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!
Yes -- our experience in both Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten is that persistence and determination are heavily, heavily emphasized. The teachers are keenly aware that many gifted kids are also extreme perfectionists, which can lead to a reduced willingness to take risks due to fear of failure. And so, considerable time and energy in the early years -- in ways both subtle and more obvious -- are spent trying to get kids to be more willing to take on challenges.
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.
If you have a chance to interact with the students at ACS, you'll be immediately struck by how polite, confident, and well spoken they all are. This is particularly true for the middle school kids, who, despite being teenagers, interact with adults in an extremely positive and respectful way. Character is certainly a point of emphasis in the ACS education.
Absolutely. One of my favorite recent ACS moments was watching several 8th grade students walk our kindergarten daughter over to the playground for one of her first days of before-school play. It was really touching to see these teenagers, who easily could have run off to talk or to play soccer, take the extra time to usher one of the new little kids into a staple of life at ACS.
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.
School is phenomenal. Teachers are committed, enthusiastic, and genuinely concerned about your child. Mr. Barton, head master, awesome and very involved. The students actually love to go to school and love to learn. There is mutual respect amongst the faculty and student. A very unique environment, conducive to learning. Worth every penny!