Registered for High School and New Adventures #ad #CatholicTeachers

This post is part of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers #catholicteachers sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. 

It’s high school registration time. That’s right, this month, I registered my youngest daughter for high school. That’s huge. Any parent of a school aged child knows, we agonize over where to send our children and often we also wonder if they are ready. When your child has special needs you worry even more. As hard as these huge decisions are, I feel pretty good about this one because I know what to expect.


In grade 9, we enrolled my oldest daughter in the Catholic high school near our home. From the moment we arrived at her high school we were greeted with respect and support. This particular high school has been a great fit for Payton and for the last couple of years I have hoped her younger sister will follow her to the same Catholic high school. Ainsley’s needs are different than Payton’s. They are polar opposites in a lot of ways.

But, both of my girls are on IEP’s, individual education plans, which means they require extra support in certain areas at school. Ainsley needs a bit more in class support, help with planning and time management and regular checkins to be sure she’s understanding material. She also has technology, a laptop to work on for anything written. Payton can independently opt to go to a resource room to write all of her tests and she also leaves class occasionally for quick mental health breaks. They both need strong people around them to help.

I’ve seen how incredibly supportive Ontario English Catholic teachers and administrators are at Payton’s school. From the first day, her anxiety at school was dramatically reduced. Panic attacks rarely happen anymore. The support she received in class and at school has helped her with anxiety disorder. The Ontario English Catholic teachers, guidance counsellors and administrators are magnificent at mental health support. That has been extremely valuable to our family. For me, that looked like fewer phone calls home mid panic attack, and fewer arguments about getting to school.

SO, when it comes to support and guidance I feel confident my youngest daughter will also get what she needs to flourish. The Catholic high school teachers Payton has had have been exceptional.


Support is in fact the strongest criteria for determining where both my daughters go to high school. Repeatedly over the last two years, when Ainsley asks: “Which high school will I go to?” I reply: “The most important thing to me is that you get the support you need to become the best version of you.”

So where will that be? In fact my youngest is registered and we’ve begun the transition process to the Catholic high school not far from where we live. There are a few great things about that. The proximity means the girls can and should walk back and forth instead of taking a bus. They will be at the same school for a year or two again. And I know I can trust the Catholic high school teachers to build on Ainsley’s strengths.

Next year, at this time my youngest daughter will be in grade 9. Hopefully, loving every minute of it. Making new friends, learning as much as possible, joining basketball and cross country, finding a path through the teenage years. I hope she finds guidance and acceptance, friendship and inspiration too. And I hope she truly enjoys this time.

High school is a huge and dramatic part of growing up. But, knowing that Catholic teachers hold core values of fairness, compassion, respect, concerns for social justice and the environment in high regard, makes me feel confident this school is the right fit for both of my kids.

Ontario English Catholic teachers deliver lessons for life, incorporating discussions about the environment and social justice into the daily classroom discussion and assignments. I love that. Both of my kids have a strong empathetic streak and they are kids who stand up for others, easily able to recognize injustice. When I overhear my daughter on the phone with a friend having a bad day I often am amazed at how caring she is. Both girls are like that actually.

This week a friend was having a hard time. Ainsley’s go to is this: “What can I do to help?” or “How can I make it better?”

As her Mom, I frequently remind her to remember to take care of herself and do her homework first before helping fix a friend’s problems. BUT personally I love her kind, caring streak.

Ontario’s English Catholic teachers help shape the character and values of the students they teach. Simply put, they provide lessons for life. For this next stage, although grades are important, character is even more valuable to me.

I know Ainsley will get the inspiration and guidance she needs to grow into a confident, caring, young adult and a valuable member of a greater community. Diversity, acceptance, tolerance and compassion are all characteristics I see daily at my daughter’s high school and I know my youngest will be inspired by that.

Ultimately these are the things that matter even more than grades. Ontario English Catholic teachers are true partners in growing great young people.

Eli’s Allies from OECTA on Vimeo.

