Our child attended kindergarten and 1st grade at Bowman. She always received excellent progress reports from Bowman. However, after transferring to a well respected public school, her standardized test scores - while well above state averages - are worse than average for that school. If you are paying for the all-day-year-around aspect of the school, maybe it's a good value. If you are paying for academic excellence, you can do better.
Bowman is a wonderful school for the a wide range of children -- although like any small private school it's not universal. Our profoundly gifted child (miserable in public schools) was happy at Bowman, and able to proceed at a natural pace (doing college level work in some subjects by middle school). The vast majority of the graduates do very well afterward, although there is typically a transition. However, they are usually much more poised, self-aware, and independent than their peers that went elsewhere. Parents who want to peer over the teachers' shoulders (and meddle) will not like this school. On the other hand, the 3-times-yearly conferences provide an enormous amount of feedback, board meetings are largely open, and I find the school's operation very transparent. And they really, really care about the kids.
I have volunteered a few hundred hours at the school and constructive help is much more welcome than our experiences with public schools in the area. This school exemplifies how schools should be run. The year round program allows for students time to complete their work at school making homework infrequent. Although the school does not emphasize standardized testing the 6 - 8th graders are testing in the range of 10 - 12 equivalent grade level. It's just that because there is no 'teaching to the test' that early student testing starts at about average and then dramatically swings upward in the upper grades. This is mostly due to the strong language arts emphasis from the beginning of school. Reading and communication skills are the doorway to all subsequent learning.
Hi, As a Bowman parent who has observed the details of the managing of classrooms and the school over the past 8 years, I can not say enough good things about 'Bowman', as we call it. The curriculum is based on a Montessori philosophy of respect for oneself, others, and the environment as well as building self-confidence through independent thinking and work. The teachers are incredible and Margaret and her staff communicative, smart, and efficient. You couldn't ask for a better learning environment for your child, be they 5 or 14 yrs old. This has to be one of the best schools in Northern California. On top of the attention, care, and intelligence that teachers bring to the classroom, the school is a twelve-month a year school with hours that match a professional families' needs (7:30 AM to 6:00 PM). Children learn Spanish and Japanese from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Although a great school for kids who are self montivated in traditional schooling not a great school for kids who have learning diabilities like ADD or ADHD. Although facilty seems to care, they really are not equipped to handle spirited children. They are a Montasorie based school. My experience with this school with my son has been less then stellar. I was born with ADHD and look at as a gift, where at Bowman it feels like my son has a disability.
The founder/director of the school, Margaret Ricks, is a highly trained and experienced Montessori educator who is passionate about delivering a quality program to the students. The school operates year-round, which can be especially desirable when both parents work. All children learn Spanish and Japanese, older students have opportunity to learn Latin. All students learn music and have PE. Montessori is a child-centered, self-paced learning style (with appropriate constraints). Children who need more time with a certain subject get it, children who absorb concepts more quickly aren't 'held back by the rest of the class'. There is an active association of parents, parental involvement is encouraged but not required. Check out www.montessori.org to learn more about the Montessori style of teaching. Wouldn't do it any other way!
Bowman International is great. The class sizes are small, the teachers first rate, the teaching philosophy and techniques unique and effective. Our daughter is doing very well and loves it. I would highly recommend Bowman International school.
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