Absolutely beautiful campus! What I love about Wood Acres is how it feels like you're part of a family. The teachers, staff, kids and parents all seem happy to be there and love to learn! Class sizes are small, typically under 14 per class. I highly recommend coming to the Woods!
I have two children who have attended WA. One is a graduate of the middle school program. I think many of the reviews for the upper school have been unfair. The upper school is essentially a new school and it has had its growing pains. However, the school excels academically. My child was extremely well prepared for the high school magnet program as was rest of the class. I have found that there is always a lot of complaining to the wrong people. The dean of students is extremely involved and more than happy to hear any concerns a parent has about their child or the program as a whole. She will work with you to best serve your child. You may not always like all of the answers or policies, but no one is 100% elated, all the time anywhere... not in public school or if you are paying $20,000/year. This may not be the right school for your child, but I firmly believe it has nothing to do with the intent, care and concern the teachers and staff have for the children, from early school through middle school.
This school has gone down over the years and it's sad because it has a potentially lovely campus. From the staff to the curriculum activities to the grounds, it's as if someone is trying to save money and it shows and it's a private school!! Even the summer camps have gone to straight babysitting with some nominal acitivies. We had a just average preK experience that didn't make it appealing for me to want to return. The parent involvement is next to nil because the administration doesn't encourage it!! Maybe the parents like the lower student to teacher ratios, but there needs to be more substance behind just that. No thanks, but keep trying Wood Acres if you want to retain or even increase your enrollment. There are too many private let alone outstanding public options these days in East Cobb and North Fulton.
The Wood Acres School really cares about my students! The teachers are so understanding and my kids LOVE going to school every day! My daughter even begged me to stay for Treehouse - the before and after care program, just so she could stay and play longer with her friends. I don't know what I would do without this school!!!
Elementary school is outstanding. But once a child goes to middle school, there a certainly a difference in the overall environment. The upper school teachers seem to forget that the students in upper school are not little children any longer. The teachers undeniable favor the students that excel academically, regardless of behavior. The teachers frequently express their personal views to students, which can be offensive to students and parents. Gossip is popular among the teachers, GROWN WOMEN, but they discourage students from such behavior. If ones student breaks the rules, the whole group is unreasonably punished. But there are certain students who are scarcely punished no matter the offense. It is unfortunate, because the school has so much potential academically, but sadly, their learning environment is affected by poor leadership and a principle who does not want to listen to any negative feedback.
My children have been students at Wood Acres for the past 6 years. The curriculum is rigorous and definitely challenging, but at the same time my children have been nurtured and appreciated as individuals. I am thrilled at the education they are receiving. I have found that working with the staff and teachers has been a wonderful experience. The teachers care about my children LEARNING as opposed to just testing. The homework is review (admittedly sometimes they really need to review quite a bit). I find that the discipline/character development of my children has been fair. When there is an issue, I make sure I speak to the teacher to understand the issue fully and then address it. I find Wood Acres to be a school filled with teachers and parents with high expectations for their children.
This school is absolutely great for children in grades 5 and younger, but after that, the administration lacks and the long-loved simple ways of Wood Acres disappear. Having plenty of experience with the staff, I know that the principle has very low tolerance for the upper school children acting out in any way and will write them off as bad and hopeless students at the first sign of "trouble." Also, the staff at this school takes no care whatsoever of your opinions of the other staff members if you feel your children and others aren't getting treated fairly by them. This school lacks proper discipline and formality and is pro to picking favorites. The amount of money you pay is not worth the higher quality education you get by putting up with the dysfunctional and rude staff. I do not recommend this school to any parents wanting a brighter education for their child's future.
Our child has been going to WA since kindergarten. The school was great but big staff changes into 2nd grade/3rd grade and it went downhill. 2nd grade teacher unorganized & in charge of the entire curriculum for the school. The classes are small but a lot of the teaching and work is done outside of the classroom by us at home. If you are hands-on parents who don't mind hours of teaching and homework each night and weekends, then this school is for you. The depth of the subject matter is not age or grade appropriate. The lack of leadership around getting the curriculum under control is one of the biggest things I would fault at WA. 3rd grade learning all the bones, 2+months on Canada, 3+ months of work on the history of Rome remembering all the dates, gods, emperors, etc. It all sounds really good & impressive from the outside, but it is not. IMO 3rd graders do not need this, they need a rounded education with this subject depth better saved for older grades. Complaints to the administration seem to have no action taken, and check out their teacher turnover and # of students who don't come back - better to get ex-WA families impressions than the references they give out.
My child was enrolled in the pre-school program last year. The teacher seem hurried all the time and was not organized. The school lacks diversity. I was not impressed with their lunch/snack menu. They are full of sugary juices, cookies and chips. If you are looking for a healthy lunch menu, good luck!!!. One of my vegetarian friends look her kids off from the school since there was no vegetarian option.
