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AA 101 – New Student Orientation

Spencer Todd

Welcome to Alexander Academy!

This guide will provide you with important information and general guidelines about your time at our high school. Please read this handbook carefully as it addresses many of the questions commonly asked by new international students. We wish you an enjoyable and successful experience at Alexander Academy.

Spencer Todd
Head Teacher at Alexander Academy


You are ready!

Congrats! You’ve made it to the end of AA 101!
We look forward to meeting you here at Alexander Academy – in the meantime, check out our Facebook and Instagram.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@alexanderacademy.ca

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Coming To Canada

Transitioning to a new school and country can be challenging. To make the move as smooth as possible, it's important to be prepared.

Take a look at the following checklists for recommendations on what to pack, steps to take before you leave and what to do upon arrival.

Before You Depart

Please keep “Packing Checklist” section and graphics. The graphic has the words “for Alexander College” we would like to have adapted to AA or removed.

What To Do Once You Arrive:

  • Let your family members know you've arrived safely
  • Make sure you have your passport and travel documents with you and easily accessible
  • Take a cab, ride-share service, or public transit to your accommodation
  • Open a Canadian bank account
  • Get a Canadian phone number. Popular providers include Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin Mobile, and Koodo
  • Get familiar with your neighborhood - look at online maps to locate nearest grocery stores, banks or bus stops
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Culture, Customs and Etiquette in Canada

You will find that Canadians are generally easy-going and do not take ourselves too seriously. We are not easily offended however, there are some cultural expectations and standards you should be aware of.

Use your common sense and keep the following tips in mind:

  • Knock before entering a home – wait to be invited inside
  • Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home
  • Say ‘excuse me’ if you bump into someone accidentally
  • Use a tissue to blow your nose
  • Do not burp in public but if you do, cover your mouth and say “excuse me”
  • Do not slurp your food or chew with your mouth open
  • Do not ask a person’s age or weight (unless you know them very well)
  • Be polite and say “please” and “thank you”
  • Walk on the right-hand side of sidewalk

We all value honesty and are usually quite direct. If you think you have offended someone, apologize quickly and try to solve the problem.

Canadians speak quietly in public places so you should lower your voice level or laughter. Talk quietly on your cell phone and do not put people on speaker phone. On public transit, be aware of the volume of music in your headphones as having it too loud will disturb fellow passengers.

Canada is a liberal and multi-cultural society. You will see many cultures and visitors here from around the world. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated. All people have the right to be treated equally without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Treat others as you would want to be treated.

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Tips to Help with Culture Shock

Deciding to study abroad in a new country and culture is an exciting adventure!

As you adjust to your life here in Canada, you may find that you have some ups and downs.

Understanding a bit about culture shock may help to prepare you and guide you through this new experience.

Stage 1: When you first arrive, you will most likely go through the “honeymoon stage,” where the excitement of being in a new place takes up much of your time and energy.

Stage 2: You have been here for a while and are now seeing the differences in your life here compared to home. You may find yourself missing family, friends and your daily life.
You are also working on your English skills so know that you may feel tired.

Stage 3: It is normal to feel frustrated at this point and you may feel angry about this new life, your school or your host families. These feelings are normal and will not last.

Stage 4: You will start to feel better and have a sense of humor about life. You will begin to appreciate where you are and the new adventure you are on.

Stage 5: At this stage, you will feel at home and are able to meet the everyday challenges that come your way. You may be thinking about your return trip home and it can be a time of mixed feelings of excitement and a bit of anxiety.

Stage 6: When you finally do return home, you may feel reverse culture shock and it will take time for you to settle back into your family and lifestyle.

Stay 7: The final stage is when you have readjusted to being back home. You will immerse yourself back into your culture and life with the experiences and knowledge you have from your time abroad.

Everyone experiences culture shock in different ways and not all of us will go through all stages or in the order that are listed here. Your time abroad is rewarding and well worth the challenges you will face and overcome. Know that our team at Alexander Academy can help you through and we are here to support you at any stage.

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Safety Tips

As with any big city, safety tips come with the new experience.

As with any big city, safety tips come with the new experience.

  • Always let someone know where you are going ie: friend / homestay mom
  • Carry ID and limited money
  • Take photos of your passport / study permit / credit cards and send to yourself in email so that you always have a copy
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Stay away from dark alleys / badly lit streets at night
  • Cross streets only at lights / crosswalks
  • Stand away from the curbside on streets and at corners
  • Never accept rides from strangers
  • 911 calls are free from any phone (pay-phone / cell etc.) and is only to be used in emergency situations
  • When purchasing items with your debit / credit card, always ensure the card is returned to you
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Getting To Alexander Academy

Alexander Academy’s address: #200 688 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1P1

Our phone number: (604) 687-8832

If you are able to, please let us know in advance if you are coming to the school prior to Orientation Day.

We are located inside a beautiful building with multiple floors. In Canada, addresses for specific businesses inside a building start with the # symbol. The first digit is the floor level. For example, #2—means we are located on the second floor.

We have two street entrances – on your first day, you may use either one. Our general entrance is the elevators located through two large glass doors. The second is a smaller glass door with our school logo. It is the student entrance and is a meter away from the bigger entrance.

After your first day at school, you will be asked to only use the student entrance (small glass door) so the elevators can be used by others in the building.

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What Is Orientation Day?

Orientation Day is your introductory day to Alexander Academy!

Students who begin their studies with us in September or January will be asked to attend Orientation Day prior to the start of classes.

