I to agree to move him to DVA on a full-time basis for the remainder of his high-school program. At first we were sceptical about the proposed move, not because we doubted the integrity of DVA’s curriculum or pedagogical philosophy, but because we assumed that Benjamin’s “issues” would follow him wherever he went and the school itself would probably not make the difference.
Nevertheless, we put our faith in Benjamin’s own judgment and in DVA’s promise of a student-centred, personalized approach – one which placed the emphasis on individual growth and learning strategies and on fostering a spirit of personal responsibility in the student – and we enrolled Benjamin in DVA on a full-time basis for his last two years of high-school. And, as it turns out, our faith proved to be entirely justified.
As if miraculously, Benjamin responded almost instantly and in the most salutary and positive ways to the DVA environment and pedagogy. DVA helped foster Benjamin’s sense of personal initiative and responsibility and his pride and interest in achieving, excelling and learning. Under your direction and with your guidance and encouragement, Benjamin began to take charge of his studies, of his work and of the mission to get through the program in a creditable fashion. The results have been remarkable. Benjamin has developed – and continues to develop – into a fine, responsible, articulate and competent young adult. He has become more engaged in the world of ideas, of current affairs and of issues that he will have to address and problems that he will want to help solve in the challenging and daunting world which he is entering as a full and civically active member of society.
His intellectual curiosity was stimulated and rewarded at DVA. His self-confidence has grown ten-fold since attending DVA. His enthusiasm about the prospect of taking his place in the polity and the economy which we live in has been enhanced. DVA was just what Benjamin needed and we couldn’t be more grateful for it. Benjamin respected, responded well to and was enamoured with every one of your teachers. The proof is in the pudding. Benjamin graduated with a very high grade point average; he was accepted to every university to which he applied for admission (a couple of them even offered generous entrance scholarships!). DVA successfully shepherded our son through one of the more difficult stages in the development and life of a young person: adolescence. You managed to get him through this period with flying colours, both as to his personal, psychological and emotional development and as to his intellectual growth and his acquisition of indispensable study and learning skills.
Thank you DVA!
Peter Biro, Parent
Our experience with the Don Valley Academy has been wonderfully rewarding since our son began attending classes over three years ago. Now having successfully completed his fourth Highschool math course, our son’s confidence has been incredibly bolstered and his mathematical knowledge and prowess solidified beyond expectations. He views his time at the Don Valley Academy as having been, in his words, a ‘game-changer in how he has has learned to appreciate mathematics and as well, his own abilities to earn top grades’. The administration and teaching staff at Don Valley Academy have taken exceptional care in not only teaching, but inspiring our son to want to learn and to be the best student he can be. We can’t say enough about the Don Valley Academy …
Howard and Martha Breen, Parents
As a former student at Don Valley Academy, I cannot say enough great things about this school. After taking three courses over the span of two years (as a part-time student while attending York Mills C.I.) I had the opportunity and pleasure of getting to know all of the teachers and staff. They are committed to sustaining a learning environment that is productive, personable and unique. I felt that my teachers not only challenged me to perform to the best of my ability, but also sincerely cared about my progress and academic success. I especially found that the small class sizes helped me focus and allowed me to get the attention and support I needed. After graduating high school with credits from both York Mills and Don Valley Academy I was accepted into Western, which was my first choice. My experience at Don Valley Academy was extremely positive and I highly recommend this school.
Hayley F, Student
After spending three years studying at DVA, Josh has matured into a confident young man. I feel that the time he spent there helped to improve his confidence, motivation and study skills. The teachers have all had a positive influence both as a student and a person. They helped focus Josh to take responsibility for his work, the importance of meeting deadlines, and how to work independently to prepare for tests and exams. This was evident in his acceptance at every university he applied to as well as the offer of scholarships at each one. he decided to attend the University of Toronto and it helps to know that he can always contact you if he requires any direction while there.
Thanks for all of your help,
Pat Kay, Parent
I want to thank you for the invaluable contribution you all have made to my son’s education and, ultimately, to his life. In September 2006 when I first made contact with the Don Valley Academy, I was impressed with your ‘real world’ approach to learning, i.e. teaching students how to take responsibility for their learning while maintaining close supervision. As you recall, I explained to you that my son Brian had had bad experiences in public school and that I was worried that he would not be able to attend university.
After talking with Brian you assured me that you and your staff would help him turn things around. Literally within weeks, Brian’s attitude began changing and, as he improved his organizational and work management skills, his work also improved and, with it, his interest in his work. By March Break, the Don Valley Academy had turned Brian’s cycle of mediocrity into one that focused on seeking excellence.
From November 2006 to June 2007, Brian evolved from a mediocre student on which the public system had given up into an ‘A’ student who was accepted by every university to which he applied, namely, The University of Toronto, The University of Western Ontario and York University.
I am grateful to The Don Valley Academy for the outstanding competence, dedication and integrity of its staff and the effectiveness of its approach to education. It is not an exaggeration to state that The Don Valley Academy has left an indelible mark on my son’s life and on mine.
Thank you again, so much.
Bernard Beaudoin, Parent
Thank you for providing a very positive, hands on learning experience for our daughter, Vanessa. Not only did it give Vanessa the opportunity to substantially improve her mark (after graduating) from a 66 to an 88, but it provided her with the confidence to pursue Math in her future studies. It also provided her with a number of academic university scholarships worth a few thousand dollars. Great experience at your school and for her future.
Heidi K, Parent