Forest Hill Public School opened its doors to students for the first time on February 14, 1958. Soon afterwards an addition was constructed to accommodate an increasing population. Recently the school has had some major renovations . A new 6 classroom kindergarten wing has been added to the school, a new double gym has replaced a single smaller gym, a new library has been created and the main office has been expanded and totally redesigned.
The school name was selected to reflect the community in which it is located. Over time, the boundaries of Forest Hill Public School have expanded and now include to the area south of Greenbrook Drive between Fischer-Hallman Road and Westmount Road, a portion of the Chandler-Mowat community on the west of Westmount Road and then north all the way up to Queen’s Blvd.
Our belief as a school is that children are central to all the instruction, activities and decisions that we make. We believe that all children can learn and we strive to provide programs and opportunities that will maximize their academic, social and emotional development. We are often referred to as the school with heart.
Forest Hill is highly committed to the environment. A few years ago, Forest Hill participated in the Schools in Bloom program, which is a component of the Communities in Bloom organization. The school was evaluated on five dimensions of environmental awareness, commitment and efficacy. Judges visited Forest Hill, explored the schoolyard, toured the building, visited classrooms, and interviewed students, staff and community members. Based on their observations Forest Hill for two years in a row attained the highest scores for schools in the over 400 students category and was awarded the trophy for best school in Ontario. Forest Hill in its first year as an ECO School was awarded with a Silver Medal and we have been a Gold ECO School since 2009!
Our school has approximately 550 students enrolled. Each year we welcome approximately 80 new junior kindergarten students, as well as many other students who join our school community throughout the year. Each year, Forest Hill P.S. welcomes students who are new to Canada and represent approximately 26 different countries and 28 different languages from all over the world. The multi-cultural nature of our school enriches all of our experiences.
When our students complete grade 6 they transfer to two different schools for grade 7 and 8 based on pre-determined school boundaries. Our staff works closely with Laurentian Public School, to the south of us, and Queensmount Public School, to the north of us, to ensure a smooth transition.
Our staff team includes over 70 people in a variety of roles. Teachers, early childhood educators, administrators, paraprofessionals, secretaries and custodians work together to provide an outstanding school experience for our students. Our staff includes many people with special skills and qualifications including music, physical education, early childhood education, special education, English as a Second Language (ESL), French as a Second Language (FSL), technology, behaviour management and literacy.
Our entire staff is committed to ongoing professional learning, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and safe school initiatives. Our teaching staff offers a unique blend of experience, interests and talents. Our team approach draws upon the skills and knowledge of all.
Parents and Community
We believe that we achieve our greatest success when we operate as a team on behalf of our students. We provide many opportunities for parents to connect with our school. Our school and class websites, daily planners, regular newsletters, open houses, emails and telephone calls are some of the many ways that we maintain contact with parents on an ongoing basis. We have access to translation services to enable families who are not fluent in English to participate in teacher meetings and ongoing communication.
Our School Council is a very active and involved organization. All parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend their monthly meetings and participate in their activities. The School Council is invited to offer guidance to the school administrators on important issues affecting our school. Throughout the year, they sponsor community events, parent education programs and engage in fundraising activities to enhance the school program for their children. They have been particularly supportive of our school yard development, our numeracy program and our safe and secure schools initiative. A community representative participates regularly in our School Council meetings and we have developed several community partnerships to support our school.
Special Education Programs
Our Special Education Team includes our special education teachers, our ESL teacher, our Early Literacy Intervention teacher, our Child and Youth Worker and our Principal and Vice-Principal. This team meets on a regular basis to review the social, emotional and academic needs of our students. Our highly skilled special education teachers work closely with our classroom teachers. Collectively we identify students who would benefit from specific programming developed by one or more of the professionals on this team . We work closely with classroom teachers to ensure consistency between the support program and the classroom program. Through the team, identified students have access to specialized instruction, behaviour management programs, social development groups, and individual mentoring to address their needs. Our Special Education Team also liaises with community programs and other professionals that support children.
Our staff is committed to providing the very best instruction in literacy and numeracy. Our classroom teachers devote uninterrupted blocks of time each day to support a Balanced Literacy Program and a Problem-Solving Approach to Numeracy both supported by our board of education through ongoing in-services for our staff. We continue to have a strong music program with a music specialist involved in the direct instruction of each of our classes, as well as our choirs. The development of our extensive computer lab reflects our commitment to the use of technology as a part of our ongoing program. In addition to the lab, our classrooms have access to a computer with internet, document cameras and data projectors and mobile technology though the use of iPads and Chromebooks.
English as a Second Language Program
At Forest Hill P.S. we are fortunate to have 3 English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in our school. These teachers focus on teaching English literacy skills to non-English speaking students and/or students needing to acclimatize to the Canadian school system. The ESL teacher works collaboratively with the classroom teacher to assist students and their families to adjust to the many changes in a Canadian school system. Together, they utilize a variety of delivery models and strategies that focus on developing oral, reading and writing skills. Through the Settlement and Education Partnership with Waterloo Region (SEPWR) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, our Board continues to build bridges to link newcomer families with schools and the community. A valued partnership in our school is with our settlement worker (employed by KW-YMCA) who connects our new immigrant families to the Forest Hill P.S. community when they register in school.
Safe Schools Initiatives
At Forest Hill Public School we believe in Respect and Responsibility. We have included the entire school community in renewing our school mascot, and developing a list of attributes we care about. Supportive messages are consistently promoted to ensure a positive and productive learning environment for all. Our Code of Conduct and Anti-Bullying initiatives have a focus on improved student learning and developing a positive school climate. Strengthening the social and emotional well being of young children is the program’s primary goal. We strive to use consistent language and expectations in order to promote responsible decision-making. We also partner with parents and support staff to set clear, achievable expectations and celebrate student success. School safety is a priority at Forest Hill.
Our school organization varies from year to year based on the student enrollment in the school. For several years our school has had six sections of kindergarten and eighteen classes for grades 1 through 6. Beginning in grade 1 and continuing through grade 6, our students receive 150 minutes of French instruction each week.
Facilities and Resources
Forest Hill Public School is a two-storey facility with a double gymnasium, a library, a computer lab, and a main office. Our school has a large outdoor play area that includes a paved area with painted games, a creative playground, a naturalized play area, several basketball nets, and a large grassed area adjacent to a city park. Recent playground greening initiatives have included planting flowers, trees and placing benches on the grounds. We share baseball diamonds and soccer fields with the city park.
If you would like further information about Forest Hill Public School please call the main office at 519-578-5480.