I attended the Mirman Upper School for four years, and graduated a few years ago. My experience at the school is unparalleled compared to my (many) other school experiences. To be honest, I didn't even realize how good of an education I got at Mirman until after I left. At no other middle school can you find eleven and twelve year olds not only reading Romeo and Juliet, but writing in-depth literary analysis essays on it. The English progarm is definitely a standout. Science is really the weakest program - the material is simply not at a high enough level. Now, the only complaint I have about Mirman, and one that I know many of my peers who attended Mirman have, is that it does not instill the kind of work ethic that one needs in order to succeed at the top private schools that most attend after Mirman.
As a single parent (father), my son's experience while attending The Mirman School was outstanding. He entered as an upper school student. Quickly adjusted and performed at the gifted pace with my involvement. This was a perfect fit for him. The Mirman School staff provided the proper instruction and balance. Upon graduating (2005). He was accepted to college. He selected a top college pre boarding high school. He was so prepared by The Mirman School for his high school years, he graudated (2009) as one of the top students in his class. Accepted by several of the top universities in the nation. Attending baby/parenting classes and working with a child psychologist in his Mirman's years. Focusing on his developement and abilities provided me insight into my expectations of him and his needs. I understood my son 'growing up' was a process. The Mirman School offered that special place... for him.
As the only private school for profoundly gifted children in LA, parental expectations should be high. While the Upper School delivers, the Lower School does not. Hiring practices favor low-cost over experience; the administration is more concerned over finances than quality. The heart of the school is largely missing, with a lack of caring for the individual student missing by the administration. It is still better than an average school, but it should be, and was, so much more. It has changed substantially over the past 3-6 years and is a far cry from what it used to be.
I have watched my children absolutely blossom during their years at Mirman. They have both developed into creative, critical thinkers who feel totally supported by their teachers and fellow students. Moreover, I have been happily surprised by how open and warm the administration and the other parents are. I have also appreciated how all of the disciplines: art, science, music, math, p.e. etc. are treated with importance and care. Having spoken with many friends at other area schools, both public and private, I don't think I could have found a better school for my children. Not just for their intellectual needs, but, most importantly, for their emotional needs.
The Upper School is superb and the Lower School is horrible. The best option for attending this school is to transfer in room 5 or Upper School 1 or 2. In the Upper School, the teachers for the most part are much higher quality and there is much more flexibility in the curriculum. The education in the lower school is frankly fairly worthless as evidenced by the fact that students who transfer into the upper school from 'non-gifted' programs do as well as (if not better than) Mirman students who have been at the school for many years (and should have had an advantage having been exposed to this 'highly gifted' learning environment).
My child has done very well at the school and has developed many friends at the school, but I am sure that he would succeeded admirably at almost any school. Nonetheless, I am very disappointed by the school. The administration, while superb at fundraising and catering to those who have made large donations, seems to have a lack of understanding of 'gifted' education. The curriculum is uninspiring. Many parents, while superficially pleasant, are ultra-competitive and cut-throat. Most of the teachers in the lower school, while enthusiastic, are medicore. In sum, I regret sending my child to the school.
I think that there are many problems with the school, especially for boys. The discipline is overly severe and there are too few physicial outlets provided. For many boys, this type of learning environment is stultifying. Compared to the many other top tier independent school in Los Angeles, I would be hesitant to recommend it. However, if your child-for lack of a better work- has 'geek' like tendencies and would not fit into other schools or your alternatives are a low performing public school, then it might be the perfect place.
I am a parent of a child who has been at Mirman for 2 years. I have to say that some of the negative comments posted below are mystifying. My experiences are exactly the opposite: the students love the school, the teachers are phenomenally experienced and caring, the equipment and facilities are first class. But importantly, the teachers are very up to speed and caring about the needs of highly gifted kids. It is heaven for kids who love to learn, and parents who want kids to become life-long learners. Many parents are physicians, engineers, lawyers, and other very gifted persons as well. Many alumni are True, this is not a school for the average child, or the parent who wants to push their child, but if your child wants to be challenged and yearns to be taught (not warehoused or volunteered to tutor the other kids), this is the place.
I believe that one of the strengths of Mirman, in addition to it's strong academic program, nurturing environment and beautiful facilities, is its emphasis on the development of the children's characters. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have unfortunately seen that many of my contemporaries who attended private schools that did not emphasize good behavior grew up feeling entitled and unable to accept responsibility for their own choices. It is important to me that my son develops a strong sense of himself and acts with respect and compassion for the people in his community. I truly appreciate that Mirman emphasizes the development of these aspects of his personality along with his academic development.
We have two children here and have been happy with the overall level of education, nuturing and non-competitive environment and shared focus on good citizenship. My children continue to thrive in their areas of strength but more importantly, have really enjoyed areas that are beyond their comfort zones. The school does emphasize good behavior because many of the activities are more open and flexible, particularly at the upper school level.
