In a world where schools are 'teaching to the test' and churning out students who are seeking right answers, the Advent School is a wonderful example of how to create lifetime learners who are looking for the right questions. The transition last year from a 20+ year veteran head of school to a new head of school was challenging for some families, as many transitions often are. But the school is to as strong as ever, with teachers and kids not missing a beat. There are a few schools where you can find two masters level co-teachers in a room with 16 to 18 children. The numbers alone make for an amazing and individualized educational experience for every child. The progressive curriculum allows the children to voice their interests and follow those interests through student and teacher led inquiries, creating a level of student engagement and innovation not found in most schools. We couldn't be more pleased with our school choice for our daughter - who's now in second grade.
We looked at every public school in the north zone of Boston and at private schools in Boston and Cambridge. Nothing compared to the caliber of engagement and innovation fostered by the Advent School. In her first year, our daughter studied the science of tools and basic engineering through rebuilding her classroom into parts of a medieval castle complete with a drawbridge. She learns quickly because she has fun and is creatively engaged every day. Her experience is a striking contrast to her friends at other schools who do repetitive worksheets day after day in preparation for standardized tests and are already complaining about going to school. The school's success is evident in our daughter's independently reading three years ahead of her grade level and in the well spoken, poised graduates who leave the school and move on to tremendous success at some of the best middle and high schools in Boston.
Advent is a school with innovative, motivated teachers; sound, invested leadership; and an involved, fun parent community. When you walk through the doors, you feel the energy and see the enthusiasm for learning. The science, art, and music programs are phenomenal! The school's greatest strength lies in its development of leaders. From ECC onward, the children are given opportunities to present their ideas, debate, collaborate, and offer critique in a supportive manner. The quality of student graduating from Advent shows that its curriculum and its main areas of concentration - leadership and social justice - produce well-rounded, high-achieving leaders.
My family has been at this school for 4 years. And while I understand the angst during the transition from a head of school who had been there for 18 years to a new one, I disagree with those who feel it has lost its way or is not rigorous enough. What I love - that the school teaches kids to think critically not learn by rote or teach to a test. I also love the way kids are expected to treat each other and the adults at the school. It builds respect, character, empathy and understanding within the entire community. No school is perfect for every kid, but this one works wonderfully for us and I look forward to the rest of our time at Advent, as does my daughter.
I have two children at this school, currently one in the fourth grade and one in the first grade. Both entered in the ECC (pre-K) year. We have had an extremely positive experience throughout. The two teacher model plus specialists in science, art, music, Spanish, yoga and PE mean kids get an unprecedented amount of teaching and attention. The school did go through a change of leadership which, understandably, caused some angst amongst the school community. Happy to say that I feel confident in the new Head of School as well as our experienced and very impressive Assistant Head of School. One element of the school that I find extremely rewarding is the total school community. Naturally my children have developed wonderful friendships, but so have my husband and I. It s an open and fun group of people.
This school is really one of a kind. There is an energy and excitement. Students learn how to link their passion to content. The teachers are thoughtful and energetic and know my kid. The new Head Of School is just as vibrant and is bringing a sense of calmness and transparency after three years of transition. The schools mission is imbedded in what they do and their new leader has really shown she has what it takes to open the doors to show Boston and the Nation what we all have parents have known, it is the best kept secret in Boston doing things that national schools would only dream of. I am sad that a disgruntled parent would post here. This is not a place for everyone, students understand fully the content, they are not just regurgitating information. Just saw the AISNE report, no mention of lacking in academics. High praise on mission driven school. Their ERB ranking is median to high on independent school norms. I wish someone would research before they start blasting. Three kids and seven years later, we could not be happier.
This will be our fourth year at the school and I can't imagine a better fit for my child. No school is perfect, but Advent comes pretty close. My child is thriving and is excited to go to school everyday thanks to dedicated teachers and a close-knit community of learners. The teachers make learning fun! After reading the other recent reviews I admit I am concerned about the upper grades. Advent needs to work on living its mission of social justice and provide equal opportunities for every child. We should not have to hire private tutors to guarantee placement in an exam school or private school. I feel strongly that the next Head is well prepared to fundraise which has been the main challenge. Currently not every family can afford Advent's summer programs and afterschool even with financial aid. This needs to change if the school is truly committed to diversity and inclusion. Otherwise, the lower grades have been amazing and I look forward to Advent's growth for a stronger future.
