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Sparhawk School

Private | PK-12 | 150 students

We are the premier independent progressive school on Boston's North Shore
 
 

 
 

Living in Amesbury

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $198,400. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,140.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 4 ratings
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 10 ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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45 reviews of this school


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Posted September 4, 2014

Academics were a disappointment. It was very difficult to discern true performance: We rarely saw any in-class work, and there s no homework. Sparhawk places great emphasis on art and does that well. Outside of art, the curriculum is limited. For example, a yearlong science project focused on local bird habitats and basic facts while ignoring the essence of scientific discovery. It was more important to be able to draw a bird than to characterize a bird. Foreign language is taught but not well. You ll learn most of the kitchen utensils, but not even the simplest of sentences (e.g., My friend s name is John.) Communication, be it teacher to student or teacher/administrator to parent, is poor. We found the school s leadership capricious, reactive and lacking integrity. If your child is not predictable and composed, this NOT THE PLACE. The administration is intolerant of children who show any form of externalizing behavior (e.g., crying, emotional responses). Those who plan to transition to public school should expect to be behind peers, as Sparhawk doesn t hold students accountable for learning. Finally, if you leave mid-year for any reason, you still owe the full year's tuition.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 13, 2014

We have three children who have thrived at Sparhawk School over the past 11 yrs, one exceptionally gifted, one musical and kinesthetic with ADHD, and one a quiet, observational learner. Each has been nurtured at Sparhawk, as a learner and as a person, and each has learned to love learning, make good friends, and want to engage with big ideas. Their very diverse needs as students were met through Sparhawk's differentiated approach to curriculum, and the math whiz, the artist, and the science/ELA lover were all challenged and nurtured at the school. The artist is graduating from college next weekend, and I attribute this in no small part to the love and support of the teachers at Sparhawk, and their responsiveness to the way HE learned. The math whiz is at college, forging a path towards sustainable energy and building small, zero impact housing. Sparhawk taught my children to envision a future of limitless possibilities and a commitment to positive social change, and gave them the skills to pursue their goals. The science/ELA lover is in middle school, still loving learning and school. Who will she be? I don't know, but I trust that, at Sparhawk, she'll be the one to decide.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 5, 2014

My son attended Sparhawk School for four years. He forged bonds with teachers, administrators, and fellow students and learned that school can be a positive and healthy place, rather than a drudgery. The Sparhawk Middle School and High school experience taught him to use his creative thinking, trust his writing and math skills and to build upon and improve those skills. He worked hard and learned so much while at Sparhawk. He appreciated the opportunities available to him in math, drama, music, and writing and learned so much from 8th Grade Speech and Novice Synthesis. The school does a very good job keeping class sizes small, but as a result the social scene is smaller. I wish this school could increase the number of students in attendance so that there is a broader peer base. We felt like we were in a caring community and currently stay in touch as often as we are able. As parents, we were in control of how involved we were- we helped PTO, gave presentations in the classroom, and helped out the drama program. It is a great place!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 24, 2014

My families experience with Sparhawk School has been exactly what I had hoped it would be. My son is in his second year with the school, and he is absolutely thriving. He is not only excelling academically with their dynamic curriculum, he is excited to go to school and absolutely loves it. In a day and age when so many schools are cutting back on their art and music programs, it's refreshing to find a school that emphasizes their importance. The teachers are thoughtful, kind and dedicated to creating the loving community that truly feels like home. Every day when I pick up my son, his reacher takes the time to engage with me and share at least one special moment from the day. In addition I often receive photos in my email showcasing his classes adventures. I can not say enough positive things about this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 13, 2013

You can see from the reviews that this school is somewhat polarizing. That's because Sparhawk is great for some kids and parents and not for others. If your child is having a hard time firing into the public system or a larger school Sparhawk can be a great place for them to learn and thrive - in particular the High School or Lower School. As with most schools, the Middle School is the most problematic for many reasons but again, including teaching and leadership quality and a lack of process around disciplinary procedures but some kids and parent thrive there. Parents can get as involved as they like - this is encouraged - but if your child hits a roadblock communication with parents, throughout is weak. We have had mixed experiences there so really I would encourage a visit to the school and decide for yourself.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 9, 2013

