Pluses; - strong head of school - Cozy culture - Very enthusiastic parents - Some really good teachers Minuses; - Head of school is leaving (as is head of upper school) - Pretty protected. Not a lot of grit development - Parents seem to be more into the private school thing than true quality of education. - Inconsistent teacher quality (some pretty mediocre ones) - No capability to identify or treat any kind of learning disability- you are on your own
I have sent three very different children to BDS. Each has been nutured, pushed and encouraged to be self-motivated learners, while also being happy, successful, and nice. The school concentrates on the things you would expect -- strong academics, arts, and athletics -- and also on character, something that is important but not always emphasized in schools. Each of my children has gone off to wonderful independent secondary schools where they have felt well prepared and have done well socially and academically. Two have completed high school and moved on to colleges where they are self-motivated, engaged members of the community. As a parent who likes to be involved in my children's education, I have found BDS to be welcoming of parent involvement in many aspects of the community. We have been very pleased with the school head, faculty and coaches.
Wonderful school. Very strong academically, while being supportive and community oriented. My daughter loves going to school, loves learning and is challenged. She is very smart, curious, and social. The teachers and staff continue to surprise me with the lengths they go to for student development. We are so happy with this school.
Belmont Day School provides an incredibly thoughtful, dynamic, and rich approach to the education of our children. All students, in all grades, learn public speaking skills in class, in school assemblies, and for special presentations. All students learn leadership skills with the expectation of providing and receiving regular feedback to/from both classmates and teachers. All students learn communication skills and how to be good citizens of the school and larger community. They are provided with a safe environment and a way to learn the necessary soft skills to communicate and lead effectively. We appreciate the strong curriculum, the resources, the ability to serve different types of students, the athletic program, and a small student to teacher ratio. Lastly, we are impressed with the strong communication and interaction among faculty, students, administration, and parents, resulting in better decisions and quicker resolution of problems.
I have two children that have been students at the Belmont Day School and, while my children are very different from each other, they have both benefited greatly from the Belmont Day School. In addition to learning the basics reading, writing & arithmetic (which are taught very well) they have learned how to work in groups, how to conduct original research, how to analyze and think critically about information, and how to communicate effectively. My children have studied The Odyssey, Supreme Court decisions on civil rights, the 12-bar blues as a form of poetry, and genetics--the thoughtful teachers deliver a compelling curriculum. On top of its very strong academics, the school offers enriched athletics and arts programs. All of this wonderful learning is wrapped up in a bigger lesson about how to be a good member of a community. I think that it might be because of this strong focus on community that such a disproportionately large number of the Belmont Day School graduates, including my graduate, go on to take leadership roles in their high school governments and high school clubs and the Belmont Day School graduates are at all of the best high schools in New England.
Wonderful school. Broad and interesting curriculum, great teachers and staff, wonderful students, engaged community that seeks to include all. Have been especially impressed by how tuned in they are to the learning needs of all of their students, in particular boys (for instance allowing them to use alternative seating). The school doesn't just pay lip service to the school's core values - they are discussed and woven into every fabric of the school. The students are bright, warm hearted, joyful and fully invested in their school. The school works with parents to meet the needs of their child, and the school is open to feedback. Unlike some other schools they don't just assume that they know what is best for your child. My kids are excited to go to school every day. Wish I could have gone to a school like BDS.
My son is a HS student after spending his elementary years at BDS. He greatly enjoyed his years at BDS but he now seems astonished that he actually has to work hard for his grades and he sometimes resents putting in the needed effort (he's a B+ student). He agrees that his attitude was instilled by the "every child is wonderful and special" regardless of the quality of their work outlook at BDS. Instilling good self-esteem is important but so is instilling a strong work ethic and a rigorous curriculum--these latter 2 weren't done effectively at BDS. So be warned. It is a very good school in many ways but they don't ask enough of the students.
Thankfully, my family cannot relate to the review just below, which I'm guessing was written by the parent of a younger child. BDS inspires near-reverence among the parent body because of its extraordinarily thoughtful and rigorous curriculum, caring teachers, bright kids, channeling of kids' creative energy, and welcoming community. BDS kids routinely get into the best secondary schools, and are impressively well-spoken, confident, kind, mindful of their responsibilities to the community and larger world, and superbly educated without ever having been pushed to be anything other than kids. It is too orderly and structured to feel like an earthy-crunchy, peacenik school, and too accepting and encouraging of individuality and creativity to feel like a prep. school. It's something in between the two (think uniformed sports teams on manicured playing fields AND self-assembled rock bands). Sui generis.