The bullying is intense among the girls and in our case was encouraged by the teacher who negatively singled out our child in front of the class frequently, even holding her work up to the rest of the class to see a "bad example". The year our daughter attended in Mt. Bethel, she was an emotional mess, crying when she got home, nightmares, low self esteem. It was recommended by my daughters PEDIATRICIAN that we remove her from the source of the stress as the child was experiencing extreme anxiety. Our child had straight A's at her previous private school, no behavioral issues, tested fine & was happy. Now we have moved away from Mt. Bethel, she is is back to straight A's, all is well again, no issue. This never should have happened. Worse... being it's a private school..we PAID them to do this to our daughter. Horrible. The year our daughter attended in Mt. Bethel, she was an emotional mess, crying when she got home, nightmares, low self esteem. It was recommended by my daughters PEDIATRICIAN that we remove her from the source of the stress as the child was experiencing extreme anxiety.
I attended this school 3rd grade through 8th, and moved schools for high school. Now that I am going to college, I feel that I should make a review of MBCA. Although the lower school isn't horrible, it isn't excellent. What I really have to warn you about is the middle school. This school is designed for the "cookie cutter" child; they allow no room for creativity, and do not know how to handle creative kids. They also have a huge problem with diversity, and when I say that, I mean acceptance of others from other cultures/races, and teaching acceptance. I was constantly bullied for my background (middle eastern), and I remember other kids getting bullied for their ethnicities as well. To make matters worse, I was not allowed to go on the class trip to washington DC because, and I quote, I "would cause a problem in airport security". I only remember two teachers who were genuinely kind to me. I do not recommend this as a school whatsoever. Middle school might only be a short time in student's lives, but I will never forget it. Not only am I speaking for myself, but I remember other classmates having to go through the same experience.
I do agree bullying does start in 4th grade. I remember always getting made fun of because I was a different race. It kind of dies a little down when you reach middle school. I moved to a public school last year and I feel this is a better environment anyway. Also I am also very unhappy with the lunches. Not that they are bad but the quantity! They only let you have 2 cheese sticks and no seconds! Sometimes I say to myself I payed $12,000 for this? Why just save your money and go to a public school. This school is not very religious either. So I dont understand.
LOVE this school! I have spoken with many graduates going to both public and private high schools and they have all thought they were very prepared for high school from MBCA. Our family has been there for 6 years. Incredible faculty who really care about your student. Two teachers per grade until middle school, top class size is 22, so 11/1 ratio. Incredible academics, great athletics, spanish and latin. 5th graders and up have their own laptops. in art, the children learn about famous artists, in music, they learn about composers. I get a chill every time I leave thinking about the positive environment my kids are in. No girl drama yet and I have one in 5th....the children love each other and support each other. Amazing!!
We chose this school over our excellent local public school because we wanted smaller class sizes in a Christian setting. After now being at MBCA for 8 years (currently have a 7th and a 5th grader), we have been overwhemingly pleased. Our children are academically-challenged, growing Christians. There are certainly situations where things have not been ideal for some families (however I have never heard of or experience some of the extreme situations mentioned here). The school has not been traditionally equipped to teach children with learning disabilities - but we now do have a specialist on-board. The communication has not always been wonderful but has improved. We have always had excellent, caring teachers and we love having a parapro in every classroom. The new Headmaster (this is his 2nd year) has been terrific for the school. We plan to probably go to public high school and feel that MBCA has prepared and grounded our children so that they can meet the challenges of high school, college, and beyond. Overall, I highly recommend MBCA and would not change our decision.
Our family was at Mt. Bethel for two years. Lack of communication was frustrating. As a family we found ourselves "out of the loop" frequently. Parents are responsible for reading teachers blog each day. Our teachers never posted at the same time each day, which added to the confusion. Other times teachers never got to it.. There is also a school blog that is different from the teacher blog that you must keep up with too. Several occasions the school closed early for inclement weather, in those cases an email went out. If you were not at a computer or have an electronic devise to alert you on incoming emails...you were left out of loop and received disgruntled call from staff to pick your child after the fact. [Sigh.] The children, myself and my spouse were relieved to move to a school district that still sends home notes and does not assume the whole world has iphones attached to their heads.
My association with Mt. Bethel Christian Academy dates back to 1998, before our first student crossed the threshhold. From that day forward, my passion for the mission and philosophy that formed the foundation of the Academy has not waivered. God has truly blessed me by allowing me the opportunity to grow both professionally and spiritually through my position with MBCA. My position as Director of Admission and Marketing has given me the opportunity to promote the growth of this extraordinary school. It has been a joyous ride and I am truly inspired by the level of professionalism and integrity that is reflected everyday by staff, faculty, and families.
Our child attended only a year. Very disappointed. The schools emphasis is on THEIR RATING, NOT YOUR CHILD. If your child scores a D in the same subject two semesters in a row, or scores two D's in one semester, they are asked to leave. If your child is discovered to have any kind of dyslexia or ADD, no matter how slight, they are asked to leave. If your child does not leave, the faculty make your childs stay unhappy, singling them out, saying negative things to and about them in front of the class. They are held to a higher standard than the other children and, at least in our case, snap under the pressure. We have had feedback from several other families who either left or are leaving based on this same situation. We were also informed point blank that Mt. Bethel pretest (for admission process), is to screen out students with potential disabilities, and told, regarding our child, "We don't take his kind." By the time we left I was unsure whether to call Family & Child Services to report emotional abuse, or call the American with Disabilities organization. NO other school has this kind of policy... but at least it keeps Mt. Bethel high on the rating system.
