This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted March 06, 2014
- a parent
My 6th grade daughter has found the perfect school for her. It may seem too good to be true at the Open House, etc, but it REALLY IS, that amazing. Other class parents I have spoken with have a similar opinion. We cannot believe how the school has the girls excited to learn and actively participate on a daily basis. All of the teachers, students and parents have all been extremely supportive and genuine. Our commute to school is not easy, but every morning, my daughter has easily woken up to get ready for school (this was not the case last year). If you are considering Castilleja, you will not be disappointed.
My daughter graduated a few years ago and she had such a great experience at Castilleja. She now attends one of the best colleges and she feels her classes there are easy compared to what she did in high school. Her Castilleja classmates at other colleges feel the same way. Through her time in middle and high school, I was continually impressed with the quality of the teaching as well as the amazing opportunities outside the classroom from clubs and sports to the global investigator trip. I have sons at other schools in the area and from what I've seen at their schools, the girls at Castilleja are much more likely to pursue math and science than girls at my sons' schools. When they take honors and AP classes in math and science, there are very few girls, which is obviously not the case at Castilleja where the advance math and science classes are vey popular. My daughter gained so much from Castilleja we are truly grateful for the education she got there.
Just another viewpoint about this great school. We love Castilleja and our daughter is excelling there. She does not have a private tutor since her teachers are very supportive and accessible. The class sizes are small so her questions are always addressed. The academics are enriched by many resources outside the classroom, including a local and global outreach/internship program called ACE, a design and engineering lab with state-of-the-art hands-on tools, and a very creative team of teachers who collaborate to bring project-based and interdisciplinary learning into their classes. If you see school as just a straight highway to university, then perhaps Castilleja is not the place for your daughter. If you want a place where she can learn in a dynamic, supportive, and challenging community of passionate learners, then I suggest you consider this wonderful school.
We are parents of a middle schooler who are pulling their daughter out to enroll in the local high school. Our reasons may not be yours. If you look carefully past the razzle dazzle, you will find an average school where parent are encouraged to hire tutors to make up for the uneven teacher quality. Most girls have them. This after spending close to $40K on tuition per year. At the end of which less than 9% make it to the Ivy's and fewer to the UC's. If your goal is to get your daughter to Vanderbilt or Pomona - welcome! So much so for the academic rigor. We saw a constant influx and departure of teachers and any criticism of the program was either actively discouraged or not listened to. For us the maths did not work out - $40K/ year + $5-10K in tuition on a 14 year old who has a less than 1 in 10 chance of getting to the Ivies/UC's was not what we were prepared to do. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
My older daughter is in the Castilleja middle school. The leadership in the middle school is outstanding. The middle school principal seems universally liked and admired by both the students and parents. The academic program is rigorous. There is a lot of homework, but it is rare to see something that is just "busywork". The school pushes the girls to achieve more and faster. The teachers and administration listen to the girls when they express a desire to try something out, to do more, or something different (e.g. my 8th grader is working on Geometry - her choice). They also do a good job of resisting pushy parents - the impetus for acceleration or more rigor has to come from the student. My 8th grader is thriving, and loving it.
My daughter entered 6th grade in fall of 2010. After becoming bored at her last (private) school, she has become highly motivated by her experiences at Casti. She likes almost all her teachers, who seem genuinely interested in treating her as an individual and adapting to individual styles of learning. The curriculum in all the subjects seems demanding and thought provoking. There is a lot of homework, but I think it goes with the territory. This is a school for highly motivated, academically focused girls. There is also an active extra-curricular scene, from "clubs" addressing community service, creative writing, hobby, crafts, and sports; to athletics; to a vibrant performing arts offering. My daughter performed in the middle school play which was a fabulous, professional production. She has also had the chance to try out robotics, debate, and dance, all at the age of 11. We're glad we chose Casti (so far so good!).
The students are wonderful, the faculty is excellent (and a handful are master teachers in the truest sense of the term), but the administration is troubled and troubling. Time will tell whether the problems at the top erode the educational quality.