I respectfully disagree with assessments that suggest the school was far stronger under the previous head of school. In fact, the previous head was a poor leader - no transparency, grew the school with no strategic plan or vision, drove good teachers away. The interim head (2012-2013)was a lovely person who made some minor positive changes, but also was not a leader of any caliber - not a strong administrator, avoids conflict, no ability to fund raise. The Board is a real mess (no transparency or strategic plan) Curriculum not progressive (many children see ERB test scores drop one year to the next) nor child centric (no supports available that other independent "progressive' schools have incorporated into their core academic supports). Some teachers are excellent - others not. There doesn't seem to be any paring of experienced and new teachers. Rules change from classroom to classroom and between specialists - i.e. no consistency in terms of what's expected. I have great hopes for the next head of school - she has a lot of challenges ahead but seems to be entering "eyes wide open". Our first child completed gr 6 but I regret that decision and have moved our other child.
It is worth noting that many of the more positive comments here are from parents of younger children. Especially as children progress through the school, it is very clear that academically, the program lacks the rigor needed to meet standards and excel. The teachers are overly involved with social aspects of the students, but as an educational institution, the Advent is inferior.
The Advent School was a huge disappointment. The school has lost it's way and lost its mission, and doubled in size over the past few years without fully planning for it. This school caters to wealthy families, and the scholastic program is marginal. If you have any intention of sending your child to a school that requires ISEE scores, plan to get your child tutored. The Advent's report card and grading is very poor, but will hold your child back in the end. You will not find this out until after scores have been submitted to next year schools! At a cost of $25,000 plus, with after school, plan on being pressured to donate, donate, donate. If you care about scholastic achievement, send your child elsewhere. Some teachers are good, but have not been given the proper leadership. The interim head of school, who was very very weak, is being replaced by a new head. Things at the school could improve, but I would stay away until progress is made.
Don't send your child here. Everything on the website USED to be true. The school is a shadow of its former self. Do not expect your child to get as good an education as they would receive at advanced BPS schools, or some parochial schools. Most comments here are referring to the school under the former head, who left in 2012. The school has fallen apart without strong leadership.
I completely agree with the parent below regarding the anti-bullying policy. My child has experienced a clear case of bullying. Unfortunately, Advent has handled the matter quite poorly - often making excuses for the bully or accusing the victim of doing something to agitate the bully. While I respect that Advent investigates these matters before rushing to judgement, there needs to be clear policy which describes bullying in details and the consequences of such acts. Besides the anti-bullying or lack thereof, Advent has been a great place for my child - providing a creative and non-traditional learning environment where children learn so much more than an A-B-C curriculum. However, I don't believe that Advent caters to all types of learners - have seen some children who are really advance, but not challenged and some children who find the basics challenging, but don't receive enough support. However, I think that it's very important for the parents to acknowledge their child's abilities and either discuss with Advent or switch schools. All in all, Advent is a pretty good school - if you're looking for diversity and "out of the box" learning, it's the place for your child.
The school may say it has an not tolerance policy about bullying, cyber or otherwise, but they have been generally slow to act on consequences or handle situations effectively in this realm. There are open discussions and class gatherings weekly, but resolutions is not often timely. It is a cozy creative place best suited for precocious girls and quiet boys. It makes great use of resources the city of Boston has to offer such as the Esplanade, museum of Science and the various art museums. My children's classes are truly diverse- from socio-economic levels to ethnicity and same gender parents.This school can be accommodating , but is not able to or fully committed to supporting all types of learners. Most teachers love what they do and participate with gusto. There are too many board members for a school this size. The Reggio-Emilio approach really only applies to the ECC grade. Yoga has been enjoyed by my kids and for the most part they do well here.