Visit http://www.catholicteachers.ca/LessonsForLife/ for more information.


Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Jenn

    This sure takes me back. It just feels like yesterday that our youngest was starting high school. In reality it was years ago, as she is in college now. Time sure goes by fast. I sometimes wish I could slow it for just a bit.

  • Marie Gizelle

    I have two of mine who are now in the higher education system (school system is a bit complicated where I am)…when they where in grade school, the school were a bus station away or 5-minute walk, but now that they’ve decided to do something else, it’s a 40-minute travel and I still worry.

    I feel your ease reading through this post, which is a good thing…you know that your child/children will be in good hands…and I’m happy to know that like me, you value so much more than just grades. 🙂

  • Katherine

    Picking the right school is so tough!! We moved from the UK to the US just as my daughter was starting school. She was previously enrolled in our local Catholic School and then we whisked her off to Texas and had to start all over again. In the past four years we’ve tried a Private Traditional School, a Reggio Emilia School and now a Montessori Charter School. As you say, it’s all about finding the right fit for your kids, I’m so glad you’ve found the perfect schools!

  • Joely Smith

    I am so happy that your family found the right fit for your kids! I know how hard that is having a special needs child (now young adult) of my own!
    This school sounds so very supportive and helpful!

  • Reesa Lewandowski

    Best of luck to you and your daughter! It sounds like she has a great high school career ahead of her with lots of great support! Looking forward to reading about how it goes!

  • Ali Rost

    Oh hun, how wonderful you’ve found a great school for both of the girls. While I didn’t have special needs children, per se, every child is unique in their own ways and requires a helping hand from time to time. Sometimes, it’s one teacher noticing something is off. Other times, it takes a village. So often schools get a bad wrap, but at the end of the day I have to believe everyone is trying their best and so many hard things can be managed with great communication between the teachers, kids, and parents. x

    • Paula

      Ali: Thanks so much for the kind comment. I am hopeful and confident but yes the communication will still need to be there. No question!

  • Censie Sawyer

    Finding the perfect school can be hard sometimes. We are struggling with our kids right now and we are waiting to see if they get into our school of choice. Fingers crossed!!! Having a school with teachers who are involved and invested is so important.


    We home-school but if we were not, I am sure I would be looking at a school like this one. I have a friend that might be moving to that area and I am going to recommend this to her. So important to know that your kids have great teachers and are being prepared for the future in a place you can trust.

  • Amy @ Marvelous Mommy

    We just bought a new house and my girls will be going to a new school. I wasn’t happy with their old school so I really hope this new one works out. Everyone says it’s one of the best school in the area.

  • Crystal & Co

    It sounds like your family has found the perfect fit. We homeschool, but certainly believe every family should have access to the education they desire. The school style you’ve shared here certain sounds very interesting to me. So glad you shared this.

  • Kathleen

    I like that you said she should go to the school that will give her the support to be the best version of her. I may look into Catholic school as well before my girls head to high school coz’ my husband went to one and thought it was a good idea. Just gotta save up for it.

  • Monica

    I remember sending ours off to high school, it’s such a big step! Being in the right school for your family is very important, so glad you found a great fit!

  • Aeryn Lynne

    It’s absolutely amazing when you can find the right school that truly fits your kids’ needs!

    I’m SO excited for your daughter Ainsley to experience a high school life that will encourage and bolster her already exceptional nature of being kind, considerate and sympathetic to others! That is all kinds of awesome to see in a school environment.

    I can only hope when we’re looking for the right high school for Kit, that we find one that fits him well and challenges him in a positive way. I will admit that the Catholic school in our area wasn’t on our list of possibilities before, but I’m willing to check them out now.

    Thanks for the advice Paula! <3

  • Sandy

    It sure seems like your girls are in good hands, Paula. Supportive teachers with good values, compassion, and understanding, can make all the difference for any child, especially one with special needs. It must feel good to know you’ve found a Catholic school that is such a good fit for your family.