I was so thrilled to find this school and had such high hopes for an exceptional education for my daughter here. I thought her out of the box thinking would be honored, cultivated and channeled here. Sadly, "intelligence" is defined at Mirman, for the most post, in the traditional fashion - "good at math," or "good at language arts" or "artistic/musical." We were surrounded by families who value acceleration for it's own sake, above all else, mainly in math. Some parents had had their children tutored in math since the age of 3. Others hired math tutors to compete with these "genius" children in the ridiculous number of math competitions ALL the students are required to participate in! There are a few other ways to shine at Mirman which also involve, yes, more competitions! "Obedient, rule-following, studious" types also do well here. The staff are lovely as people and mean well. If you can handle the bizarre "worship of math acceleration" sub-culture going on there and just want your kid to study traditional subjects with other bright kids, then go for it! If you are looking for innovative education to spark his/her drive and passion - look elsewhere,
Parents who have experience with other Los Angeles private schools, like myself, are extremely pleased with not only the quality of instruction at Mirman, but also the warmth and energy of the teachers and staff. Of course, not all of the teachers are equally passionate, but the few that were coasting by have been getting appropriate feedback from the very wonderful new headmaster and are either making changes or moving on. This is a time of transition for our 51 year old school. Bottom line, if you child is truly gifted, there is no other school for them in Los Angeles. Believe me, we tried fitting our gifted child into an elite traditional school. Gifted kids learn faster, dig deeper, intuit more, and can be frankly exhausting. Regular classrooms geared towards normal bright kids do not accommodate them well (that means you JTD, Brentwood, Villiage, Carlthorp.) I wonder if the parents who complain in these reviews have any personal experience with other Los Angeles schools. We are pleased with our children's peer relationships, the lack of snobbery and entitlement, the profound intelligence of the children, and we see common sense in the direction the school is taking.
They have some great teachers, and students. However, they could do better. Administrators are leaving weekly and there is no real explanation why. Also, the kids don't do much more than learn. It would be nice if kids had dance or the younger kids had theater. The emphasis seems to be on raising more money and enrolling more celebrity/rich children. I don't know where the board is heading, with all these obvious firings and celebrity kids, but I hope that the curriculum doesn't suffer. My child has been there three years, but I don't see her learning much more than she would in public school. A lot of the experience has been parents patting themselves on the back for getting into the school, but academics haven't met their expectations. Every one wants to sit and talk about how gifted their child is, but no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room because they've already spent so much money sending their kids to Mirman.
I am a new parent at Mirman and feel so blessed that my children are attending this school. We were at public and private school before finding a school that actually would cater to the needs of our children. Their interests in learning is fostered and the curriculum is without boundaries. Integrative learning and group projects help teach cooperation and teamwork. Computers are utilized for learning. My children find the staff wanting to teach; My children find the students wanting to learn. This creates an environment which fosters learning for the joy and excitement of learning; not for a state test. The children at Mirman play sports and some at very high levels. Although they are highly gifted and excel in learning they are still kids that play, socialize and enjoy just being kids.
Ask the current administration, none of which has any experience in gifted education, why teachers have left in droves, and celebrity children are allowed to hit, bite and torment classmates and teachers with no consequences, Ask the new headmaster about his lack of any expertise in gifted education. Indeed the minute he arrived we lost the head of the lower school who had been here for 27 years. Word has it that she left because the new headmaster refused to hold accountable the aforementioned celebrity child. Ask the current administration why some applicants do not have to take the Stanford IQ test that every other applicant had to take. Ask the administration why the teacher turnover rate is so and why they pretend room one is first grade, room two is second grade etc. and yet test those children with standardized tests a full grade lower? As the administration why they have canceled the enrichment trips and give virtually no homework? Mirman is not a school for highly gifted children. It is no different than other private schools looking to fill coffers for administration salary increases. Ten years ago the tuition was under $12k a year and now it is $30k.
The Mirman School has been amazing for our child: he is constantly engaged, he is learning to think creatively, and he is in a community of learners who highly value curiosity and innovation. The teachers, many of whom have been at Mirman for decades, are committed and passionate and the resources that the children have available to them are unparalleled. My sole criticism is that that admissions director, who was somewhat kept in check by the former administration, has allowed her apparent interest in celebrity and money to compromise her judgment. I am hopeful that the new head of school will take careful oversight of the admissions process and return to the values of the Mirmans who put the interests of the children as a whole above all other concerns.
