FAQ

How do you engage students in their academics?

We use technology, field study, the arts and outdoor education to deepen and expand the core subjects by combining themes and areas of learning in order to provide a rich and engaging learning environment.  Students will be able to learn skills and build knowledge in the classroom and apply them in real world scenarios.  By using this approach, we show students how their learning is valuable and their education will serve them long term.  They are also far more interested in learning if they can see a practical application to what it is they are learning.  

How many students are in each class?

Urban Academy's leadership sets classroom size according to what we believe to be the most beneficial for our students.

Junior Kindergarten has one teacher per eight students. Kindergarten to Grade One classes typically have a maximum of approximately sixteen students per class with one certified teacher and Grade Two and above typically have a maximum of eighteen students per class with one certified teacher. 

Do you have combined classes?

Yes, Urban Academy does have some combined classes. Multi-age classes are based on the most educationally sound groupings among students of the same educational and developmental range. 

How are applicants assessed?

Upon receiving your application form and fee, a meeting will be scheduled for you and your child with our Head of School.  The purpose behind this is to confirm that Urban Academy is a fit for your family and to get a sense of your child as an individual.  Our Head of School reviews a recent report card at the meeting to get a sense of your child's past academic performance.  If there are any psycho-educational or other assessments, our Head of School would need to review those as well.

After the interview, students from Grade 1 and up are brought into the school for a visit day.  This gives our teachers a chance to observe how they interact with their potential classmates and gives your child a chance to experience a typical day in our school.  Our teachers will assess math, reading and writing during the visit day.  A second visit may be required if our teachers feel that they need more information about a student than what they were able to gather during the first visit.  

Students applying for Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten come in for a Play & Learn session - a one-hour visit during which our primary teachers assess a small group of children by engaging them in a variety of activities.  Again, a second visit may be required if our teachers feel that they need more information about a child and his/her development.

How do your students do in their academics?

Urban Academy students are very strong academically, and we are quite proud of their achievements. Our graduates have a 100% acceptance rate, being accepted in every post secondary institution that they apply to.  For further details, please see our section on Academic Achievement for more information on our recent academic results. 

How is the school financed ?

Tuition fees and the BC Ministry of Education's per capita operating grant to independent schools as well as the Parent Equity program make up the balance of the school's financial support. Urban Academy also has an active Advancement Committee made up of members of the community, which is focussed on raising funds for various initiatives and to expand school programming. 

What are your fees per year?

A detailed outline of tuition and registration fees can be found in our Admissions - Tuition & Fees section of the website.

Are there any tuition assistance programs available?

Yes.  Families may apply yearly for Tuition Assistance and based on the qualifying criteria and number of applicants, may receive assistance. Applications are due in January every year, are completed online, and will be assessed by an outside company called FAST. Tuition Assistance information can be found on our Tuition Assistance section of the website, and all applicants are kept confidential.

What is a Parent Equity Program?

The Board of Directors of Urban Academy (The Urban Academy Society) has instituted a Parent Equity Program that has enabled the School to purchase Robson Manor in Queen's Park as its permanent site. It is a financial instrument by which the Securities Act provides a means for non-profit societies to raise funds. Detailed documentation about the Parent Equity Program can be found here.  In short, each family is asked to pay $20,000 per child in Kindergarten to Grade 12 (to a max of 2 children) for the time that the child is enrolled in Urban Academy.  For Junior Kindergarten, each family is asked to pay $5,000 per child (up to 2 children).  The sum (without interest) will then be returned to the family after the child is no longer enrolled as a student.  We have set up an interest only loan program at prime + 1% through our partners, Envision Financial for this program.

What organizations does Urban Academy belong to?

Urban Academy is a member of the Independent School Association of BC, the Federation of Independent Schools (FISA) and the Network of Performance Based schools.

Who runs the school?

Urban Academy is operated by a non-profit society (The Urban Academy Society) that was established by the founding members empowering an elected board of directors to run the school. The school's Board of Directors is made up of founders, appointed members and elected parents of the school who are responsible for the management of Urban Academy and its overall finances. The Board operates at arm's length from the daily affairs of the school, which are managed by Urban Academy's Head of School, Mrs. Cheryle Beaumont.

How are parents involved in Urban Academy?

Urban Academy is committed to being an environment where parents feel welcomed and included. As part of their commitment to the school Urban Academy families are required to provide a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer time per family per year. These hours can be made up from a wide variety of options during and outside of school hours. Examples of these would be setting up chairs for a special event, gardening, making classroom materials or lunch supervision one day a week. This is a based on an honor system, with families using a school app to learn about opportunities available, and to log their hours. Parents are encouraged to spend time in their child's classroom, participate in special events and share their talents with the school environment.
 
What is the basic foundation of the school?

Urban Academy is a non-denominational, co-educational independent school that provides students with challenging academic and extracurricular programs. The school provides a safe and nurturing learning environment that embraces diversity and prepares students for continuing study at university. Urban Academy and its staff help students become responsible citizens by fostering high standards of personal integrity and character. Urban Academy offers an enriched academic program that meets or exceeds BC Ministry of Education requirements.

Is there a school bus?

Urban Academy runs a centralized morning pick up bus route coming in from North West Burnaby.  The first stop will be around Willingdon/Hastings beginning at 7:30am, with stops running south of the highway along Deer Lake and at the Burnaby Village Museum before carrying on to our Uptown and Robson campuses in New Westminster.  As the bus route and interest grows, we will be able to add additional routes. Also, both of our locations are very close to Skytrain and city transit bus routes.

Do the students wear uniforms?

Yes. Parents can expect to spend about $400 depending on the amount of extras purchased for scattered laundry days etc. Our uniform breakdown and policy will give you a better idea of uniform needs.  Uniforms are at available from:

Cambridge & Co. School Uniforms
112-2455 Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver
Telephone (604) 924-9292. 
www.cambridgeuniforms.com

What about Phys Ed and outdoor education?

For our junior students, our proximity to Queen's Park opens up many options for Urban Academy students. We lease the gym at Queen's Avenue United Church and/or Olivet Baptist Church and hold our PE classes there as well as make use of the multipurpose room at the school. We have access to Queen's park fields for specific events like our annual Terry Fox Run. Queen's park is also home to two playgrounds, walking trails, a petting zoo, spray park and the Arenex where gymnastics classes are available. Our school site also provides ample outdoor space for lunchtime games and features a playground.

Our Uptown Campus for Grades 4-12 is perfectly located to amenities that support our Fit For Life PE program.  As our campus is located next to Mercer stadium track out field, our PE program not only includes the regular outdoor sporting activities well as our own multipurpose room for fencing, badminton and martial arts, but also will allow for activities such as swimming, curling, bowling and many other skill and sport based activities.

Is there homework at Urban Academy?

Yes it is important to note that homework levels for students vary on a per grade level and sometimes individually. All staff are open to discussion as to a family's preferences and experiences around homework. The top priority for families dealing with homework is the preservation of a positive relationship between parent and child and the knowledge that homework that is supplied is beneficial use of their child's out of school hours.