I attended Dawson for nine years as a student and am now back to substitute teach and work as a marketing intern. While attending Dawson, it felt small and cliquish at times - but my Dawson classmates are my closets friends today. Dawson is expensive, but not everyone boasts their wealth, and not everyone is extremely wealthy or "elitist". That being said, every person knows the sticker price upon enrolling their child at the school, so it sort of comes with the territory. Also, these kids are in high school (at least where I saw most of these issues begin) - they have growing up to do - just like the students at every other school. These issues are no more prevalent than at any other local school. In my opinion, it's good preparation for "the real world" to learn to deal with different personalities and perspectives. Furthermore, I have had extremely fulfilling experiences and success since graduating - most of which, I attribute to my beginnings at Dawson. It was there that I was encouraged to travel abroad for a semester in my junior year. Dawson does care about its students, and they continue to support them long after they graduate.
We have two children at Dawson, and the experience for each has been fantastic. Love all the personal attention, small class sizes - we feel like the teachers really know and understand each kid: It's not a cookie-cutter approach. The academic program is really strong, and all the arts, athletics, technology, etc. are great - plus they get lots of chance to develop as leaders. We feel like our kids have a 'leg up': They are really well prepared as they advance through the years.
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.
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
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.