My son is in his 2nd year year at ESUMS, and he loves it! For the first time ever, he really enjoys going to school every day. The science, math and engineering classes are amazing, and they are taught by excellent teachers who want your kid to succeed. They are now in the process of building a new school for ESUMS. If and when that happens, the school will be a 5 out of 5 stars, since right now the lack of a building is the only thing holding them back!
My daughter has happily attended ESUMS for 6th - 8th grade. The school has a small-school feeling such that the students, parents, teacher and staff are familiar with each other. The students are grouped according to ability allowing those who require more work in a particular area to spend additional time with it while students who excel can move forward. The STEM focused program supports achievement in those area regardless of sex; female students are encouraged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics equally to the male students. The only drawbacks are that 1. arts related studies are diminished, the students are allowed 1/2 year of "art" and 1/2 year of "music or band" (students may need to seek additional music or arts studies outside of the school setting) and 2. there are limited after school programs/clubs which require (parental) pick-up during hours most parents are at work, making the clubs inaccessible to students of working parents. These items I consider to be areas that could be improved, however; despite the room for improvement, our family has found this school to be far superior to any other school my daughter had attended.
The school is great, the teachers let you know what is going in the classrooms and the my son enjoys the teachers and his friends. My son is not bored in his classrooms but he is taught how to think out of the box, which I really like. The school keeps you well informed of activities that are having, I enjoy the PTO meeting along with the community meetings.
I have two children at ESUMS, and my daughter loves it even more than my son does. She has found a community of girls who are supportive, interested in academics, responsible and fun. The advanced classes are terrific, the teachers and staff are wonderful, the field trips have been great, and there seem to be many opportunities ahead (classes at UNH for example). The criticisms of the school's organization have a grain of truth: it is a fairly loose environment, but that makes it feel friendly and cooperative. The school has a commitment to "non-violent communication." If you're used to a more authoritarian model, it might take some getting used to, but everything academic is handled very, very well.
ESUMS is a great school that is only going to get better. Right now they are in a somewhat difficult position of having the lower grades in one school with the higher grades in another. Once the new building is completed I know it will be a wonderful place. The teachers here are excellent. This is a tough academic environment that values creative thinking and hard work. Kids that aren't willing to give 100% will not succeed here. It is also an engineering and science based school, if a child is not interested in these areas they won't be happy. Many of the students here are from gifted programs in other suburban schools and it shows. That said, this is a school in transition which means there will be issues associated with that. As the school changes and grows parents have a lot of input into what the school is going to look like in the future. Parents that are involved can get a lot of out that, parents that are looking for a completely stable environment may find it difficult. We intend to send both of our younger sons to this school as well for the excellent academics. I can't recommend it enough if academics are your focus.
We could not be happier than with our choice to pull our son out of. Op suburban school system and enroll him at ESUMS. Our son has always been a straight A student who never had to work for his grades and was never truly challenged but bored with school. At ESUMS he is challenged in each class. He participates in many labs and hand on assignments that excite him and make him want to learn. He is doing pre-algebra in 6th grade and to be honest, after helping him with his homework, it looks more like algebra 1 to me. The teachers are so motivated to help these kids excel. They are very willing to work with parents, and most respond to parents emails the same day. The staff are doing wonderful things for these kids, and the cirriculum challenges and teaches the kids to be innovated and think for themselves...not just to study for a test. If your child has an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) and is willing to do a good deal of homework to have MANY doors opened for them, then ESUMS is the school for them.
ESUMS is a great school. Yes, they currently have the lower middle grades in one school and the higher grades in another while they build a state of the art school to house them all. And yes, this is not a perfect scenario. However, every single teacher and administrator I have met has been wonderful. They are very caring and focused on the mission of the school. The kids are excited and the program is fantastic. As the parent of a gifted child my son was floundering in the regular school system. Now he has a specialized curriculum and is actually happy to go to school. He is very excited that he can stay here all the way through 12th grade. Really, I can't stress enough how good this school has been for him.