Solid academic program but takes kids who love learning and school and changes them for the worse. The teachers seem to be more concerned with rigid rules and work habits than love of learning and creativity or expression of ideas. These are kids who are exceptionally bright and curious and inquisitive and accomplished, but who end up feeling unworthy and discouraged. It is quite a feat to take the best of the best and make them feel bad about themselves. Kids become afraid of getting poor grades. of the disappointing and disparaging gazes of teachers who tell them their work habits don't measure up, but whose rules date back to the days of the ruler across the knuckles, and these bright exciting young students become disheartened instead of waking up saying they can't wait to get to school. hey end up feeling bad about themselves and are receiving the message that they aren't good students (though their academic work is usually well above average) because of the harshness of the teachers' attitudes and regulations of form over substance which pervades every classroom. Most unfortunate for a school that could be of the highest caliber but truly breaks the spirits of its gifted students.
I feel deeply sorry for the parent who claims that their children have been 'truly miserable' for seven years and I cannot understand why they would keep their children in an environment that does not suit them--it causes me to seriously question their credibility and/or judgment. We feel very fortunate that our child is at Mirman. The teachers are warm and wonderful, the other families are caring and engaged in the life of the school and the quality of the facilities, the staff and the education have been unsurpassed in my experience. I am grateful that my child wakes up excited to go to school each day and I value the strength of character and independence that she has gained from her time at Mirman.
I have two children at the Mirman school and have been at the school for 7 years. If I had to do over again, I definitely would not send my children there. The lower school is a truly miserable experience. The school administration and teachers are clueless about developmental issues. The miserable experience starts in room 1 (Kindergarten for most kids) in which the parents are completely separated from the kids from day one. This rigid style of education is also exemplified by a harsh style of discipline for relatively minor infractions. It is commonly known that authoritarian styles of discipline do not lead to respect of authority and internalization of good behavior. Unfortunately, the school seems not to understand the basics of what a good education entails. The lower school has also lost most of its good teachers and now the quality of teaching is quite average.
compared to the ratings listed, I'm surprised the principal received such a low rating. I think he does an excellent job, and give him 4 out of 5 stars. I agree with the rating on the next 3 categories. Safety and discipline I give 5 stars.
If your kids are bored in their current environment you should check into Mirman. It has been a lifesaver for kids who need a faster pace. The teachers are wonderful and they understand gifted children. The kids are loving the Promethean Boards that have been installed throughout the school and starting next year every student in Room 3 through the Upper School will have their own laptop. One of the best parts of Mirman is that it teaches kids to be responsible for their education. My kids love it and can't wait to return each September. As others have said not only are the homeroom teachers great but the Music, Art, and Drama specialists are the best that I have ever seen. If you are curious about the school come to the Holiday program and you will see for yourself how fantastic it is.
Mirman provides one of the few opportunities for children to learn at a very high level because of their peer group. Simply put, most of the kids are brilliant. One after-school teacher kept pulling me aside telling me how she teaches at a lot of other schools including Buckley and Wilshire Blvd. Temple and has never experienced kids that learn at such a fast, advanced pace. The learning is ultra-creative and each teacher makes the kids learn the basics but in incredibly creative ways. And, there is no stopping how far a kid can go. The kids love it and are well-adjusted and smart as hell. The rumor lately, and it may be true, is that the school is tending to let in rich kids. They may not be required to re-test like everyone or may not even make the cut if their folks bought a new wing.
My daughter loves Mirman and her teachers, and we've had an excellent experience. My daughter has been attending Mirman for the past two years and we have a second daughter who will be starting in the fall. The administration has been very responsive to any questions/suggestions we had, the teachers are committed, energetic and positive, and the other students have been smart, polite and sweet overall. My daughter was a shy, quiet 5.5 year old and is now a confident, curious, and well-spoken 7 year old with a love of reading and learning. The arts program at Mirman is incredible - we are constantly amazed by the high quality of the music and musical theater program and the visual arts program as well. The older Mirman kids are poised and well spoken and I'd be proud if my kids followed in their footsteps.
As an alumnus of the school, I find it interesting to note that in the reviews students and alumni have almost exclusively had positive experiences with the school while it is the parents who have mixed reviews. Moreover, many of the parents complaints have to do with their own relationships with the administration or with other parents. While the school would meet everyone's needs in an ideal world, I will say that as an alumnus, I found that I was inspired and positively challenged as I was at no other school, including graduate school, and that my fellow alumni are happy, fulfilled, thoughtful and creative people who have also achieved great success from traditional perspectives. From my admittedly biased view, when weighing the concerns of the parents compared to the experiences of the children, the children's experience should be paramount over the parents' egos.
I would definitely not recommend this school. Yes, many kids have done well at this school but that does not make it a good school. The fact is that most of the kids at the school probably would have done well at any school. The school is a pressure cooker and the parents are for the most part ultra-competitive. The type of atmosphere does not foster children who love learning and who are internally motivated. The educational curriculum is uninspiring and concentrates upon a lot of memorization. In sum, I think there are many better schools out there.
I attended Mirman for four years, and it was perfect for me Was it competitive? Absolutely. Was it difficult? Sure was. All the same, it was invigorating, inspiring, and an all around amazing experience. I developed strong relationships with my teachers and my peers. I became not only a better student, but a well-rounded individual. After Mirman, high school was a breeze. Students from my year at Mirman went on to be valedictorians of Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood and University High School. The math, theater and art departments were brilliant. I would say the weakest link was the science department, but only in comparison to the strengths of the other departments. RE: the 'high turnover rate,' many students DO leave the school after 6th grade. However, they do not do so because they hate the school, but to get into Brentwood and HW, where they accept the most students as incoming 7th graders.
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