I taught at Sparhawk for many years and then I left to publish books and consult in the field of education. After visiting dozens of schools over the past few years, I can confidently say that Sparhawk is an amazing place for teaching and learning. The teachers are there to help students on a deep level, but that means that the students must be committed to the learning process. The complaints about the school that I have read translate to the idea that some students just want to glide through school without actually challenging themselves as academics. Sparhawk is designed to "Celebrate Ideas" and "Honor Children." This means that students are given every chance, every individualized chance to be successful. Whether they (or the families) take advantage of powerful learning or not, is up to the student. I have been to dozens and dozens of schools as a consultant in the past three years, and I have never come across a better school. People who want more should choose Sparhawk. Period.


Posted November 9, 2012

There are not words that can describe sparhawk school the teachers are all kind and have a genuine understanding and respect for kids! The schools academics are out standing and it is a shame all kids dont get this kind of learning experience. Having been to sparkawk school i know first hand that it was the best school experience of my life. possibly one of the most important over all experience of my life!


Posted September 18, 2012

A truly inspiring school where teachers love teaching and children are part of a community surrounded by respect and encouragement. My son is highly motivated in part because his teachers never fail to challenge him or encourage him to take risks. A nurturing enviornment for all learning styles and backgrounds. I am also thrilled with Sparhawk's assistance with college applications and the entire process.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 22, 2012

I recently changed schools and let me tell you that this school was AWFUL. I am back with normal people and I have been getting much better grades since I transfered! The people here were very suspicious...the teachers would converse with the SOME students and give them chances to make up papers or turn in a paper a day late and still get credit.That didnt happen to all students though, only a "special" few. The staff have weekly meetings and gossip, gossip, gossip about students, parents etc. If you walk the wrong way they will all talk about it. (not litterally) Basically what im trying to say is if you go to this school theres going to be alot of gossip. Not only that but the students are very, very, arrogant. People probably dont read these reviews, but I hope they do. There is nothing good about this school. And this is a student writing this.


Posted July 24, 2012

The parent posting in regards to students wearing slippers is likely referring to the blatant disregard for basic health needs such as having students in slippers when the heat has stopped working, children out in the cold and rain without appropriate attire. The comments referring to the school as tolerant are not credible. Children are often unsupervised as teachers flock together and chat. My own child was bullied there extensively. The lack of quality in the academic experience there for my child was shocking. We have since switched to a private school with a long history of excellence in academics and an appropriate and kind culture. I would send my child anywhere but here. I also spent a significant amount of time at the Sparhawk campus when my child was enrolled.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 19, 2012

My child recently completed 8 years of schooling at the Sparhawk School. I can t imagine a better place for a child to grow up, learn and become the quality of human beings that our world needs more of. He is a respectful, thoughtful, curious, intelligent and tolerant child, all of which were qualities nurtured at Sparhawk. Sparhawk breeds tolerant individuals who are independent thinkers as well as strong community members. Sparhawk also provides dynamic curriculum that both challenged my child and made learning interesting and engaging. The director of the school is infinitely versed in child development, as are the faculty. I felt the school was always an extension of our home, in that, the people that my child was in the hands every day deeply cared about his social, emotional and academic growth just as much as I did. The administration and faculty works tirelessly to provide a healthy and holistic experience for each child and are always on hand to field questions and concerns along the way. The 8 years my child spent at Sparhawk were 8 of the most positive and enriching years of my child s (and consequently our family s) life.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 16, 2012

Here is the difference between a Sparhawk student and the parent who previously posted: A Sparhawk student judges people by the content of his or her character, not by what he or she is wearing. Those slipper wearing students are loving, kind, creative thinking individuals who go on to college prepared to be successful citizens and engaged learners. Shame on that parent who can't see beyond a student's style to the person inside. Shame on an adult picking on a child. I am a Sparhawk teacher and my "pajama wearing" students are wonderful!
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted July 13, 2012

I hope people these reviews before sending their child here. The school lacks stability as stated below. Usually they are wearing pajamas occasionally slippers. To say that I am horrified is putting it mildly.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 12, 2012

