I have thought a lot about how to write a constructive review of this school and the experiences we had.
We attended for 4 years. We had a boy and a girl and started on the K side and moved up to big side.
There are some wonderful teachers at this school. There are some not so wonderful teachers at this school. I think that can be said for every school.
The music program is truly top notch. The work that Ms. Deb does with these children is so impressive.
This school is definitely not for everyone. It maintains a structure/discipline that may not suit every child or even benefit every child.
I will specifically address that any child that has a learning disability is NOT well suited for this school. MBMA airs on the side of accelerated/high performing/higher pressure.
I discovered that my child had a learning disability while we were well entrenched in the school. And while the teachers and staff tried to accommodate and help, it was not a fit.
MBMA has a way of saying “this school may not be the right fit for you.” What they mean to say and I wish they would have said it more clearly is “we don’t know the best way to teach your child.” These teachers do not have special education training so any sort of accommodations that your child might require is likely not the most appropriate accommodation.
We have since moved and my children go to public school. My one child now has an IEP (individual education plan) where she has assistance for her learning disability. AND WOW the difference. She is doing so well, learning quickly…..just differently (an option that MBMA doesn’t have). She recently said to me, “Mom I miss my old school but I was so frustrated and I always wanted to cry. I just didn’t get things and the teachers would want me to just figure it out.” I know the teachers worked hard to help her but at the end of the day……it wasn’t a fit.
Now I say all of the above not to “knock” MBMA. Like I said, this is a great school for many but definitely not for all. The tour is very insightful and should give you a good feel for the school. The children are well behaved and there are always a lot of teachers to keep them safe and out of trouble on the playground.
My kids made some great friends and we met some very nice families.
Best of luck in your search.
MBMA is a challenging academic program. My child completed sixth grade with exceptional test scores and he was accepted at all 3 academic powerhouses in San Diego. Many students have private tutors so they will excel in math & language. Many of the students are tutored because their parents want to give them any and every advantage available to them. I hired a tutor for my very bright son. He was not behind in anything. This is a trend and more and more parents hire private tutors for smart children. My child had an amazing education there. Take a tour. Talk with the teachers. My son was in room 4, a one/ two combo class. He had weekly book reports, bi- weekly creative writing assignments, research reports, two different math books, daily math sprints, model drawing, monthly book projects, and more. He tested at the end of year at the 4th grade level overall. He was a first grader. He can pick up any book and tell you what genre it is. How many adults can do that? He loved room 10 also. He participated in mock courtroom trials and advanced mathematics. This is an excellent school.
The teachers don't really teach much in the elementary school. They say the kids learn on their own pace, so the parents can't know if they are on track or not. Many families hire tutors, or send their kids to after school programs for math and language classes. Even in the children's house, many families have tutors to teach reading and writing to their kids. The teachers make the parents feel like their kids have some problems. They put a lot of pressure on the kids and families. We were very relieved when we put our kids to another school.
MBMA is an excellent school. The teachers are very hard working and care about each child. While the school is private, it is an excellent value compared with other private schools in the area. I disagree with the parent review from 8/14/2014. I have found that the teachers and administration work at lengths to help children be successful and are willing to make accommodations if needed. I have seen the teachers and director meet with children and their parents, who are having difficulties, to try and help students be successful socially and academically. There is a speech therapist on site at MBMA who is outstanding and can help children with social skills. Unfortunately, there are times when a family may need more resources than a private school can provide or than a family is willing to accept.
