Waverly is an amazing school. The teachers care about the students, the children are nice, and the parents are down to earth. I came to Waverly in fall of 2013 and I did not look back. I am going to be in 7th grade at The Waverly School and I couldn't be happier. The homework load is low because you learn so much in the school day there is only about thirty minutes to an hour and a half of homework. I love this school. I already made up my mind and I am going to graduate from Waverly! This school is so dope!
We came to Waverly from a highly regarded public middle school. My child was crushed with hours of work in the 6th grade and although doing well academically, was bored and unhappy. Waverly has been such an incredible change. The workload is reasonable and the teachers have been miracle workers in that my child is excited about learning and actually talks to me happily about school. The teachers are relatively young and relate well to adolescents, but at the same time, most of them are very experienced. The curriculum focuses on project-based, experiential learning and I have been so impressed with much of the work my child has produced and the type of assignments the teachers give. They really focus on analytical skills and teaching the students to use evidence to support their arguments. Additionally the teachers truly care about the students and address social conflict lovingly and discreetly when it comes up as it often does at this age. We couldn't be happier with our decision to move to Waverly.
If you want your child to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own learning, you will love and cherish this school. If you want your child to be shot through a standardized, academic hoop, this school is not for you. Some of the most diversely talented, articulate and brightest students I have ever met attended this school. Many have gone to and succeeded at fantastic colleges, if that is what they so desire. Many have succeeded at small schools, if that is what they so desire. Waverly is an amazing community. If you agree with their teaching philosophy, I highly recommend it.
We love this school. My daughter has had a wonderful experience in the high school. The teachers are excellent, the atmosphere is nurturing. We feel she is really learning, not just learning how to test well.
Elementary School is excellent, but stop there and send your children elsewhere. The middle school is mediocre at best, and if you want to send your child to a different high school chances are they won't be able to pass the entrance exam if they have been attending Waverly Middle School. Don't send your child to the high school unless they absolutely cannot get accepted somwhere else. The academic program is weak, the teachers lack professional boundaries, and there is a serious drug problem at this school that the administration ignores altogether. Students who graduate from Waverly High School go on to college, but very few of them complete their higher education or succeed, because they are truly not prepared for college or the real world.
This school has taught me one thing and that thing is that if you don't understand something then it doesn't matter because the school doesn't care anyway and if you don't try then you still succeed. They "baby" all of the students all the way into your senior year of high school and when you finally get to your senior year thinking that you were an A student with an opportunity to go to an Ivy league school and then they give you your transcripts for the first time showing that you got B's and C's even though your teachers told you in their written comments that you were doing "Impressively well". After that your dreams are crushed and you end up going to a second rate community college in Bakersfield. This school has only hurt my daughters dreams and it has taught me that their dysfunctional version of progressive education shouldn't be taught to anyone.
We have two active boys at Waverly, now in 4th & 5th grades. They love it. We love it. We're sure if they were in the public school system their natural enthusiasm would be crushed. At Waverly they thrive. This is a progressive, experientially-based curriculum that makes learning an adventure. The teachers are caring and dedicated and the head of school's vision for the community is a beacon of rationality. The kids learn about the real world, whether planting crops at their near campus farm or participating in community service projects or approaching the Three R's (& more) through imaginative curriculum that immerses them in themes (the middle ages, Habitats of the World, the Role of Story-telling) that allow them to access various disciplines (social studies, math, science, etc.) in an inter-related matrix of ideas. Waverly is not cheap but it is more reasonably priced than comparable schools. It also feels more organized and less chaotic than other "progressive schools." It strikes the right balance. Some parent participation is required but it's a great community --bright kids, interesting parents and a nurturing, learning focused (not testing focused) environment.
I can only speak about the middle school. It can work really well for a core group of kids: those who are basically well-behaved (perhaps inquisitive & quirky) and who have no interest in questioning authority or testing limits. Middle school kids who, in exploring who they are, speak in a way that s contrary or act in a way that is socially outside the school s ideal vision (being happy, socially- and academically-engaged, and cooperative) or challenge authority (even in minor ways that wouldn't raise an eyebrow at your local public middle school) are addressed by the administration. The problem with this is twofold: the administration tends to infantilize the kids and they don t seem to know how to reach or teach kids when they aren t perfectly compliant. It s as if any challenging behavior comes as a surprise to them. It seems as if they don t understand the complexities of identity-development and are lacking in empathy for the challenges that often a part of the middle-school years and, because of this, all they know how to do is lecture (and hope it promotes compliance) and then demand compliance. In short, it seems a good place for a very narrow demographic.
My daughter is in seventh grade at The Waverly School. She transferred here last year from a nearby school district famous for its excellent public schools. In her public middle school, she spent countless hours on homework every evening and weekend, and yet, at the end of the year she seemed to have learned very little. At Waverly, the homework load is reasonable. More than that, the homework makes them think. In fact, more than anything, in every subject Waverly teachers challenge students to think critically and to use evidence to analyze information. In this one year, my daughter has grown so much intellectually. More than than, she is happy. Happy! How many 7th graders are happy? I'll tell you: every one at The Waverly Middle School.