Now that my children attend another school, I can look back and say that, for us, this school lacked a communicative sense of teamwork between parents, students, and school. It was a culture issue for us, but basically, unless something was wrong, I found communication between administration/teachers and parents to be skimpy and mostly one way. As a parent, I found it challenging to independently follow what my child was doing (just to have a starting point for conversation) as there were no teacher websites -- at least not when we were there -- and few parent volunteer/interactive activities, etc. As for the kids, we found it to be cliquey here. Sports is VERY competitive. Some of the teachers play favorites. The sense of teamwork and fun was just not there for my children. To add to this, I felt intimidated if I spoke up about any concerns. I did not get a sense that my input was respected or welcome. Academically, I would say that the smaller class sizes were nice. The facilities -- very clean.
I have a 5th grader and an 8th grader who have both been at Mt. Bethel since Kindergarten and we couldn't be happier! I read some of the previous posts about bullying and would like to comment that, yes, there may have been a problem with it IN THE PAST under prior leadership, but I can assure you the problem has been taken care of with our new Head of School. Bullying is a thing of the past and will not be tolerated at Mt. Bethel. As far as the curriculum not being challenging enough - I have to disagree with this, too. With our school only going to 8th grade, there are obviously MANY high schools that our 8th graders apply to. Our students have no problem gettng accepted into any of the private or public schools to which they apply. In the majority of cases, they are placed in honors/AP classes. The class sizes at Mt. Bethel are small, so it is easier to get individual attention. The lower school classes actually have a lead teacher and a parapro in each classroom. I whole-heartedly recommend MBCA - I am going to be sad to see my 8th grader leave.
My opinion, just one - this school has difficulty getting the best out of a variety of students -- really bright kids don't get pushed enough and help is limited for kids that struggle. It's a narrow fit. The culture is repressive. More disappointing is the response you get as a parent when issues arise or you want to give feedback. Instead of listening to ideas, they act as if they can do no wrong here.
I am a parent with children in both the lower and middle school divisions. Recent posts which question the curriculum and academic program do not reflect my experience at all. Quite the contrary, my oldest, an 8th grader, has been exceptionally well-prepared and, in fact, and has been accepted into Westminster and Holy Innocents for high school next year. The school underwent a (much needed) change in leadership this past year and the new Headmaster has made excellent progress in addressing concerns around bullying and returning the school to the founding principles that attracted us to it in the beginning. We couldn't be happier with Mt. Bethel and recommend it often.
We have had a great experience in the Lower School. However, I have also seen the bullying start in the 4th grade. We have had no direct contact with it, but it is easy to see, and seems to be ignored by the school. The Middle School has not been a good experience at all. A large number of students are competitive, mean-spirited, and unwelcoming. The curriculum is inconsistent. So much attention is given to technology, that curriculum and learning is secondary. Bullying is either ignored, accepted, or given lip-service.
I am in 8th grade at MBCA, and i can easily say that it is the best school I have ever attended. Amazing teachers. Killer Athletics. (Back-to-Back NAML Cup Champs!) Great kids. Caring principal. I could go on and on. My teachers could not be more supportive. I am extremely involved in extra-curricular activities at Mt. Bethel, and my teachers still help me stay on top of my grades. MBCA is the best private school in Cobb County, GO EAGLES! :)
Best decision I've ever made for my children's education...and we came from a large private school in Buckhead. r
MBCA is an incredible school. Over the last 5 years, we have been so impressed with both our amazing teachers and the other parents and families that attend. It has been a huge blessing, and our kids have thrived in it's value oriented, character building environment. It's worth every penny and then some.
Bullying starts in 4th grade. Look out next year. As for him leaving for a better school - nice spin, but there were LOTS of complaints about that. Problem is that with the closed hierarchy there such things are NEVER discussed or revealed. Basically if you do not know the "founder" of the school you are an outsider. Genuinely hope the new head of school does a great job fixing things!
I have to respond to the most recent review of our school. I have not heard of any bullying at this point and my child is a rising 4th grader. I have been so pleased with the school, the staff and the enviornment. My child feels truly treasured by his teachers and is flourishing. He has met many wonderful friends. From my understanding, the old head of school quit to go to another school that has a highschool. I am looking forward to our new head of school and what he has to offer. I was truly upset when the old head of school left, I thought he was doing a great job, but I understand he was leaving for a "promotion" . It is a wonderful place to send your kids. My younger son starts kindergarten next year.
My opinions, your mileage may vary. The school looks great, good neighborhood, beautiful buildings, and clean, well-dressed kids. The Art program is absolutely fantastic! There are some truly great teachers in the lower school, but there are also some who.....well, should have retired a while ago. The biggest problem is that the leadership acts as if they and their staff can NEVER do anything wrong. There is a problem with bullying in the 4th-5th and up grades. The School Board is a closed group whose meeting schedule isn't even posted anywhere. They just fired one head of school and did a hurried hire at the end of the year for a new one. Good luck to him and to the school.
We were surprised to find such an excellent alternative in private education that emphasizes both the academic excellence and Christian world-view. MBCA is doing a great job partnering with us to raise our kids.
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