Our 2 children attended Dawson for 6 years. We first thought Dawson was great, but we soon realized the elitist atmosphere was a facade to perpetuate its fund raising and image as an elite school. After Dawson drastically raised tuition every year and cut its bus program, we moved our kids to public school. Many of Dawson's credits and test scores do not transfer to local schools. Dawson's elitist atmosphere will leave a lasting sense of entitlement on your child. Many kids go on to obscure, high $ impractical liberal arts colleges. Some of my daughter's peers literally became Tibetan guides or joined the army because their post college life didn't meet the idealistic life learned at Dawson - extremely bright kids who learned no life skills at Dawson. Fortunately, we pulled our younger son from Dawson before he was permanently scarred by Dawson's elitist land. if you are well off and want your kid to depend on your trusts, send them to Dawson! But if you want your child to learn to cope, work, and compete with the masses and support themselves, avoid Dawson. Dawson was an immense waste of money and for daughter, did far more long term motivational harm than good.
Our experience with Dawson has been limited to the Lower School, so I can't comment on the Middle or Upper Schools. The teachers at Dawson are great. The projects are interesting and fun, and keep the kids engaged. The teachers set high expectations, and the kids meet them. The Lower School also has the kids participate in Library, Computer, Spanish, PE, Art, Music --each a few times or more a week ....and they have recess several times a day.
We are about to start our 7th year at Dawson. We absolutely love it here. Our kids are thriving in this amazing environment. The sports and arts programs are just as awesome! The teachers and the community of parents are just as great. We couldn't ask for a better place to raise and educate our kids.
Alexander Dawson has a fantastic Middle School and High School. Small class sizes, very engaged teachers and a wonderful arts program. There is nothing like this in the Boulder area.
We are beginning our 6th year at Dawson. Four kids spanning all 3 divisions. In my opinion LS = hard to justify the $20K but convenience and loving teachers a plus, MS = 5th grade weak but great after that. I love that the MS helps develop the whole person not just the academic side. HS = teachers accessible and really seem to care about students. Small classes mean that kids really are learning and that office hours are for their benefit. Teachers really do want them to succeed. My only wish...stronger sports program for HS.
We looked at every private school in Boulder County, and we when toured Dawson couldn t imagine that it was as good as it seemed, but were also afraid that maybe our kids weren t good enough to get in. One of our children is extremely bright, the other needs some extra help - but it didn t matter, at Dawson they are thriving. The teachers, campus and the quality of the education have completely exceeded our expectations. What an incredible place to be able to get educated. We were previously in a public school and grew tired of teaching to the test , and large class sizes. While not every kid will respond to small class sizes, ours have. The teachers, school counselors, administration, and head of school are all responsive and enthusiastic. The education is extremely compelling, challenging, not composed of busy work, and the teachers care passionately. When we walk around the campus we see well- mannered and respectful kids even the teenagers. None of them look angst ridden, even before schools in the hallways there s an energy that is palpable. One of the things we no longer worry about is our children s education we know they are in extraordinary hands at Dawson
My two kids started at Dawson in Kindergarten, and six years later, I continue to be impressed and amazed at what the school gives them. They are still excited to go to school every day! Dawson meets each student where they are and helps them become their best selves through great academic programs, arts and sports programs, and focus on character. The teachers are experienced and truly engaged, and I really feel they know my children. Extras abound that they just would not get in public or charter schools. The leadership at each division and the school overall is enthusiastic, visionary and compassionate. Fantastic place!
I am currently a student at Dawson with mixed feelings about the school. The teachers are very knowledgeable in their respective subjects and are eager to help students, and with some, I feel like I can talk to them as if they were one of my friends. The small class size is also great, i have about at average of 15 students in each of my classes. However, the small class sizes are suffocating. Grades average about 40-50 people in total, and while you do know everyone in your grade, if you don't fit in into one of the social groups (keep in mind there are about 2 or 3 for each gender in every grade), then you will be miserable, because these are the only people you can socialize with here. The homework level starting in high school is ridiculous, I have on average about 4 to 5 hours a night. School takes up all of my time, and when I am not doing homework, I'm either sleeping or eating. Your social life will be low to nonexistent at this school, depending on how studious you are. This school is great for only a few kinds of people, and if you find that you don't fit the Dawson "mold" per se, then I advise that you look for another school
Look very closely. This school has a great reputation in the community. When we enrolled our child, it seemed like the best option (small classes and great academdics). However, we found it to be lacking academically. We were told our child was working ahead of grade level at Dawson, only to find out that our child was behind when we switched to the local public school. Dawson is just not keeping up with the excellent public schools in our area. Our child is now struggling to catch up. As noted by other reviewers, social problems are not adequately addressed. The school says all the right things initially but doesn't follow through. They sweep them under the rug to the detriment of the students. If you want excellent academics and a safe social environment, consider the nearby public schools.
Stressful. Intense. I agree with the Alumni student that wrote "any real issues seem to be swept under the rug and told to keep quiet". My child was miserable here. My child is very happy at a new school in Boulder. I had a teacher at Dawson tell me "they were just joking" when the bullies were harrassing my child. The teachers then went on to spread the word that "one parent" made a big deal about it. Unprofessional.
