I agree with the comment "There is a heavy patina of Old Baltimore money..". We had multiple children attend this school from Pre-K through middle school. GRADUALLY, the teacher quality slips from Pre-K through Middle. My child who is no superstar, did extremely well, and did not find it super competitive. The Math dept is pitiful, barring ONE teacher. The school clamors about diversity, but thwarts any deviations from WASPiness, a culture driven down from the Board of Trustees who are the "Old money". A middle school principal who was assertive enough to try to change the school culture was helped out of the school. If your child has special needs, don't even consider going there. There are no tools for evaluating special needs, let alone provide any accommodations. If you have plenty of money and don't care whether your kids are nice or nasty, then this is the place for you. Not a great experience overall.
I went to Calvert from Pilot (Pre-K) to fifth grade, and I loved the lower school. I went to school every day ready to learn and totally engaged in what I was doing. Although some of the older, by-the-book teachers seem strict, I feel I learned so much from my days at Calvert lower school. However, the middle school seemed lacking. My first and only year in the middle school was miserable. I was bullied by classmates for not fitting the stereotypical Calvert mold (think preppy, rich, and a bit exclusive). I was assigned to a homeroom with a teacher that I would certainly say bullied students. I find that there is a line between being a strict teacher and being a teacher that has a tendency towards cruelty, and she straddled if not completely crossed that line. Other than that, the faculty was very good and quite knowledgeable. I just wish there were more art options and less of a focus on sports in middle school. It is hard to fit in to the middle school if you are not athletic, as almost everyone there plays sports all three seasons. Overall, however, my experience at the lower school provided me with a one-of-a-kind elite education.
You cannot do better for your child. The curriculum is structured and rigorous, but also embraces individual exploration and creativity. I like the focus on written and oral communication -- skills sorely lacking among many young people today. I must respectfully disagree with one parent's characterization of the school community as "snobby." I have not found it to be so, and I do not come from a privileged background. There are many hard-working families who, like mine, make considerable sacrifices in order to send our kids to the school. In addition, I have found all of the families, regardless of income and social status, warm and engaging. I recommend the school without reservation.
For able, motivated kids, this is a great place. Highly committed teachers, a very tight curriculum, wonderful emphasis on some of the lost arts like grammar and geography. Calvert is serious about its commitment to diversity and has put its money where its mouth is. I've had two very different children here and both have been well served.
There is a heavy patina of Old Baltimore money at this school, the culture is a competitive one, the atmosphere is formal, and students are trained more than nurtured. Assuming that your child is a little Spartan, though, he or she will be more than prepared by the Calvert experience to go on to any high school or college, and will have pretty good manners, too.
Perhaps the most challenging middle school in Baltimore -- Hyper-competitive in academics and to a lesser degree sports. The facilities and faculty are top-notch ... the only thing that could make it better would be to get rid of the snobby, clickish parents and their kids. Probably not a good place to 'transfer' from another school because it is so tight knit.
As a former student, I found that because the middle school at Calvert is so new (the first full year was 2003), they are in general not as organized or coordinated as other private schools in the area. This is also due to the small number of teachers and students. One benefit to this is the very small class sizes. I would often have classes with less than ten students in them. However, the arts programs are completely phoned in, and much more emphasis is placed on athletics, although not as much as a school like Gilman or Boys Latin. I had few teachers I liked and many I disliked. There is very little diversity in the student body. They've gone through three middle school heads in the past four years. I wasn't miserable there but there are better schools in the area.
Excellent Curriculum if child can be placed in the right grade. PTA that never has official meeting, just parties and wine tasting. Grades by age, which may make children transferring in from other schools to be held back. Withdrew my child from day school and looking into day school curriculum to supplement his current institution.
I was home schooled for the better part of my life. My family was one of the first in NJ to home school without a paid tutor (my mother served as our instructor). The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and I ended up graduating second in my high school class, and received a full-tuition academic scholarchip to a liberal arts college in NJ. I credit much of my success to my mother's dedication to instructing me so diligently over the years and to the excellent academic program available for home schoolers through Calvert. Clearly, this program helped me to excel far above my peers at an early age. Thankfully, the quality of the Calvert program has not changed over the years and I am supplementing my own childrens' education with materials from Calvert. I highly recommend this institution to anyone considering it for their home schooling needs.
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