I am now a freshman in high school and SO thankful I went to The Mirman School. All of the teachers are so passionate about the children and what they teach and really encourage the kids to find their own voices and develop a love of learning. The most important thing I gained from going to Mirman, is the love to learn. Even 3 years after leaving, I am still so fascinated by the world around me and I could have only gotten that from Mirman. After matriculating to middle school, there was a noticeable difference between me and my classmates. I absorbed information quicker, had better organization skills, and my cognitive skills were much more advanced. Mirman caters to every single child and there is a very strong sense of community. Not only does Mirman teach the mind, but they enrich the soul and hearts of their students (cheezy but true). The arts and language programs are stellar. For a while, the administration system was a bit shaky, but is on the right track now. Mirman shelters the children from unwanted influences, but does not coddle or suppress their ability to learn about the world around them. I would highly recommend The Mirman School for your highly gifted child.
I am a student of Mirman. IT IS AWESOME!!! The only reason that I could see you don't like it is if you want teacher to do everything for you. If you want that go to campbell hall and see where that gets you ^.^ Anyway, if your child doesn't feel challenged, thats because they aren't moving him up, and that is because your child's grades aren't proving he or she is ready. I hope you come to Mirman. The athletics are a bit rusty, however. I enjoy Mirman because their is such a mix in subjects.If you child has an IQ of over about 150. NOT EINSTIEN, HE IS THE HIGHEST OF ALL TIME, 190. That part is to the meanie who only takes his or her sons advice about Mirman. the one one star giver.
My kids each attended Mirman and there has never been a question that it was well worth the time and money sending them there. They will tell you that they had the best teachers and best academic experience of their entire schooling (and that's including their later Ivy League experiences). As a parent, what meant the most to me was how safe, comfortable and understood they felt. This was a place where they felt like they belonged and where they were able to grow and discover themselves without fear of being labeled odd or difficult. If you have a highly gifted child, you should move heaven and earth to get them into this school. They will never forget it.
I'll make this quick. It comes down to two things. One, the kids at Mirman are smart and are treated as such. Two, the staff at Mirman are simply their to guide, not really teach. This formula works great if you have a kid that really wants to learn in a certain area, but if your kid doesn't want to focus as much in another area. You will see a problem.
We considered other schools within the public and private sector and with extensive research, long conversations with all of my son's past educators and with professionals who deal with kids, Mirman was the best choice for our child. In starting our second year at Mirman, I can now fully appreciate why I was given this advice by so many others. The school teaches you and your child how to really use and apply the brains they are born with so that they grow into full, happy adults who are very comfortable in their own skin. I see my son challenged academically and see him (and us) supported and guided in all aspects of his emotional growth too. Mirman embraces the "who" of your child in addition to "what" your child was born with. We are so happy with the diversity, warmth and guidance from the school and all parents as a whole. Darned right you see lost of reviews for such a small school. Those of us who ended up here has lots to be thankful for and are not shy to tell everyone else about it.
Please note that the reason there are so many reviews of Mirman on this website is that it represents the passionate and polarized feelings regarding a school that is for a very select group of children. The expectations of parents for special treatment of their "genius" children (and there are many children who score above Einstein's IQ at Mirman - that is not a calling card) are way out of proportion to what any group learning environment can provide. If you want a collegiate environment, figure that out. If you want 4 languages, hire a tutor. Send Jr. to college at age 6 or 9. Many people with exceptionally and profoundly gifted children do. However, if you track those same children at age 25, not many are saving the word from cancer or developing new biotechnology. And certainly if their role models are trashing a school where people are doing their best to help gifted children in the best way they know how, that child is not likely to offer much to the world other than IQ alone. Einstein was, by all reports, a kind man.
Having a child with an IQ higher than Einstein, going to Mirman seemed our only choice. We feel completely BETRAYED! Our child was bored, unchallenged, not taught Basic Math or how to write an Essay by Upper School 2. Kids could come out of Lower School fluent in another language, instead they can type fast. The Laptop Program has negatively affected handwriting, eye-hand development and Art skills. Bullying issues are ignored and parents learn quickly not to speak up. Feedback is unwanted by the heartless, inept few in charge, who have created an absurd curriculum with teachers who either yell, are inexperienced or should retire. Our child hates Math now! Unforgivable! When a classmate in LS can just make up a bunch of numbers after 3.14 and pretend to be a Pi expert by fooling his 2 teachers who deem him a Math Mover/Top Student, you realize the school is a Facade. They tout outside tutoring from Johns Hopkins/CTY as a School Achievement. All successful kids there have to tutor outside or they're rejected from the top schools (new trend from this leadership) or repeat a grade because the curriculum isn't adequate. When a school can thwart Genius- that's FAILURE!