You will meet your new school, teachers and classmates. More detailed information will be sent via email in August, but here is what to expect:

  • School tour
    • Teachers will take you on a tour of the school, teach you how to open your lockers, and provide information on student life.
  • Document Collection
    • In this section, you will be asked to present important documents that the school needs from you. It’s a great idea to send all of these documents to us ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about them on Orientation Day! The documents we will ask from you are:
      • Your most recent report card from your previous school
      • Student visa / study permit (if applicable)
      • Custodianship Declaration Form (if applicable)
        • Information is available on this here
      • Student information form (mandatory)
      • Medical information form (mandatory)
      • Medical Insurance
      • Please read our requirements here
  • Language Testing
    • Language testing will be conducted to ensure that you are placed in the correct classes. The testing is comprised of a speaking portion (conversational), and a written portion.

We typically have a school-wide Activity Day later on in the week so you become familiar with all the teachers and classmates that are ready to have a fantastic year with you! 

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Becoming An Alexandrian

As a student of Alexander Academy, you are proudly referred to as an Alexandrians!

Our student body represents our school’s values and culture, so we ask that students and parents become familiar with the following important information:

School Policies

Part of being a conscientious student includes understanding what kinds of behaviour are expected of you when you attend Alexander Academy. For a quick guideline about student expectations, check out this page.

Some important policies to be familiar with can be found easily on this page under the “School Policies” section near the bottom.

It is also the responsibility of students and parents to refer to the Parent and Student Handbook available on the “Publications” section of our Forms and Publications page.


Medical Information

All students are required to have proof of medical insurance for the duration of their studies at Alexander Academy. View our medical insurance page for more information.


Health and Wellness Resources

There are several health and wellness resources available for you at Alexander Academy. Whatever your concern may be, there is help out there. Some of these resources include:

  • Keep.meSAFE Student Support Services app
    The keep.meSAFE Program provides students with access free 24-hour mental health support through their phone via the My SSP app. Support is available in over 30 languages, and students are able to call or chat with a counsellor directly from their phone for any school, health, or general life concern at absolutely no cost. For more information, see our Keep.meSafe page.
  • Kids Help Phone
    Students in Canada who need to talk to a counsellor outside of Kerry Anne’s office hours can text or call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868, which is available 24/7 and is anonymous and confidential.
  • Three Bridge Youth Clinic
    1292 Hornby Street
    T: 604-736-9844

Check out our Health and Wellness Resources page for more information.


Student Accounts

All students will be given access to various platforms that are used by Alexander Academy. These include:

  • MyEducation B.C.
    • This is an online system that holds your academic information (such as report cards) and attendance history. Your MyEd account will always be linked to your personal email, not your school email.
  • Microsoft 365
    • All students will receive access to the online-version of Microsoft 365 which includes a personal Alexander Acdemy email just for you! It will also grant you access to the online versions of Microsoft Outlook, Word, Powerpoint and more.
  • Canvas
    • Canvas is a communication platform used by teachers and students. Some teachers may also share assignments and notes through Canvas, and ask that you submit your homework through this platform.
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School Uniform

All students are required to wear the Alexander Academy school uniform. When wearing it, you are representing our values and culture.

Ensuring that it is kept clean and tidy shows respect towards the school, your classmates, and most of all, yourself!

Please read the full uniform requirements (including P.E. wear) on this page.

Our uniform provider is Cambridge Uniforms, located in North Vancouver. You can book a fitting online at the link below.

https://www.cambridgeuniforms.com/pages/book-a-fitting

Address:
Welch St. Location
#135 – 1305 Welch Street
North Vancouver BC Canada V7P 1B3 T: 604 924 9069
Toll Free: 1 800 924 9069

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Attendance

Making sure you attend your classes everyday is critical for a successful school year. At Alexander Academy, attendance is compulsory. In addition, students must attend class for 90 percent of the time it is offered to receive credit for that class.

For more information on this policy and others, check out the “School Policies” section of this page (near the bottom).

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Who Do I Ask About…?

Sometimes you need help but are not sure who to ask. At school, there is always someone you can go to.

The Front Desk (Ms. Noemi): General questions, attendance, feeling unwell, lost and found items, logging into your student account and more.

The School Counsellor (Ms. Guan): Your classes, report cards, university requirements, volunteering opportunities and more. Also check in with the counsellor if you are dealing with any emotional or personal problems.

The Admissions Department (Ms. Lewis): Admissions inquiries and homestay information.

The Finance Department (Ms. Ning): Tuition questions, payment plans, and anything money related.

General Inquiries: Email info@alexanderacademy.ca

Remember that all staff at Alexander Academy are here to support you in whatever way possible. Get to know us by Get to know more about us at www.alexanderacademy.ca/about-us/staff-and-faculty

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Life At Alexander Academy

As an Alexandrian, there are lots of opportunities to cultivate your skills and make friends. Each year, students decide on which clubs will be available for the school year during our annual Clubs Fair Day. You are required to join at least one club, and there’s a lot to choose from! View this page for details on our extracurricular activities.

Check out our monthly newsletters for a peek into life at Alexander Academy!

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House Teams

The house system at Alexander Academy is a vibrant and integral aspect of our school’s culture. We have has four houses, named after admirable Canadians:

  • Terry Fox
  • David Suzuki
  • Emily Carr
  • Margaret Atwood

Every student is placed into a house, and each house has student leaders.

The houses provide an opportunity to take part in positive competitions throughout the school year to gather house points. House points are awarded based on participation at these events and also recognise students whose behaviours benefit others, such as helping on school occasions, or simply being supportive toward a classmate or friend. Each term the winning house receives the house shield and other prizes.

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