We moved from Stamford and it is remarkable much more challenging the curriculum is at Branchville! We are thrilled with Branchville; the parents, the teachers, all of the wonderful after school activities offered, the principal - exactly what we were looking for!
All kids can read by the end of first grade and if they are reading with difficulty they are seeing specialists. The first grade team is extremely sharp and dedicated but the curriculum does pick up where the 3 hour kindergarten program concludes. If anything this is a reflection on the reality of a 1/2 day kindergarten program and not the teachers. However, my daughters class itself does have many students from private montessori schools and Ridgefield Academy who experienced full day kindergarten programs. It creates quite a range in ability but the staff recognizes this and does accomodate through leveling.
We love Branchville too. We started in first grade, and I reade the post below about 'the bar set low' in the lower grades. I too, was startled that many of the kids can't read in first grade. However, by third grade you will see a marked difference in the material -- and that the kids are well able to keep pace. The school has wonderful parent engagement and offers extracurricular language club and journalism. It has a terrific neighborhood feel. Plus, the teachers are willing (and I have found eager) to interact with parents. If anything, I do think the technology exposure for the kids could be improved/
We love our elementary school! We have an amazing principal from Australia who is full of energy and always greets everyone with a smile and a G'day. He arranged to have a real kangaroo come to visit the school this Fall which was very unique a fun learning experience for the kids. Our parent involvment at the school is wonderful and this year they had the novel idea to do a 'fitness' fundraiswer this year instead of just asking people to buy cheap jewelry and wrapping paper that no one really needs. It was fresh and fun for everyone - the kids raised money by getting laps around the field sponsored, then they set up fitness booths for the kids to learn and have fun when they were done doin their laps. Each kid got a mark on his back every time he/she did a lap. The kids could not stop talking about it and that shows total success - oh - and we raised about 4 times the money we've raised with past fundraisers. The art/music productions for assemblies they put on are also so creative and impressive. We just had a very well-known author at the school to meet with the kids and read from her books. We love our school!