We wouldn't consider any other school, and are so thankful that our child was selected to attend this academically rigorous school. Mirman provides the very best education for highly gifted students, hands down. One of the first things that we noticed was the passion and love for learning that the students have, at all grade levels. The brilliance, individuality, talent and creativity of the students is respected and cherished by the entire Mirman community. Parents that have kids at other private schools as well as one at Mirman mention how the other schools were not challenging enough, and how refreshing it is to have a school like Mirman, with a philosophy that meets the needs of their exceptionally smart kids. I would suggest even MORE individualized curriculum in the classrooms. Once that happens, we will be even more pleased.
This school has been fantastic for my kids for years (both Upper and Lower Schools). They have wonderful friends who love learning and appreciate each other's talents and interests. The students never have to "dumb themselves down." Many assignments are project-based allowing the students to delve deeply into the subjects in which they are interested. There are few worksheets and little to no repetition. Most teachers are very good (some are excellent), but there are a few that need to be let go and replaced with teachers who are intelligent, energetic, confident, and want to teach to the level that these students are capable. Teachers should also provide more differentiation as some students are exceptionally smart and need greater challenge. The one other problem has been the closed door policy of the administration, but that may change as the headmaster will be leaving soon. Parents and students who started at other private and public schools usually appreciate Mirman School the most, as they know that other schools do not meet their needs.
Mirman School is finally going to be a "great" school. It has always had amazing students and some wonderful teachers, but the headmaster has been an impediment to the school being all that it could and should be. the headmaster fortunately will be leaving at the end of next school year and the worst teacher will no longer be in the classroom this coming year. The headmaster is notorious for never getting rid of the few very poor teachers, constantly being off campus to attend conference to see and be seen, rather than focusing on school leadership, gifted education, and knowing the teachers, students and families, and for instilling fear in anyone with a suggestion or concern. A new headmaster will have the opportunity to enhance the curriculum, hire the best teachers, encourage more individualization of the curriculum, and be a warm and friendly presence on campus motivating teachers, administrators, and parents. With those changes, Mirman School will be great. Exciting!
Love the concept, hate the execution! The main emphasis at this school is discipline and class control! The administration is cold and only interested in protecting the teachers (some of whom should have retired years ago.) The teachers expect perfection and will slowly zap your child's spark for learning. There are a few special teachers in the mix but having already sent a gifted child through LAUSD, I have to say, the LAUSD teachers were more caring and much more generous with their time, especially with a kid who wants to learn. Don't be fooled by the smoke and mirrors!
We entered at US1, as a middle school. It's not for everyone...but it's extraordinary for the right student. Highly competent, passionate teachers & creative programming challenge & inspire. The Art, Music, and Theater programs are top notch & the academics are simply unparalleled. If your child is bright, curious and self-motivated, they will soar, & will be supported in matriculation options ranging from LA's best private high schools to the finest east coast boarding schools, if that's your cup of tea. Schools nationwide are familiar with what it means to be a successful Mirman student, & pursue grads for admission accordingly. The school is a rare environment in LA; there is no private-school pretentiousness. Very high parent involvement by caring, intelligent parents (nannies aren't working the bake sales--the busy executives, entertainment professionals, doctors, lawyers, & scientists who send their kids here are). The kids who go to Mirman are there because they've learned & earned their way in & want to be learn, not because their parents are rich. The school also fosters a supportive, non-competitive community where kids are driven to best themselves, not others.
The "clustering" is great & very important & Lower School families have big enthusiasm & want to believe this is the perfect place, but here are some sobering facts from Upper School: Kids with Legacy did not get into the top tier schools last year, others with Legacy were Wait listed; others had to go to Public School bc they did not get into ANY schools. The ones who did not get in & were under US4, now realize that they have to tutor -like the others! They really thought there wasn't a math problem - their kid always makes A's & is a Math Mover. I know several success stories where the school never asked where the kids were going.so just how accurate is that Matriculation List? When you've spent about a quarter of a million dollars there and the school doesn't know your kid's name, your opinion may change. You assume the teachers have experience and credentials...Why won't they post it on their website like other schools? Some are not teachers at all! The basics are not taught, as all work is focused on Open House projects. So lots of tangent projects. You have to go to CTY, tutoring or get out to get the fundamentals (except for grammar). Good luck!
My son is in his second year in the lower school and we couldn't be happier. He was extremely advanced in reading and science, less so in math. They are patiently helping him where he needs work. This school has much less of a Hollywood vibe than other LA area private schools and it feels very inclusive. The parent community is mostly professionals and very involved. I can't speak to the applying out process yet, but the elementary education is top notch. As are the new teacher hires over the last couple of years.
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