This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Glen Urquhart School3
Posted November 21, 2014
- a community member
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.
Two sons attended this school; outstanding academic preparation and commitment to community; thematic curriculum is wholly successful in integrating academic subjects to produce an excellent educational experience; sports program is engaging, competitive and well coached; art, drama, music and committed community service are strong positives.
Glen Urquhart provides a challenging academic curriculum within a nurturing environment. The administration and faculty get to know all the students well, which makes your child feel very secure and "known". There are two fully accredited teachers in K-8 which allows for a lot of smaller group teaching. Students who need to be challenged in a subject area are and students who need a little more help get that as well. Creativity is weaved throughout the curriculum which helps to exercise the right side of the brain to allow for students to "think outside of the box". There are many opportunities for hands-on learning and outdoor explorations. The school has science labs, computer lab, art studios, a greenhouse, nature trails and athletic fields. There are many field trips to support the curriculum. At GUS an athlete can also be an artist or musician and vice versa.
My family has recently returned to GUS having moved to another part of the state for several years. We are so happy to be back! The school is a wonderful place to learn and a warm, welcoming community. With the addition of the new Upper School building, and some great young faculty, things are really going in the right direction. Not only does GUS have a strong academic program, it has a true commitment to community service across all grade levels. This commitment culminates in a week-long service project in 8th grade. Kids have the choice of working at an orphanage in Honduras, working in New Orleans, or locally on the North Shore and in Boston. The fully integrated commitment to community service really sets Glen Urquhart School apart.
Glen Urquhart had some ups and downs, overall. I felt that my preparation for secondary school was sort of uneven: while my writing skills were exemplary and far more advanced than most of my classmates, I actually found that I had some gaps in my Algebra I that gave me trouble when I took Algebra II in tenth grade. I am, however, performing well with an extremely challenging course of studies and felt that I was more or less prepared to excell. The added bonus of GUS was the preparation we received for standardized testing: my lowest SAT score was a 640 on the math section, with a 740 on critical reading and 790 on writing and mechanics. All in all, the school needs some improvement but is working out the kinks as it grows. --Alumnae