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Bowman International School

Private | K-8 | 250 students


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Living in Palo Alto

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $1,203,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,790.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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26 reviews of this school

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Posted November 20, 2012

My daughter loves Bowman! She has made many friends and is very happy. The families are down-to-earth and are committed to their children, but not in a competitive way. The teachers are caring. The Halloween parade is awesome!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 19, 2012

Students thrive here and the environment is positive and welcoming. Bowman has a wonderful community and the administrators care deeply about the children and their unique skill set.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted May 17, 2012

My Child has been at Bowman for two years and has accomplished so many things! One of the most important things to our family is that our child has continued to be and has been supported to be a kind, caring person who cares for others and his environment. The Bowman approach has been very successful for our family!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 2, 2012

Bowman is an excellent school with incredibly dedicated teachers and staff. The environment fosters a love of learning and independent study. It does require your child to be self motivated as kids are encouraged to pursue their own interests. Some parents are surprised that there is no homework, but you have to factor in that the school is open from 730a to 6p. If kids plan their day right they should be able to get it all done at school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 21, 2011

Fantastic School for our gifted child!! We were in the much touted Palo Alto schools which were a nightmare for gifted kids. Bowman has been incredible. Great teachers, responsive administration and nice welcoming families. Finally!! This is what schools should be.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 22, 2011

We have two children at this school and are pleased with their progress. Subjects are taught in an integrated and concrete manner that sparks the child's own interest in delving further into the topics at hand. Children "learn how to learn" here, which forms a valuable foundation. The mostly "no homework" structure allows for time for outside interests and family responsibilities. In response to feedback, the school is also doing a better job of educating students in things like test taking skills, which are important in high school. Administration is open to parent feedback, as long as that feedback is based on fact -- share with them the issues and then let the administration and teachers recommend the right course of remediative action. Teachers by and large deeply care for students and often invest their own time for extra-curriculars. Students have the opportunity to explore their own strengths and teachers often use these as ways to springboard weaker areas of interest. Highly recommended.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 16, 2011

We have been at Bowman for 5 years and have 2 kids there. We are thrilled to have found such a safe, diverse school with fantastic values and innovative approaches to academics. Our kids love to go to school and their stories of their projects and what they are learning each week keep us appreciative and entertained. They love learning and not simply taught to the test. They are also taught to be global citizens and to respect people and their differences.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 16, 2011

We love Bowman, and it has been great for our family and our children. It is academically amazing and creative while teaching the kids so much more about the world, different cultures, music, art, languages and people. Its focus on the whole child makes a meaningful difference. Bowman kids are mature, responsible as well as academically prepared. They also important to us aren't forced to grow up too quickly. The community is balanced and grounded, we really enjoy the other families but in a low pressure way.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 18, 2011

If your child is average, this is probably an OK environment. It is safe, and there are small classes, and fun after-school programs (for additional fees.) If your child has any atypical needs (for example, your child is gifted), this will not be a good fit. It is a cookie-cutter program. Despite the small class sizes, there is zero room for individual instruction and literally no academic expectations at all. Our son was bored in the classroom, where there were few opportunities for him to do grade-level work. For example, we inquired as to why he wasn't doing any science, a subject he loves. We were told he would be afforded class time to do science, but he would have to come up with the science program himself. He was 8. For months, we waited to see some written work, but there never was any, and there were always explanations for the lack of written work. Sometimes, they just said that he wasn't doing it. So even though we had to forfeit several thousand dollars worth of advance-paid tuition, we withdrew him.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 23, 2010

The reviews that have few stars thus far don't seem to match my experience with Bowman. The test scores are off the charts high, the turnover isn't as great as many other schools, and the enrollment is increasing even in this tough economy. My children have been at Bowman for nearly 5 years, and are blossoming academically and socially. Most importantly, they're having a great time and some days it's hard to get them to come home with me. I advise anyone to visit the school and observe what's going on first hand!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 20, 2010

"Montessori" itself is great but the Bowman is questionable. Individual based learning seems make sense but kids are missing lots of knowledge that kids learn in other school. Yes, knowledge from books are not everything but they do need to know in order to survive with state-wide test in future.There're many reasons why so many students(and teachers) leave every year even though they are so popular and hard to get in Kinder.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 10, 2010

