Prior poster is correct that half of the eighth grade class left last year but its because they did very well and placed into selective enrollment schools (SES). The high school is new, small and the building is at capacity. There is no room for high school students and the school is addressing this by building a new facility. The prior poster did not say how long her children were at British, but parents who left at 8th grade were happy with the education their children received.
i had to pull 2 kids out of this school! One in high school and one in elementary school. Both now go to American schools and were behind in their learning at first because of the dramatic differences between the British and American system. We had to get tutors for both and I know that about half of the 8th grade class left last year. We, as parents were also extremely disappointed with the school's lack of parent support. I do not recommend this school to anybody.
Our daughter is half way through her first year (she started at BSC in 4th grade). While I believed the school to be one of the best, I did not think that it could live up to its PR. But it is as good as everyone says, and better. The teachers are exceptional, bright, enthusiastic, energetic. They are all recruited from the UK to teach at this school and what they do seems to be more than just a job to them. There actually IS individual learning, and our daughter has benefited enornously. What we wanted for our daughter was to learn "a love of learning" and she is getting that. At our our parent conference after the first term, the teacher seemed to understand our child and what motivates her to learn, almost as well as we do. The curriculum is quite advanced, there is caring discipline. I agree that children are not assessed in the U.S. conventional way (A,B,C..). A child is measured in terms of his or her own progress in particular suject over the course of the year. We have found it helpful, but as importantly, our daughter finds it helpful in determining what she needs to work on. The international atmosphere can not be found in any other school in chicago.
Our child goes to BSC and is 4 yrs old. He has been writing and reading (at length) for quite some time now. He has private music lessons at the academy and is flourishing in his foreign language skills. He has weekly (appropriate yet challenging) homework as a Pre K age student. The math, analytical, language, phonics and science exercises etc. are all superb. In Reception, age 4, these kids are being taught from a curriculum similar to what other children are learning a year or two older in other schools. Our child is excelling and soaking up all that he is being exposed to at this young age. BSC understands that very young children are primed to learn and these educators create a top-notch learning environment with exposure to a high level of academia, which in turn gives these children great confidence from their abilities and knowledge. We chose BSC over other great Chi schools because of their advanced curriculum, discipline for learning and their professionalism in education. The teachers are beyond nurturing and we feel so lucky to have found this gem. We know this school will positively influence the outcome of our child s future and his opportunities in life.
I went to this school for years 8 and 9, to say that this school was awful would be an understatement. True there was two or three very good teachers, but the rest didn't really care much for the students. My grades dropped in the two years I was there. Don't send your students here, they wont benefit at all.
The school starts out well, and I recommend for K-6 education. The atmosphere is generally safe and welcoming, and we eventually came around to understanding how the children are assessed. However, as the school is already 10 years old but still has no real plan for Middle and High School education, you will be left in a lurch if you wait until 9th grade to figure this out. Our kids left at 7th grade, after years of being told the "high school would be built." The high school is not retaining kids because year after year the Private Equity guys that really run the school keep delaying the new facility. As for challenging academics, that is what they tell you, but you have no way of comparing because their grading system is based on UK norms (forget GPA or even knowing where they are vs peers). Individualized learning? Not really. It's fine in the lower school, but as they reach the upper school this becomes problematic. And the administration wants absolutely nothing to do with parents, who are seen as nothing more than "angry customers" if they dare to question what is going on. THey know they have 100 more nursery students lined up to take your place.
Our experience for both of our children has been excellent. I read a comment about the school being "soulless" and I don't think that's true. The comparisons to Lab, Latin and Parker are ridiculous. Lab gives most spots to professors of The University of Chicago. The school is run down and depressing. Parker and Latin give most spaces to children of alumni, that is why they are "selective", they don't have any space. Those children aren't "special", they're connected to the schools already. You should focus on the quality of the education for your child.
This school is truly outstanding. I have two children a boy and a girl at very different ages with very needs. The school is able to recognize the needs and interests of each child so that there is individual attention and teaching. The staff are so enthusiastic that these children learn without even knowing how much they are actually absorbing. I have heard rumors that this school is too academic - since when has striving for the best been a negative quality in school - is this not what we pay for and want for our children? My daughter is going into her 6th year and my son his 3rd year at the school and in those combined 7 years of being at this school, not once has either child told me that they did not want to go to school. I am so grateful to have this school in Chicago which has nurtured my children in all aspects of a true education. It is not just about books but a love of learning. The school has been criticized for not enough parental involvement. I totally disagree. There is ample opportunity for parents to be involved however there always needs to be balance. I do not want a few loud, pushy parents running the school.