My daughter is a high school student at Sparhawk, and what a difference this school and the teachers have made in her life. I feel like I have my daughter back, she is interested in learning again and is excelling as a result. I witnessed my daughter become a leader, speaker, writer, researcher, and uplifter -- all of these qualities I knew where inside her, but had disappeared in public school. It is the focused themed learning modules that I think made all the difference in my daughter's life as a high school student at Sparhawk.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 12, 2012

My child has never been happier! The teachers have a professionalism and caring that is boundless. The students are creative thinkers and who are so very kind. We recommend this school wholeheartedly.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 15, 2012

I continues to amaze me that a parent/student who is not doing well always blames the school or the teachers. The teachers at Sparhawk have office hours everyday from 3 to 3:30 and any student who is struggling is encouraged to come for extra help. It is NOT a state requirement for teachers to stay after school, but the teachers at Sparhawk do stay everyday. Sparhawk is a wonderful environment with students who are bright and love learning. The staff are caring and always willing to go the extra mile. Please do come in and tour the school and see all that Sparhawk can offer your child as well as your family.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted December 12, 2011

This school is built up to be the "Best community to grow up in, where nobody judges each other and everyone gets along, and the teachers know how to talk proper English. I m not trying to be rude and pick on Sparhawk but one time in my history class the teacher gave us a worksheet with about ten spelling errors on it. I know people can make mistakes but this teacher makes way too many. The teachers give a hard time about staying after or giving extra help. It is a state requirement for all teachers to stay after and unfortunately Sparhawk didn t comply. It seemed like an effort for these teachers just to take 10-15 minutes out of their lunch or after school to help me. The students aren t the worst but they sure are "different" and everyone has their own group of friends that they hang out with. I was getting a C average in my history class but nobody communicated with me or my parents.The teachers need better communication. I suggest you tour the school and see the students and teachers before making any decisions whether you or your child should go here. I have only a few more months then I m going back sane people.


Posted August 11, 2011

It is obvious that the previous reviewer does NOT have a child at Sparhawk School. If he/she did, then that review would never have been written. It infuriates me to have such drivel misrepresent our school, especially when written by someone who has no firsthand knowledge! I am a parent of a Sparhawk high school student, as well as a public school teacher. I cannot express enough what a difference this school has made for my daughter. She began in the eighth grade and will enter her junior year in September. SInce coming to Sparhawk she has grown tremendously, both academically and personally. Sparhawk is a school that educates the whole child. Its students are confident, well-spoken and well-mannered critical-thinkers. They can analyze and debate a wide range of subjects. Each one is recognized and nurtured for their individual talents.Classes are run like college seminars. Students' opinions are respected and encouraged. There is not enough room permitted here to include all of the gifts this school offers. If you want a true review of the school, go see for yourself. Take a tour. Meet the students. They are the best representation of what Sparhawk School is all about.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 8, 2010

Since enrolling 2+ years ago, the transformation in my oldest (he began in 4th grade) has been phenomenal. Prior to Sparhawk, he was trying to survive a culture of bullies & academic dysfunction, where the smart & academically interested were neglected at best. At Sparhawk, in addition to the vastly improved academics, they really mean it about being a culture of kindness. There was no question about sending my second child, who is also thriving in this environment. Each of my children is now incredibly independent and responsible, their interest in learning is encouraged - learning is cool at Sparhawk - and their self-confidence is through the roof. Student-teacher ratios are better here than anywhere I know, and teachers teach to varied learning styles, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a child to "fall through the cracks." I could go on and on. Sufficed to say, we are extremely happy here.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 7, 2010

Great kids, great teachers, what more could one ask? Since she started at Sparhawk, my daughter has been happier than I have ever see her since she started school. She has blossomed academically and she is always eager to go to school to see her friends and get back to whatever wonderful project she is working on at the time. My girl is bright and she is never bored now. The groups are so small that staff really get to know the kids and they can give them individual attention. Teachers and administration listen whenever my husband or I have questions. I feel respected as does my child. What more could anyone ask for. I am thankful for Sparhawk.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

What is the GreatSchools Rating?