To continue from my previous post Some may wonder if the more traditional approach to teaching writing skills is warranted in an age in which a flurry of technological innovations is changing how and where and why we write. I would argue it is: students who are confident, skilled writers in one realm will transfer what they have learned to new writing tasks and contexts. Teachers at MBMA create classroom environments that allow students to experience what Gladwell calls the miracle of meaningful work. In my teaching at UC San Diego, I often find myself wishing that more of my first-year college students had experienced the kind of work my son did in the upper elementary grades at MBMA. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a school in which sixth graders receive more sustained practice and meaningful feedback than they do in the program at MBMA. Holly Bauer, Ph.D. Writing Program Administrator UC San Diego Faculty
My thoughts on writing instruction at MBMA in the upper elementary grades: MBMA offers a very strong foundation for middle school writing expectations to its students in the upper elementary grades. As a college writing instructor and writing program administrator, I am acutely aware of how difficult it is to maintain such a strong program; and as a parent, I am aware of how difficult it is to find one in a school. The writing instruction at MBMA offers the kinds of sustained, directed practice and consistent, meaningful feedback that Malcolm Gladwell and other researchers advocate the kinds of practice and feedback that build strong, confident writers. Research made popular by Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers: The Story of Success) demonstrates that success whether in sports, music, computer science or business can be traced to meaningful practice. He makes a compelling case that a crucial foundation for learning anything effectively must include constant, deliberate practice of important basic skills coupled with meaningful feedback. MBMA s writing curriculum is a great model for what he describes. Holly Bauer, Ph.D. Writing Program Administrator UC San Diego Faculty
After eight years at MBMA our child is completing sixth grade and like the other sixth graders, will be attending a top San Diego school in the Fall. While recently going through the entrance processes for the next school, it was very clear that MBMA is a strong feeder school. Many of the Students move on to Bishops, Francis Parker and La Jolla Country Day. The sixth grade class is well respected as independent, well prepared and well rounded students. Most have attended for over 5 years. Each grade at MBMA offers a new level of personal development, education and experiences. Though we are excited about our next school we will miss the staff and families that have been such a big part of our student's growth and happiness at MBMA. We are already planning to come back for a visit!
This school is not safe. We had a tour of this school and decided not to enroll our child. Anyone can enter this school easily. We asked the principle how she ensures the security of the children, she said for the first two weeks of school there is an ID check when picking up your child. Then, the teachers know the parents, so they don't need an ID check. But, we visited the school next day, and entered the preschool side, entered a classroom, no one asked us who we were. The teachers at the gates didn't even seem to be aware of us. They were chatting with other teachers. The gates are really low, even a 3 year-old can jump over easily. The elementary part doesn't even has a gate, you can just walk into classrooms. If children decide to run off from school, it is very easy. Or if someone convinces a kid to walk away with him, I don't think anyone would notice. All the other schools we toured had much better security. There were gates and the gates were locked during school hours. The parents can only pass through an office, so it is not possible for strangers just walk into classrooms. If you are concerned for the safety of your children, do not choose this school.
MBMA is a great school with strong focus on teaching a solid curriculum, as well as building a solid value system in children. We love the Math, English & Science program curriculum. Music and Art programs are very strong. Teachers are highly experienced with at least 10 years of experience in the respective class levels. Children are treated with much respect and their interests are gently honed towards learning concepts that will last a last a lifetime. Children are trained to be responsible at an early age. Bad behavior in children is addressed strictly and immediately, but with compassion. I would highly recommend the school for children aged 3-11. Especially for families with traditional backgrounds looking for overall development.
MBMA elementary is a wonderful school. It may not be for every family, but if it is the right fit for your child, it will be a great experience. The regular classroom curriculum is challenging, but the children end up being quite independent and know their stuff. Where the school really shines is with the additional classes: All students take music, science, art, Spanish, PE and computer classes each week. These are the important things that are being cut from the public school system, but MBMA has truly outstanding teachers for these additional classes, and the students love them. They also integrate the curriculum across the classes (for example, they learn to use spreadsheets in computer class by using data they collected in science class). I'll also add that it is a great school for working parents. The hours are reasonable (8:15-3:00) and there is on-site after hours care as well as many on-site extra-curricular activities.Hot lunches are organic from Ki's! Cons: Kids who didn't start off in a elementary school like MBMA may have trouble transitioning depending on maturity level. After paying tuition, expect some additional fees ($10-40) esp. at the beginning of the year.