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Schools in Toronto

Hi all,
We are planning to move sometime next year at the start of the school session but before that we are looking into the best elementary school towns for our kids so that we can base our housing decisions on that.
We are moving from US, so we are familiar with the US school system where schools are ranked.
I found this link for best schools rank http://ontario.compareschoolrankings.org/elementary/SchoolsByRankLocationName.aspx
However, the top schools are many and was wondering if any of you folks could provide input on where to start. We will be doing our soft landing in next few months and get back to plan our move. So any inputs on the best school towns we should visit while there, where do most folks send their kids to, which neighborhoods to look for housing , any pointers on these topics would really help.

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Unlike USA, where the school districts rankings decide the price of a location; here in canada the situation is quite different all together. Pretty much all schools perform alike except for the few in poor neighborhoods that are mostly located in the inner city.

Hi Shashi,

Were you able to find any further information on this? I am in a similar situation like you - planning to move from US to Canada around July 2019 and spend the first 2 months to figure these things out while I’m there.

I found the link to the Fraser Institute ranking as well however it doesn’t do a good job when comparing public vs. private schools in Canada. I started going down the list and realized that a safe way to call out public vs. private schools is to go to each school’s link and refer to the 2nd line under the name of the school, where it calls out ‘Public’, ‘Private’, ‘Catholic’, etc…

For e.g.:

The 2nd school on the list - Avondale Alternative has the following info.:

Avondale Alternative Elementary School
Public
171 Avondale Ave
Toronto, ON M2N2V4
Phone Number: 416-395-3130

School District: Toronto DSB

Looking further, I found the following information on the Toronto District Public Schools and the ‘Avondale Alternative Elementary School’ is part of this school district. I’m sure other cities in GTA would have a similar school district board similar to what is offered in the US.

Toronto District School Board - https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Elementary-School/School-Choices

Find Your Elementary School - https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Find-your/School/Elementary

Elementary School Admission - https://www.tdsb.on.ca/EarlyYears/KindergartenMonth

School Year Calendar 2018-2019 - https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Calendar

I have not been able to find any information about the public schools in GTA where the schools are ranked against each other or nationally. Unlike what is found in the US with greatschools.org and niche.com; I am yet to find a comprehensive nation wide and city wide public school evaluation.

Folks already in Canada - any guidance on this??

Thanks in advance!

D

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Hi Desu,
So we talked to some more folks and learned that most schools are comparable as Mark mentioned except for some neighborhoods. But mostly, I think it boils down where you get a job and where you plan to reside.So when we went to do our PR and visit, we drove around different neighborhoods with the list of schools in mind just to get a feeling of what things are like over there. One thing I did learn is there is a French immersion program in some schools if you are interested in enrolling your kids. Just something to keep in mind is what I was told.
The info you have is certainly much more extensive. So I would be keen to know how things proceed for you when you get there and get to doing more research.
Do keep us posted if you find more info.
Thanks

Sure thing Shashi! Yes I do agree ultimately it will boil down to the job location. However in speaking with someone who moved from the SF Bay Area to GTA, they opted for a private school (not sure which one) and the fees they are paying for their kid is $8-9K CAD per year. That should be an option too, just in case.

I’ll keep you posted on what I end up with in the next couple of months! Good luck…

Hi Desu

Can you please share what decision you took finally. If you don’t mind sharing, as even I am moving from SF to Toronto and looking for good elementary schools for my kid.

Thanks

We moved last year, and this was one of the biggest (if not the biggest deciding factor) for the house hunt.

Over the last year and so, we have got to know the Canadian school system bit better, and can say that the variance in the quality (and school ratings) is very small in Canada, as compared to US.
In US, you have either very good schools (everyone wants to live in those communities), or very bad schools, and fewer medium rated schools.

In Canada, you would find most schools in the median range. There are very few highly rated schools (9+).
Rating is again not the best measure of the schools here. Unlike niche & greatschools, Fraser ratings is not that exhaustive and does not take into account anything other than EQAO scores.

We first decided the best schools within 20 minutes of my work location and then decided the house. We landed in the best rated school in RH, but in hindsight feel that the housing market is crazy here and houses regularly go over 20% of listing price.

So if I could go back, I would have chosen a 8-9 rated school, where housing is cheaper. I am not a big fan of private schools and prefer that money being spent on housing/extra curricular classes.

With covid, a lot has changed and I am sure the effects on housing preferences will be visible starting next year.

Regards

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We are into our 4th year of schooling kids in Toronto with the TDSB board. My oldest started the year we arrived, he was going to turn 4 that year and in Ontario, you start school the year you turn 4, they have two years of the kindergarten program. This is what I’ve learned:

The demographic of your neighborhood matters. More educated demographic equals better school exp. Kids are motivated to learn and teachers opt to teach in schools where kids are excited and parents are involved. Good neighborhood schools don’t necessarily get more money from TDSB, funds are allocated based on enrolments but it’s just the whole attitude of the community that defines the school exp.

Don’t go strictly by the Fraser rating. In fact, in more progressive communities parents don’t believe in standardized testing and the unnecessary pressure it puts on kids so they opt out which affects the school rating.

I remember looking at both Fraser rating and the demographic profile of the neighborhoods at https://www.realosophy.com/toronto/neighbourhood-map

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We are in a school with a Fraser rating of above 8 but less than 9 and have had such a fabulous exp. I feel so much depends on the teacher and so far every year we’ve had excellent teachers. I’m though nervous about schools re-opening this fall !!

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