Ready to start another exciting year at WA! As we enter the middle school, every family shopped around to make sure WA is still the right choice for their student. I was thrilled to see 90% of our class return to WA for 2011-2012 and those who did leave, had planned to leave since the start of the year. The middle school has really taken off! The new spanish teacher has taken the ISA program to a whole new level and kids have been touring, applying and have been accepted to the Walton HS ISA program. Taking spanish 5 days per week, for years, in a private school setting, is certainly going to get you into a AP HS spanish program! Each year some teachers retire and new teachers are bought in, but I personally appreciate the new blood and fresh ideas they have. Isn't turn-over true of every school??? WA doesn't deal with CRCT drama, teacher lay-offs or budget cuts. We personally have never encountered bullies, dealt with petty crimes, over-sized classes, lack of supplies, lack of funds, and our field trips and special classes and programs haven't been cut out. This school is how school is supposed to be, it's what we all dream of for our kids and for our families.
It's interesting how when you go on their web site, you see teachers and students that have left a long time ago. It's also worth noting how the only staff members you meet are the administration and family members. It speaks to the instability of the teaching staff roles, I suspect. Another question: the International Spanish Academy...how many students of the 5 graduating from inaugural graduating class of 8th graders residing outside of Walton School District were able to go to Walton as advertised and promised at the start of the middle school 3 years ago? A week's trip to Spain does not a high school admission make.
Our children attended "The Woods" a few years ago, attending both the preschool and the elementary levels. We took them out after seeing the obvious decline of the school. Enthusiasm, enrollment, commitment to "doing right by each individual child" took a nosedive. Leadership is all but non-existent; teacher morale is low while teacher attrition is high; the remaining staff seems to play musical chairs every year. It is sad because the school has so much potential. Ask any parent from years prior and currently enrolled. The difference is dismally palpable. Enrollment has decreased dramatically, despite the well-rehearsed spin the front office may place. However, ask any former student or parent of a student who has left Wood Ares, and they will say it is the best decision they ever made. No one ever comes back. --It is truly a shame. The school WAS great.
I LOVE Wood Acres. Our children are very communicative, high physical energy, enthusiastic, traits basically unwelcome in most schools. We've tried public and private over the years; we've even switched schools mid-year. Finally, we have found a school where they are most welcome. It's a relief that our kids have students/friends who have the same needs as ours! The added bonus is that as they are getting into the higher grades, the class sizes are getting smaller. Less that 10 per class. Only 1 class for the 8th grade with only 6 students--you can't beat that!! I also am grateful that teachers will call if they suspect my child has forgotten to take meds. What a find!
The Wood Acres School is only a place for certain people. If very small classes ( as low as 6 in the upper school ) is what you want, then Wood Acres is a fine school for you. But I myself have not been pleased with what I have gotten out of this school. The children, especially in the upper grades, lack disipline and everyday students are hurt by others. And the teachers only let this slip by. They try to enforce friendliness, but I believe they have failed. If you want to save money and tears, do not go to this dissapointing school.
My son has attended Wood Acres for K-3rd (current) and we plan to stay! Wood Acres has a challenging curriculum that works to encourage critical thinking skills and a love of learning. Class size is small, the faculty is extraordinary, and the cooperative atmosphere is outstanding. I love the fact that each year all classes in my son's grades are working on the same material -- no need to worry that you'll end the year behind the curve. I have always found everyone -- classroom teachers, specials faculty, and the administration -- open to my questions and concerns. .
When you step out of your car, you can feel the welcoming sense of warmth, comfort and family. Our children are part of a school community that focuses on high achievement with an emphasis on the enjoyment of learning. Not only are our girls growing academically, they are developing a passion for knowledge. Our 1st grader can't wait to get to school in the morning and she comes home talking passionately about her day. The teachers have made the challenging curriculum fun and engaging. Wood Acres is a special place for children to grow and learn. Judy Thigpen is a very smart lady who is genuinely interested in the academic and social development of her students. Upon meeting her, you can immediately recognize her passion for education. We take comfort in knowing that our children are learning in an environment full of involved parents, caring teachers and outstanding leadership.
Wood Acres is just wonderful. All my children have attended the school since they were toddlers and now, with the opening of the middle school, wood acres is living up to our expectations. we love the academics, we love the positive attitude, we love the extras, we just love the fact that it's now an international spanish academy! my middle school child loves learning and loves going to to school and loves wood acres! we will be sad when we have to leave for high school. we could not be happier!
This is our 7th year at Wood Acres. Both of our children love going to school each and every day. We have had fantastic teachers who go above and beyond to make sure our children are learning and being challenged. I know a big complaint of WA is lack of parent involvement. I disagree with this. My children are there to learn from the teachers at WA, not from other parents. The class sizes are very small, so I do not see where parent involvement is needed. My kids cannot imagine going to school anywhere else!
Wood Acres is a wonderful school! My daughter has been challenged and motivated to do her best. We love the science program because it is hands-on. The teachers are excellent, and the families are wonderful.
Anyone who has attended Wood Acres, or knows a Wood Acres family is well aware of the school's excellence. If you are looking for a school where your child will meet their academic potential, while enjoying all the joys, wonderment, and innocence of childhood this is the school for you. Mrs. Thigpen, the administration, and all of the teachers are true professionals. Warm and compassionate, they have always made themselves available to me. The class size is small, the academics are advanced, and the opportunity to learn spanish, computer, & economics at such a young age is truly unique. We have been a Wood Acres Family for 7 years, there is no other school like it! My kids look forward to going to school everyday! It has been a perfect fit for our family, and made my job as a parent so much easier.
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