I am saddened that I enrolled my child in this school. The rigorous testing that my child had to go through to get into the program, as well as the screening process was horrific for a 4 year old. Interestingly enough, the people on the admission board have BAs. Almost humiliating for a school that prides themselves on a high level of education. These people are NOT qualified to judge children. Children do NOT get in on their merits or IQ scores, rather who donates the most money etc.
The teachers single out the "top" children and put their efforts toward these children. The rest are forgotten. It's quite disturbing for a volunteeeing parent to observe in the classroom. I would NOT recommend this school as a parent of a child who attended this school,
Our children each attended ACS all of the ten years (Jr. K - 8th Group) available to them, and we all love the school. From collecting sap to boil down maple syrup to the 3rd Group overnight to Lake Geneva to the 8th Group trip to France, ACS provides a stimulating, invigorating learning experience. The administration is open and atune to parent concerns, and the staff is observant, energetic, and informed regarding student strengths and needs, allowing kids to accelerate where they are able. Art and music are safe at Avery Coonley, and creativity is encouraged at every level, 2nd graders having as much chance to win the photography contest as older students. My favorite aspect of the school is the family atmosphere of those older students' freely interacting with smaller children, bringing them along in the strong, vibrant traditions of ACS.
Our family loves The Avery Coonley School. Our daughter recently started kindergarten after having been in ACS’s Junior Kindergarten the year before. (Their “Early Childhood” programming starts at 3 years old.) We have been consistently in awe of the teachers’ depth of knowledge into children’s learning, especially as it applies to gifted children. Their emphasis on “educating the whole child”, particularly the social-emotional needs that are often unique to gifted children, is really quite amazing. And, the fact that our daughter will be among like-minded peers through 8th grade is immensely valuable. The newly renovated lower school is beautiful and modern while retaining the charms of the 100+ year old institution. It’s worth noting that our family comes from an entirely public-school background, but we have found the ACS community — parents, teachers, staff, and students — to be extremely warm, welcoming, positive, and down-to-earth. We’re thrilled to be part of this school community for years to come!
The teachers are absolutely top-notch. Our primary experience has been with the Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers, and we've come away from our interactions with them thinking that their knowledge of educating and raising children, especially gifted children, could fill volumes. Many of the teachers at ACS have been on staff for several years if not decades, which speaks highly to the quality of the faculty as well as the faculty-staff-parent relationships.
We chose The Avery Coonley School (ACS) because we believe the school teaches its students how to think and not what to think. Both my husband and I are professionals and cannot underestimate the importance of critical thinking skills, analytical rigor, and the pursuit of intellectual curiosity, both in the workplace but also in life. We believe ACS is a special place and it s magical watching our children grow as individuals here and knowing that their love of learning is flourishing.