I am an alumni of Alexander Dawson school - I attended for 7 years (6-12) and graduated in 2011. I would like to preface what I am about to say with the fact that Dawson has unparalleled teachers and faculty. The small classes and the high caliber teachers make your investment well worth it. The culture at the school leaves a lot to be desired. After graduating, I began surveying my former classmates about their experiences. A startling, and worrisome, trend I found was that people told me that they not only felt like the workload (9/10 hour days, 2/3 hours of homework, nightly) was unreasonable, they felt trapped under the burden of competing with each other for college admissions spots. Dawson has 100% acceptance rate, and pushes the college prep as early as 8th grade. By the time you're a junior, it's intense and unavoidable. Now that we're removed from it, have talked about how vehemently unhappy we were. We all have stories of crying ourselves to sleep at night, and even a few cases of clinical anxiety and depression. The Dawson community is close but quiet. Any real issues seem to be swept under the rug and told to keep quiet.
My son had an injury that required an extended absence from school, they have been very accomadating and understanding, unlike anything I have ever seen when our children were in the public schools. It's a very diverse population, we debated about having our son involved in this type of "elite wealthy school" but not everyone is like that and it's just a good school.
We moved our youngest daughter to Dawson a year ago from a nearby public school where there had been severe bullying and weak academics. I am/we are delighted to report that Dawson has been a superb experience both socially and academically. She's challenged by a superb collection of teachers, has a strong peer group who want to succeed, and found an environment that is small, supportive and competitive. If we had to move from CO for job reasons, as we did last year, we would encounter serious resistance from her. That is about the best possible outcome and testimonial for the school after a big move and rocky initial transition to CO last year. Our only criticism is the lack of girl's sports alternatives. That said, the arts offerings are first rate and the campus sensational. Dawson is a great school on nearly every measure and we're seriously considering it for our other daughter.
Disappointing. There is a bullying problem. A few mean students seem to be running the show. They are well connected in the community. The lack of real consequences for inappropriate & cruel behaviors leads to more of those behaviors.
We moved our two sons to Dawson this year from public school and have been amazed by the quality of the educational experience. The small class sizes and individual attention that the teachers provide has been such a great educational stimulus. The teachers go the extra mile to develop interesting projects to reinforce topics and make learning fun and interesting. The extracurricular opportunities are vast, and we also appreciate the school's commitment to making the students solid citizens with a focus on community service. The middle school iPad program has also been very successful and it is providing students with necessary skills for the 21st century. We recommend Dawson without hesitation. As parents, it is a relief to not feel like we need to spend every spare moment at home supplementing our children's education, which is how we felt in our local public school.
My two children have been at Dawson for four years and we have had great success at the school. The experiential education programs have been a big plus for us and the school provides so many opportunities for travel and engagement. My son who is a Senior at Dawson has really thrived and has shown such improvement in growth, attitude, and creativity. My daughter has learned how to organize herself and work hard and is ready for high school. The teachers are great and really engaged. An added plus is the centralized bus service. It is not a door to door service, but does offer many options for working parents like us.
My daughter graduated from A. Dawson school and with the help of several teachers and coaches went on to a large university out east where she's thriving. She's said that much of her success at the university is from what she learned and how she learned at Dawson. The opportunities provided her at the school were such wonderful life gifts. She grew in all the ways that a parent wants to witness-- not always an easy road for teenagers, but necessary with the inevitable peaks and valleys. First and foremost, I would say the teachers and staff at Dawson are the most special thing about the school--they're enthusiastic, tireless, and love what they are teaching. Our son is there now and he's received plenty of assistance and cheering on from several of his teachers for testing, papers, grades etc. Dawson seems to get it that it's important for the whole child to be challenged and to grow into young adulthood--that's the opportunity they give every student there. I would say Dawson provides the ground for your child to be challenged and to grow and seek greater things after high school. They only have to accept that challenge!
We were a public school family but now have two children at Dawson. We love the small class sizes and the way the teachers engage with the students. We're also fans of the athletic programs and other extracurricular activities at the school. But our favorite aspect of Dawson relates to its broad view of education. While the academics are rigorous, the focus isn't teaching facts for a test. Instead, the school encourages students to become thoughtful world citizens. Critical thinking is encouraged, community service and experiential education are incorporated into the curriculum, and the students are challenged to find their voices and passions. We really appreciate that kind of environment and we're happy with the impact it has had on our kids.
Alexander Dawson is unquestionably deserving of it's rank as the top private school in Colorado. The educators and administrators are second to none, each profoundly engaged and interested in each child and excited to share their wealth of knowledge. There is a sense of contentment, camaraderie, friendship and acceptance throughout the beautiful campus from students and teachers alike. It is a phenomenal school that offers only the best of the best, successfully preparing young men and women for an extraordinary future. A family we spoke to before transferring our oldest son to Dawson said the school had made her son into "a gentleman and a scholar." After enrolling both our sons from local public schools, I can now wholeheartedly say that was a very eloquent and accurate assessment. Perhaps my son (now a very well prepared college freshman at a top ranked Engineering school) put it best when asked if there was anything he would change about Dawson: he immediately replied "I only wish we'd found it sooner."
Our Son attended Dawson for several years. His last year in attendance, the school decided to abruptly terminate the provided bus service (which we paid for) during the summer break (June) and left us with no means to get our Son to and from school each day (unlike many Dawson parents, we both worked). This would have been bad enough, but Dawson's Administration decided to enforce the Enrollment Agreement we signed two months prior, in March, and not only retained our 3k deposit, but went so far as to sue us in County Court for the upcoming years tuition, an additional $15,000. We later settled out of Court, but I cannot express strongly enough, my disgust for the way we were treated and it embarrasses and shames me to think the same staff had any REAL concern for my Son while he attended there. Sadly, I expect ANY school charging 20K a year for tuition to provide an exceptional education, it's the ethics that can vary, and at Dawson you will learn that given the opportunity, they will treat you and your Child as no more than income and utilize every chance to exploit your family, regardless of the circumstances. Avoid Dawson.
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