I am a former parent of three children, all of whom are now in public high school. Bowman was the best thing that ever happened to my children and my family. My children are true "Montessori kids" : compassionate, caring, creative young adults who still question everything - and I attribute that to the simply amazing work and leadership of Mary Beth Ricks who is an educator of the absolute highest caliber. If there has been teacher turnover at Bowman, I can tell you that this is because the standards are so high for teachers that those who don't cut it are asked to leave. Plus the enrichment at this school in terms of music, art, outdoor ed is outstanding. You cannot go wrong at Bowman.

Posted April 6, 2010

Bowman presents very well- but once you are in and start asking questions you will find that the school has very high teacher turnover, administration is not upfront, and they do not offer the education they claim to. I was very disappointed with this school, paricularly administration but also many of the teachers. It is run like a dictatorship. The talented teachers they do manage to get leave once they figure out how things work around there. They have no say in things and are often the teachers rewarded are those doing a poor job (the ones who just do what they are told). I would not recommend this school for your child.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted March 29, 2010

I enrolled my child in the school due to the individualized education plan and thought it would be a great environment. I was wrong! The teachers come and go with no explanation from the administrators. I could not get get my child's teacher to motivate and challenge my child to do grade level work. The current public school where my child attends now is better than this private school and has improved my child's writing. I regret not moving my child out of this school sooner.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 10, 2010

I am currently a highschool student who graduated Bowman International School a few years ago. I think that the faculty members do care more than public school teachers. Regular public school teachers have just one goal and that is to get you to the next class, but these teachers, they care much more. They want you to go to college, and also do well after college. I had some troubles at the school, but it was a big part of my life and I always thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to do more then I could have at a public school. I continue to talk to my graduating class and many of us are doing very well. I really think this helped me and prepared me for highschool.
—Submitted by a student

Posted December 29, 2008

I cannot say enough good things about Bowman. I would have LOVED this school as a child. No more wasted time sitting behind a desk doing busy work I already knew how to do. If your child is bored at public school, this is the place for them. Once they get their core curriculum 'musts' (which are individually taylored) done for the day , they are free to work on anything they'd like. Kids learn early on not to procrastinate & they are able to progress at their own speed instead of an average speed found in a standard classroom. Both of my kids also attended Montessori preschool and were reading at a first grade level at the age of 4. They aren't geniuses, either. They are regular kids that have blossomed in a Montessori environment. That said, not every kid blossoms in a self-directed environment.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 20, 2008

I've had 2 kids go through Bowman, and am very happy with the results. No school is perfect, but Bowman does a great job of preparing the 'whole child', and the flexibility means kids can go as far as they want. One recent graduate left 8th grade and went dire3ctly to college...
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 4, 2007

We thought this school would be the best place for our child, who is very gifted but also has learning issues. Bowman's administrators and some teachers are sadly ignorant about modern education standards and techniques, and the education she received at Bowman was woefully below standard. We're sorry we choose this school at all; the only positive things were a few very good extracurricular teachers and the other wonderful kids who were stuck there too. Save your money and your child's precious time and find a school that does more than sells itself and then hides its shortcomings.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 17, 2007

I cannot agree with previous comment more. We enrolled our son at Bowman for several years. The convenience of scheduling seemed ideal for a working mother. We had a good relationship with his teachers, and were always told he was progressing beautifully. Years of lower than desired standardized test scores were explained away. Unfortunately, after our family relocated, his transition into a highly respected parochial school was not a smooth one. The academic rigors at his new school were a shock for him. We have struggled with our decision of keeping him at Bowman for so many years.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 15, 2007

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.
—Submitted by a parent

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About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
Two or more races 51% 3%
Hispanic 11% 52%
White 11% 26%
Black 2% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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School facilities
  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Ms. Mary Ricks
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • AMS
Fax number
  • (650) 813-9132


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

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  • Montessori


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
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4000 Terman Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Website: Click here
Phone: (650) 813-9131


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