Walden has educated my two children from Pre-K/Kindergarten. My eldest child graduated sixth grade and is now at a rigorous independent middle school. She is getting top grades like many of her peers. The nuance in that earning the top grade is not her goal, but a deep and multi-layered understanding of the topic/subject being learned, a way of learning fostered during her Walden years. Her middle school science teacher observed that she could immediately relate a biological process to the real world...I attribute that to the multiple opportunities at Walden for experiential learning. The reading and writing program is exceptional and quite sophisticated - Walden provided my children space to find their own unique voice writing in many genres, and modeled their respect for other voices too. In a progressive oriented school, without an emphasis on rote testing and formal grades such as "A", "B", "C" to hang your hat on and quantify, there can be times of existential crisis- is this the right education? But fear not, much is marinating, and the result, at least for me, has been two very different children with a strong and solid foundation that will serve them well not only in their future educational career, but in life.
One of my children had a learning difference and we had an excellent partnership with the school. I believe a school can provide scaffolding for students with learning differences if the parents of the children are open and do their part to support their child (ie: explore strategies to help their child- educate themselves on the learning difference(s), consider a learning specialist, etc).
The children are taught to conduct themselves by the Walden Agreements which uphold values of integrity, compassion, and respect. Not only does the school develop it, but the community of families as well.
The teachers get continuous professional development which makes them quite effective particularly teaching reading/writing, and most recently training from the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning. Nurse Kathy is incredibly effective teaching family education to the children!
Walden is an elementary school that cares about each child as an individual. This has been our experience with all three of our children. All three are unique in their approach to learning, and the teachers have taken the time to help them figure out their strengths and weaknesses, and challenge them appropriately. Two have gone on to "top" middle school and high schools in the area, and if you ask the local middle schools what Walden kids bring to their campuses their answer is overwhelmingly they have their own voice, character and curiosity. They know how to learn, but they also know how to be a good friend. It's rare to find a place that emphasizes both, and our family is lucky to have found Walden.
More a parents' club than school. If you have the money, you can be in with the in crowd at this school. The progressive approach is great. The teachers are great. The afterschool crew is awesome. That said, we moved our son to a small Catholic school (never thought we'd do that in a million years) and he is much more part of a community and much more challenged. We are all happier.
They really need to work on their academics. I don't want to write too many personal details here, but after surveying local teachers and school admin, the reputation of these students being ill prepared is often the case. I would suggest every parent to do this before sending their child here.