This is our fifth year at GUS and we believe it is, truly, a great school. The teachers and overall academic program at GUS are outstanding; we have been amazed by what our daughter has learned and the creative ways in which she has learned things each year. After our first year at GUS I remarked that I'd never been in a place where so much thought went into each and every thing, from field trips to assemblies to lectures...each aspect of learning is a small piece of one clearly intentional whole. It is great to see the kids bloom even as they are being challenged academically. The GUS teachers truly plant the seeds of life-long learners. In additional, the GUS community is so welcoming, warm, and unpretentious. If you are looking at schools in the area I really do urge you to look at GUS.
GUS has turned my outgoing, athletic, and fun-loving daughters into even more happy kids who LOVE school. I'd looked at other schools in the area (both of my children are in elementary level) and my husband and I tried to stay really focused on "what really mattered" at the end of the day. We found what we were looking for at GUS. And we were able to do this while looking beyond a few of the facilities in need of improvement (one is a bit of an eyesore but try not to let it taint you if you can!!!!) We ultimately realized that buildings can change......but a solid, grounded, values-based academic culture is difficult to change quickly. As a family we have been lucky with resources and we want to shield our kids from the ill-effects of entitlement and affluenza which seemed, to us, to be evident at peer schools in the area.
With the clear understanding that there is a broad spectrum of learners here, I have been disappointed with the overall level of academics. I wouldn't say it's mediocre, but I would say that it is inconsistent. We experience a great deal of turnover which I am sure contributes to this, however it is troubling. I see other schools with their labs, rock walls and fine arts centers, and I would like to see the same for our kids. I know this is not where you come for a sports program, but a top notch athletic program would be nice.. Sometimes I think we should stick with our earthy crunchy roots.....
I have 3 children attending the Glen Urquhart School and it has continuously exceeded my expectations. It provides all the benefits parents would hope to expect from a private school: strong academics, small group and individualized learning and a culture where learning is valued as an exciting endeavor. There is a strong value in providing a well rounded education in arts, foreign languages, critical thinking and experiential learning. However, the most important difference we have found is in how the faculty at Gus consistently go above and beyond to foster a community where students genuinely care for themselves, one another and the community outside the school. The children hold open doors for one another, greet fellow students and teachers with smiles, and quickly offer a helping hand. This spirit of collaboration spills into the classroom where students learn together through innovative teaching approaches such as Harvard Project Zero. They feel confident in facing challenges which has lead to positive academic and personal growth for my children. I strongly believe the faculty at GUS are preparing my children and other students not just for success in school but in life.
I attended GUS from K-8, and I did like it. One of the struggles I ve had since graduating has been in math and science. I was somewhat unprepared compared to the other students in my grade. My high school is known for its academics and it was a lot to get used to; a really big change from what I came from. I spent my first year playing catch-up and that was hard. There are many different types of kids at GUS, which is a positive because the world is filled with many different types of people and you need to be able to understand differences and that is a good thing. There are some great mentors where I am, and people in my HS were very willing to work with me; it s just been a long road, and a bit of a struggle. Sometimes a bit lonely, but again the exposure to different types of kids should serve me well (I hope) in the long run.
When my husband and I started looking into schools, we were overwhelmed by the amount of private schools in Massachusetts - there are a lot of them. But our son's preschool teacher recommended the Glen Urquhart School (or GUS as it's affectionately called). She said it was one of the best private schools north of Boston and the most nurturing private school on the North Shore. It wasn't until my son started attending that I understood what she meant by nurturing. At GUS, it's about more than just education, it's about the whole child and fostering happiness, confidence, curiosity and creativity. They seem as committed to each child's emotional growth and well-being as they are to their education. This is exactly what I love about GUS and, in talking with other parents, what many of them love about GUS and why they chose it. There is an incredible atmosphere on campus - and it's a beautiful campus - where students, faculty and parents all seem happy and excited about GUS. Most important of all is that my son loves it and he's excited to go to school.
This is a unique school. Culture of collaboration over competition. Student centered. Respectful. Fun. Artistic. But with a world vision and great academics. When my daughter applied to private high schools she was told again and again "The GUS kids are the best prepared". It is the critical thinking skills and independence this school engenders. Two certified teachers in every classroom is a difference maker compared to other area independent schools. We have had two of our children go through GUS now and we can honestly say that they loved this school from start to finish. It is so reassuring as a parent to hear your child say "I loved school today".
High cost/low value. Glen Urquhart School consistently ranks below the top area schools. Science and tech are sorely lacking. Staff, resources, facilities, and programs cannot match what other schools offer. Class sizes exceed those found at other schools and teachers clearly struggle to maintain order and provide individualized instruction. Perhaps attempts to compete and cost cutting, have caused deficiencies that hopefully over time can be overcome. Make no mistake, there is a fan base, our admissions are more flexible than other schools, making it possible for the private school experience that may not otherwise be available. Blogs from our various dept heads recognize shortcomings, however, solutions still seem unclear.
GUS prepared our two sons for their high school experience, both attending challenging high schools. In addition to the strong academics, the arts and drama are a key part of the curriculum. Sports teams in the middle school compete with other independent schools. Community Service is exceptional with the eighth graders participating in a work week where they are off campus to many locations for "real work" in various communities in Honduras, Appalachia, and Boston.