I'm a 6th grader at the Advent School right now and i have to say that it is a great place! The normal class size is about 20 which I think is great size because, then everybody knows everyone. Also, I feel i have a very good connection with my teachers and am not afraid to ask questions. Another great thing about Advent is the anti-bullying policy. The school doesn't tolerate any kind of bullying and cyber-bullying. Getting back to having a small class, I have been able to raise my hand more often since I have been becoming more confident at the Advent School. The small class also means I get to feel more connected to my classmates then having a very large one.
The Advent School is an amazing place. The staff/teachers have made my daughter feel so loved and comfortable. The teachers make the parents and children feel so welcomed. Parents are invited into the class and it is nice to see what my daughter is learning. In addition, we receive daily blogs/updates from the classroom teachers. Class sizes are small. Advent is like a family, and the teachers really care deeply about the social and academic growth of the children. Since September, my daughter has learned more than I could imagine. She is in the ECC (Pre-Kindergarten) and starting to read. Her vocabulary has improved and she is always interested in learning new words. I love how her teachers direct new themes based on the children's interest. I also really like how they explore the local area (Esplande, Public Garden). In addition, the specialist classes are fantastic (yoga, PE, Music,Art, Science, Library). My daughter is receiving a well rounded high quality education. It is a special place, and I am thrilled to have my daughter at Advent. I would highly recommend it to parents!!!
We love this school. Our children are receiving a top education not only in the academic realm but in understanding how to be contributing citizens. They learn so much more than basic math or reading. Free from standardized testing they spend their time delving into thematic studies where they explore in depth subjects like Ancient Egypt or the Amazon forest. Here they embrace the wonder of learning, making connections and understanding many perspectives. The upper grades thematic presentations are so inspiring. The leadership is experienced, insightful and innovative. One parent, a neuropsychologist, told me that this school's leadership understood more about how children learn years before the research caught up! Their approach to finding the right school for the graduating sixth grade is thoughful and tailored to what is right for your child. It is so reassuring to know that they really care about their next move. Finally, the Advent School is a second home for our children. The staff really care about the students, you only have to walk around during the day to see this in action. Seeing our children's happiness makes us so grateful to be in this community.
I respecfully disagree with the statement that "Reggio Emilia is just a marketing gimmick". It's widely recognized as a highly effective model of early childhood education. Educators from all over the country come to the Advent School to learn how to implement such a program. Is it for every kid? No, some need more structure. Some are not as self-motivated and need more drilling in "the basics". But for most children, this school is amazing. No, they don't sit them down all day long and drill on rote learning. They engage the children and get them to discover things for themselves and in doing so, internalize the knowledge and learn to apply it to other areas of study. My child gets individualized homework assignments, tailored to his particular level. He was challenged and enthused about school from the very beginning. I couldn't recommend The Advent school more highly. And the notion that only the wealthy parents get the attention is way off base. If anything, they bend over backwards to get a broad range of parents to participate in setting the direction of the school.
Advent has been a second home to us. We are a new family in Advent's Early Childhood Center. We found everything that we were looking for... progressive education, amazing teachers, small class size, diversity and involved families. If this is the kind of education you want for your child and the kind of community you want for your family, Advent is the place!!
My daughter is a student in the ECC class at Advent. The beginning of the year, starting a new school, has been a smooth transition. Mainly because of her amazing teachers and small class size. Advent is such a welcoming community and my daughter "loves" school. I am thrilled with the daily email journals that the teachers send home. I feel so connected to the classroom and the journals allow me to talk to my daughter about her school day. Teachers truly care about the students' academic and social development. I was also very impressed that Advent had Parent/Teacher conference the second week of school. This allowed the teachers and parents to learn more about each other and it was a great opportunity to discuss your individual child. My daughter has only been at the school a few weeks and I am extremely pleased with her academic development. I am an educator, and I am pleased with the curriculum. In addition, Advent offers so many amazing enrichment class. Each week, my daughter attends Yoga, Music, Art, PE and Science. Finally, the after school program is amazing!! They offer "courses" (art, Spanish, music, dance) this extends the learning until 5pm.
My child also did not thrive at this school. Teachers do not teach the basics. There is no math program at all. Our child attended from ECC - first grade and was greatly behind when we transferred out. If your child is not a natural reader and needs guidance..this is not the school for you. We were so excited when we were accepted to attend this school and found ourselves underwhelmed year after year.
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