The GreatSchools rating is a simple tool for parents to compare schools based on test scores, student academic growth, and college readiness. It compares schools across the state, where the highest rated schools in the state are designated as “Above Average” and the lowest “Below Average.” It is designed to be a starting point to help parents make baseline comparisons. We always advise parents to visit the school and consider other information on school performance and programs, as well as consider their child's and family's needs as part of the school selection process.

 
 

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

Unfortunately, this school doesn't have sufficient data to generate an academic rating.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 99% 67%
Black 1% 8%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 0% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Hispanic 0% 16%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

College readiness and student pathways

Students typically attend these schools prior to attending this school Montessori
Public
Independent
Percentage of students going to 4-year college 100% (2013)
Colleges most students attend after graduation Hampshire College
Eckerd College
Suffolk University
Read more about resources at this school
Source: Manually entered by a school official.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
College counselor(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Dance teacher(s)
ELL/ESL Coordinator
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Reading specialist(s)
Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School social worker/counselors(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff American sign language
Chinese (Mandarin)
French
Italian
Spanish
Latin, Greek, Portuguese,
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Industrial shop
  • Science lab
Visual arts
  • Architecture
Clubs
  • Robotics club
  • Science club

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Visual arts
Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Architecture
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Rock band
  • Theory
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Poetry
Clubs
  • Art club
  • Drama club
  • Literary magazine
  • Woodshop
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Foreign languages
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • Immersion for Boarding Students
Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • Independent Study
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Staff resources available to students
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • Italian
  • Latin, Greek, Portuguese,
  • Spanish
Clubs
  • Foreign language and culture club

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
Clubs
  • Cooking club
  • Yoga club

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Advanced placement courses
  • Honors track
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
  • Community college courses
  • SAT/ACT prep classes
  • School-sponsored trips to college campuses
  • TOEFL Prep Courses
  • Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
Clubs
  • Debate
  • National Honor Society
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 8:00 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 5:30 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Louise Stilphen
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Some boarding, some day
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NIPSA
Fax number
  • (978) 499-4303

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Advanced placement courses
  • College prep
  • Honors track
  • Hybrid
  • Independent Study
  • Individually guided instruction
  • Internships
  • Montessori
  • Multi-aged
  • Project-based
  • Reggio Emilia
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Foreign languages
  • Global
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Visual arts
  • Writing
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • Immersion for Boarding Students
Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • Independent Study
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Vocational or skills-based training offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • College counselor(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
  • School social worker/counselors(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • Italian
  • Latin, Greek, Portuguese,
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Career/college counseling
  • Counseling
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
  • Community college courses
  • SAT/ACT prep classes
  • School-sponsored trips to college campuses
  • TOEFL Prep Courses
  • Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
  • Parent Carpool
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Auditorium
  • College/career center
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Industrial shop
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
Girls sports
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Architecture
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Rock band
  • Theory
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Amnesty international
  • Art club
  • Book/reading club
  • Chess club
  • Community service
  • Cooking club
  • Debate
  • Drama club
  • Foreign language and culture club
  • Lesbian, gay, transgender club
  • Literary magazine
  • National Honor Society
  • Robotics club
  • Science club
  • Student council/government
  • Woodshop
  • Yearbook
  • Yoga club
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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Photos

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Tutor
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Sparhawk is the premier independent progressive day and boarding school on Boston's North Shore where the intellectual vitality of each student's educational experience is considered paramount. Valued above all else, students benefit from and have a responsibility to foster a culture of kindness. Sparhawk is a wonderful place to grow up.
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?

Students typically come from these schools
Montessori
Public
Independent

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2014-2015 school year
$13000 - $25000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid
Sallie Mae Loans

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Hampshire College
Eckerd College
Suffolk University
College preparation / awareness offered
College prep programs/courses during the year
College presentations or information sessions
Community college courses
SAT/ACT prep classes
School-sponsored trips to college campuses
Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
TOEFL Prep Courses
Students' post-graduation plans in 2013
4 year college - 100%
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

Upper School 196 Main St, Lower School 259 Elm St.
Amesbury, MA 01913
Website: Click here
Phone: (978) 388-5354

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