We came to the British School four years ago. I had my reservations about the school because I did not know much about it, but I had heard such wonderful word of mouth that we gave it a try. Four years and two kids later, I cannot say enough good things about this place. I have been won over time and time again. The teachers are exceptional, firm and kind. The academics are challenging, but taught in a way that the kids don't even realize they are being taught. Teachers teach to individual students at their own pace. Teachers are accessible in person and via email. There are entire days dedicated to literature, science, math, even at the nursery level - and the children love it. They teach kids to be thinkers - this isn't the place for wrote memorization. Our older students are doing phenomenally on high school entrance exams - most scoring perfect scores. BSC is building a high school and it sounds phenomenal. It would be foolish not to consider this school when applying to other private schools. I realize the other private schools in the city have established reputations, but it shouldn't be long before BSC joins them.
Our daughter has excelled and is learning at a great pace. I like the structure and the caliber of teacher.
Last year when I was applying to schools, a BSC parent told me that what happens in the classroom at this school is magical. And now that we are half way through our first year, I have to agree. It sounds corny, but magical is the very best way to describe what happens with our kids at this school
My children are excelling at this school; they do not teach to the lowest common denominator, but differentiate the work in every subject, at every level. Although we have found a lovely house in the suburbs I simply can't find a school that comes even close to BSC in terms of curriculum or teacher involvement. These teachers and the teaching assistants are extremely dedicated to the children, class preparation and creating an engaging, fun learning environment.
We have been at BSC for 4 years. My son started in the nursery program at age 3 1/2. We have been extremely happy. He loves going to school every day which I think is so important at this age. His teachers have been loving but firm and what he has learned has been very impressive. I see steady progress and challenge all the time. It is hard to compare with other schools as we have only had this experience but we don't plan to change. It is expensive but I suspect once you add up the fundraising/extra expectations at other private schools, it is on par. Some parents have left to go into CPS gifted programs and I am not surprised their kids tested well given what they have learned. But frankly, seeing so much turmoil in the news everyday for CPS, seeing they get out at 1:45 every day and often only have a 4 day week, I think we are getting at least a couple added years of instruction over the course of elementary school if you project out that time. The leadership can be a bit tough to deal with if you have an issue but that is often the case at schools. They have a tough job growing a school from nothing and trying to balance many demands. I just see my son is happy.
We could not be happier with the teachers and nurturing environment at this school. Our daughter is in the pre-k or reception level and has done great! The curriculum is well organized and tailored to each child.
Are you kidding me. The family below left 6 years ago. Move on. BSC is one of the finest schools in the city. That fact they would not let you run it was a smart choice.
My daughter has been going to the BSC for three years and we continue to be very impressed. Here's some specific comments: - The curriculum is great - The teachers are great as well. - Classes are 20 students are less with a teacher and aid in every class. - The facilities are new. - There is covered, convenient parking right next to school - The other parents are great - With school uniforms, there is no pressure about outfits. - The tuition may be high, but we have had zero pressure to donate additional money - Great parent involvement - Introduction to second languages very young (French for four years and then Spanish) Overall, I think the BSC is one of Chicago's greatest hidden secrets.
While my educational expectations are largely met by the British School of Chicago, I regret to say that the 'educational experience' of my child has left me rather disappointed. While most of the teachers have been top notch, there have been several whom simply should be teaching elsewhere, if at all. Gender favoritism, Anti-religious diatribes, and an apparent disdain of children by certain teachers make me seriously consider whether the financial sacrifices I make to send my child to the BSC are presenting the best academic value for the dollars spent. In the past, attempts at seeking problem resolution with the headmaster, such as student bullying, or perceived abusive attitudes from faculty towards students, have been met with cavalier indifference to the issues. After discussing with other parents, we found a common proposed solution being: "Perhaps this isn't the school for your child"
I would have to agree that the school is excellent. Our daughter is doing so well and we could not be happier. The school offers plenty of opportunities for parent involvement.
I would definitely give the British School more than 3 stars. The education is world class. Students going the distance receive an International Baccalaureate degree giving them entree into the world's finest universities.
This school is fantastic! We could not expect more from a private school. This school is on par with top NYC private schools, and is much more affordable. Our daughter is thriving, and the staff are willing to work hard with your child when problems arise. Could not be happier! Our daughter is 3.5 and is reading books that first and second graders read. The classes are well structured, but it is still play-based. Why pay $$$ for a glorified day care?
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