My daughter joined Bixby in 4th grade after homeschooling/with waldorf education supplement (Sage Hamilton's program). It has been an extremely positive experience for her academically, personally, and socially. Our interaction with the teachers and administration has been stellar; they are highly responsive and supportive and maintain the highest values for the growth of the students. My daughter has thrived with teachers who are experts in their field (rather than one main teacher for the grade), and the hands-on learning is fabulous. My daughter is very active, and I felt that a traditional classroom of 25+ students might not be the best setting, especially coming from homeschooling. Her classes have 3-8 students(grouped in various ways-they don't go through the day with the same group), and learning is tailored to their interests and abilities. There is enough movement/outdoor time for an active child (something lacking in the other schools we considered), and there is real follow-through in the schools commitment to social-emotional learning. The children learn to be a positive and authentic member of the community--with respect and kindness at the forefront. I feel that the experience at Bixby, while very different "externally" than waldorf education, retains the "heart" and "wonder" that I was drawn to in the waldorf pedagogy. The school environment has an authentic feeling of generosity and down-to-earth kindness. My daughter loves school, and is excited about learning. That is the most important thing: she feels empowered and excited about being a part of the Bixby community.
Other plus-es: Before and afterschool care is awesome (my daughter begs to stay after school); on-site pool with lessons; innovative electives; Spanish language; financial aid (which helps us tremendously), creative approaches in every class....and (a great boon to all mamas who struggle to pack lunches their kids will eat)...they serve a daily healthy hot lunch (prepared on site) to all students.
My daughter has attended Bixby from 1-3rd grade. She is profoundly gifted and Bixby has met her particular needs remarkably. She also has significant special needs for eating and has needed extra staff, extra staff time, a different area to eat, consistent reporting, changes made at a moment's notice. And. They. Have. Done. It. All. They also understood her need for acceleration and after getting a feel for her in first grade, skipped her to second and has stayed with that class. As well, as their grade are usually mixed, she can also do higher level work if it suits her. She can take an extra class or have a period of free choice time which has done wonders for her independence. As they don’t make them sit in desks very often, except for keyboarding perhaps, they can sit on the floor, move around, as long as their being attentive. This has allowed the typical physical manifestations of giftedness to not be a hindrance to my daughter’s learning. She CAN move around and swivel and still get her education.
They now have all school having recess at the same time which is also been wonderful as she has younger and older friends and her “peer group” is based on personalities and connections rather than delineation of grade.
There are a few children that are more aggressive and they’ve met with everyone, heard their concerns, and made plans accordingly. They’re still the more difficult children, but Bixby’s consistently acting in an inclusive way. In other words, they understand there are issues, work to deal with them, and try to move forward. Short of expelling 2-4 children who would probably be much more “standard” in public school, they are, I think, doing a good job to address each particular student’s needs in regards to all interactions.
In short, she has flourished socially, psychologically, and physically. I would say academically if she were pushed she could do much more, but as I homeschooled her some in her early years, I may be the only one that can find that sweet spot when it is just her. But for a 6/7:1 ratio. Bixby has been the best school experience of her life and I wish it went up through high school!
Not to mention they’ve also made it possible for my daughter to continue attending with the help of financial aid (new the last year). It made her future there, happen. I can’t thank them enough.
I’m a big fan and I support them fully.
My daughter is EXTREMELY unique and they've bent over backwards, and sideways to meet her needs on every level, 100% of the time. It is my biggest source of joy and praise. No other school comes even 10% of what they've been willing to accommodate and WELCOME with openness and understanding.
I'm not sure how they do it, but the staff at Bixby really know how to address individual learning styles for every student. Our child loves Bixby, as do we. As a parent, one thing I appreciate about Bixby is that it is not a hoity-toity school. I have no idea of the economic status of other families, but we are middle class and do not feel that we are outsiders. I did get that feeling when looking at other private schools in Boulder.
This community is a rare find! The teachers are absolutely amazing. Children are academically challenged and nurtured in their social and emotional development. The community is welcoming and engaged and truly wonderful. My son joined in third grade and the teachers and community at Bixby has gone out of their way to welcome him and help with this transition. My son's love for learning had started to disappear in our large class neighborhood school and he said the other night "At Bixby the teachers really, really care and the adults like children and I love learning and making friends there!". We are so delighted to have found this school and it is one of the few schools that truly understands the value of social development and individualized instruction. After 20 years in education research is can whole heartedly recommend this school!
No homework in K-3 grade, which is exactly right! Young kids should be playing, socializing and finding their passions in their free time, not doing worksheets simply for the purpose of getting them used to homework.
My kids thrive at Bixby! My daughter started at Bixby just this year in 3rd grade. As a quick learner, she was constantly bored in her 25-30 child classrooms at our neighborhood public school where standardized testing culture forced teachers to focus on the slower learners. She wasn't even 8, but was already seeing recess as her one opportunity for fun and creativity during the school day. Bixby has changed all of that! She comes home now excited about what she has learned and accomplished in her classes. She is seeking out academic challenges for the first time in years and she is developing the persistence and resilience she will need throughout her life. My son was fortunate to start Bixby in his last year of preschool. It's an amazing program that focuses on fostering independence and social and emotional development through play. He went through Bixby's Kindergarten program a year early and is now in 1st grade. His social and emotional growth at Bixby has been astounding, in large part because Bixby teachers focus on this important aspect of development as much as they focus on the academics. Both of my kids are thriving and developing into compassionate, passionate learners. Bixby gives kids the cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to succeed not just in their education, but in life. This is what elementary education should be.
There are over 100 children at Bixby, each with their own learning style. The teachers at Bixby meet each of these children where they are and help them become the best version of themselves. This is not just effective, but exceptional!!
Because the classroom size is small at Bixby, the teachers are able to help the children truly master concepts during class time. Therefore, there is little need for kids at Bixby to struggle with worksheets and meaningless repetition at home; any homework given is meaningful and appropriate. Once the time is taken-- as it is at Bixby-- to help children truly understand a concept, and feel the joy and satisfaction that comes with that, there is little need to memorize and test children over and over.
Bixby's entire mission is to cultivate honesty, integrity and fairness. When you step into the school you see that this is at the heart of everything they do, every day. Bixby makes sure that students take responsibility for themselves and their actions, and the staff actively work to make sure each child has the tools they need to do this. More schools should be this way!