My daughter is in her fifth year at Hudson College (she joined in Grade One from a French Immersion public school). In that first year, she was behind in maths and reading, and didn't believe that she would ever be able to master those skills. She was so down on herself, she almost didn't want to try. Her Grade One teacher was incredibly encouraging, and over the years the school staff have built up her confidence by celebrating her strengths (sports and social skills) and supporting her through any difficulties. It's been wonderful to see my daughter blossom into her best self, gain confidence academically and make great friends. The class is small - 15 this year - so she has a lot of attention on the academic side. One very small thing she would change: she would like to have more girls in her class!
It starts every morning when I drop my children (grades 7 &2) off at school in the morning. They run into the school (and not because of the cold!). They both love going to school. They have tremendous bonds with their friends and peers and very strong relationships with their teachers. They feel that the school is a family. Our children are made to feel like they matter, that the staff care about them and are interested in their lives. Of course they wouldn't use the word "empowered" but that is how I would describe their overall feeling. They feel confident to try new things, not afraid to fail (although it does suck!) and rewarded for achieving.