As our son approaches graduation, I asked him "What makes Unquowa so special?". Without hesitation he said, " The teachers really bond with the kids". It is that bond with his caring and committed teachers that has fueled our son's desire to work hard and excel, not only in the classroom, but on the athletic fields, theatrical plays, musical productions, science fairs and in the technology lab. His teachers know when to push and challenge him. This bond and his solid relationships with the devoted Unquowa teachers has fostered his self advocacy skills. We are confident that he his well prepared for high school and has the skills to be successful. We are so appreciative of the superb leadership by the Head of School, Sharon Lauer, and the strong sense of community she has fostered. It is always unfortunate when a vocal few taint the reputation of a school, especially when there are hundreds of families that have been changed by the tiredless dedication of the Unquowa School. If you are looking for a school where teachers really connect with their students, I encourage you to take a look at Unquowa and ask for yourself, " What makes Unquowa so special ? ".
We couldn’t be happier with Unquowa. Our son has attended for four years and is thriving academically and socially - and, perhaps most importantly, developing a solid sense of who he is and what he has to offer.His test scores rank him as a Johns Hopkins talented youth scholar, he participates in after school athletics throughout the year, he sings and acts in the school plays, has traveled to Costa Rica this with his classmates – we’ve been consistently impressed with the opportunities the school affords it’s students to learn and grow. We appreciate the quality and dedication of the teachers and staff, the sense of community that permeates the building, and are especially impressed with the exemplary head of school, Sharon Lauer, who works tirelessly to make Unquowa the exceptional environment that so many families feel compelled to rave about.
I have left a review or two here before when both of my children were in the lower school at Unquowa and since we have become part of the upper school I wanted to leave another review. I was surprised to read the most recent review from what appears to me to be a disgruntled parent. My child's experience this year has been wonderful. I felt support for my child both academically and when faced with the hurdles of becoming a "middle schooler", This support has even been offered to me via parent groups the school offers. Truly a place the that I feel nothing but the utmost support and caring. Mine is a student with some focus issues and the way the teachers come together to support individual students is truly something rare and needed. To sit down with the teachers at Unquowa who care enough to not only devise plans to make school life better and be encouraged to try strategies at home to help my child with focus, has been a god send. I find the teachers to be approachable, supportive and always with the best interest of my child first. They believe in building a community that teaches children to be responsible, caring and compassionate for one another.
The upper school at Unquowa is overrated. The teachers, with exceptions of a few, are really ill-equipped to teach on emotional, social & intellectual levels. School admin gives them very little support - & doesnt seem to care that they're below par. 1 teacher thought he was equipped to hand out medical & psychological advice to us regarding my son's ADHD. Really frightening. In addition to being very emotionally unsupportive, teacheres use humiliation & negative reinforcement. Learning skills staff &"counseling" staff are outdated & confused, to say the least (even if well intentioned, they seem scared). My son felt very isolated this past year & did not feel he could turn to any of his teachers for help. I can't remember him disliking school so much. He made some good friends though, but kids often talk negatively of their teachers. I have even overheard 8th graders making fun of the "Unquowa education". Facilities are below par in comparison to local private school - with exception of some local smaller parochial (elementary) schools. Perhaps the non-stop push for donations & contributions is b/c they're trying to update. Bottomline: it is not a "progressive" school.
The Unquowa School has provided both of my children with a terrific foundation and a strong moral compass. We still have many years to go at the school and we are confident that this is a great school for our kids and will be a bright future ahead for both of our kids.
Our experience at Unquowa has been a truly fantastic journey -- an intellectually and culturally stimulating rabbit hole for our "kurious kid." In conversations with staff at all levels, I've always felt a genuine enthusiasm for the growth and development of my child. The various teachers and members of the administration consistently demonstrate a marveling level of patience and engagement -- the specific details that they remember about my child sometimes astound me. Even at the pre-K level, the weekly curriculum includes multiple language and art-related classes. We recently overheard our child singing a song in Chinese! Every morning, my daughter wakes up and says, "do I get to go to Unquowa today?"
There are so many negative things I could write that it's pretty shocking, since there are some positive things as well. Really wanted to be happy here - but the environment is so artificial. Many teachers & staff members just aren't trained well & lack compassion & common sense. Academics should be more progressive/extensive, & should be more after school activities. As for learning skills program, really a waste. Kids just do homework. Administration is horrible. I agree headmaster is definitely insincere - watch out. School was a horrible place for my child for much of this year; at times, we could hardly wait for school year to be over. While many kids here have social issues/learning issues, Unquowa expects them to be medicated & fit one mold. Parents bring in own counselors to help "train" staff how to assist kids with learning & behavior issues! Tall order added to $25k a year. School is especially hard for socially average/"normal" boys who aren't shy & who enjoy socializing. I agree with comments about bullying - we experienced that our 1st year there (this is our 3d year). Teachers did nothing about it - esp. for new kids; very upsetting for all of us.
I like stats and I had some concerns after reading a couple reviews questioning the academic rigor at Unquowa so I did a little digging and here is what I have found... It is a very rare (7 times in the last 6 years) that a graduating 8th grader at Unquowa does not get accepted at his or her [family's] first choice of high schools. The majority of students (grades 4 and up are tested) are recognized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth because they achieve at the 95th percentile or higher on one or more subtests of a nationally normed standardized test (ERBs in Unquowa's case). And results from a recent survey (and loads of the previous reviews) clearly state that parents of Unquowa alumni feel that Unquowa more than adequately prepared their children for the social and academic rigors of high school. Hmmm.... academic rigor? I say 5 stars!
We could not be more pleased with our family's decision to join the Unquowa community. It has been over a decade now and things just keep getting better and better. Under the strong, visionary leadership of Sharon Lauer, the head of school, we know that there is no end in sight - new programs, new facilities, teachers that care about students, students that care about learning and alumni young and old that are ever present. We know we will be members of the Unquowa community long past our last commmencment ceremony. Thank you Unquowa!