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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Private | 9-12 | 285 students

Offering a rare fusion of academic rigor and artistic excellence.
 
 

 
 

Living in Natick

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $395,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,360.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 3 ratings
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 1 rating
2011:
Based on 4 ratings

Teacher quality

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Parent involvement

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13 reviews of this school


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Posted April 11, 2014

My daughter is a Sophomore. When she enrolled at Walnut we were concerned about the academics. She has received an excellent education that has exceeded our expectations. This was affirmed by her PSAT scores which were extremely impressive. We could not be happier. Graduates of Walnut get matriculated into some of the best schools in the country. As far as the Arts, I have to agree with others that the faculty does "play favorites", but if this is the career that these artists want to succeed in, they need to get used to the "unfairness" that is intrinsically a part of their chosen profession. I know that my daughter works extremely hard at her art for very little recognition which can be frustrating. She is finding out how difficult a career in the arts really is. I do know that the rigors of her academics and balancing it with the art that she loves has already prepared her for a successful college experience. As far as Student Life is concerned, we never see her because she loves almost everything about the school. Don't let the price tag scare you, Walnut can be very generous with its financial aid. It is a great school for the right students
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 5, 2014

Despite Walnut Hill's reputation as a renowned school, this school does not have a strict bullying policy nor adhere to it; my freshman year, I was bullied and harassed by theater and music majors. When asked for help, teachers ignored me and called me weird that I wasn't being "gregarious". Even the dean of students did not came to help, insisted that there was no problem and sided with the seniors who continued to harass and bully me. I was disappointed with the school's lack of common sense and the overlooking bullying. I agree with the previous critic who pulled her child out due to lack of support, there is no one is able to help your child because they do not want to. Instead, the teachers at Walnut Hill School are quite the ego and self-serving. This school truly does nothing for those who suffer. Please reconsider when enrolling your child elsewhere.
—Submitted by a student


Posted March 27, 2014

The teachers here are not wonderful and supportive. If your child ever has any type of issue or difficulty, they will be dropped like a hot potato. This faculty and administration only want to work with the easy kids. I do agree that the teachers play favorites and are quick to judge not just on artistic talent but on whether they click with a kid or not. It seems very arbitrary and capricious. When difficulties arose with our family, instead of discussing things directly with my kid, they refused to put any effort into the situation. Rejecting a child who is already suffering was very cruel.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 16, 2013

Walnut Hill has a fantastic academic program. The teachers are wonderful. They are supportive and eager to help students learn. The unique scheduling allows students to fully immerse themselves in the subject matter. There is also an advisory system in place each week so students can meet with their 'advisor' as a group. Sometimes, this tends to be a waste of time as the teacher/advisor is not well trained in what they should be advising the students to do in certain situations. The arts program is great, however, sometimes the art teachers tend to "play favorites" with some of their students, as far as shows and allowing students to showcase their ability. The administration seems to prefer to 'put out fires' rather than 'prevent fires' in terms of issues with students and behavioral problems. Parental input is unwelcome, as they prefer to handle issues internally. Also, the discipline system utilizes a student board to decide punishments and consequences for other students. The facilities have been upgraded over the past few years, and continue to be. The buildings are welcoming, and conducive to learning. WH students are incredibly talented and attend amazing colleges.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 11, 2013

I am a parent of a ballet student and my daughter has completed her first year at Walnut Hill. My older daughter attended a top ten boarding school in CT ( Hotchkiss). I am very impressed by Walnut Hill and I think it is better in many ways than Hotchkiss, although it is also very different being an arts school. I disagree with the parent comment that the facilities are outdated. There are some schools ( like Hotchkiss or Andover) with fancier facilities but that's not what makes the quality of a school, At Walnut Hill the quality of the teachers, their concern and their competence is extremely high. Overall, the teachers at Hotchkiss were not better and were generally less inspiring and less dedicated, Also, I greatly appreciate that the teachers don't give ridiculously long hours of homework because they take into account the time the students spend on their arts. College admissions are very impressive at Walnut HIll with a very respectable number of students going every year to Ivy League schools and many more going to other highly selective colleges. All in all, a great school and I highly recommend it!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 24, 2012

I graduated from this school last june after transfering their for my junior year, and I had the most amazing expeirience here! it truly is a remarkable place, with so many dedicated and talented individules, the teachers are really supportive and caring, and I am very happy I spent two years of my life at this school.
—Submitted by a student


Posted December 6, 2011

My daughter transferred to this school after sophomore year and graduated last June. I found the quality of the academics to be very high and the teachers to be very supportive and responsive. There was a new head of school brought in during her senior year and he has been intent on making some changes, most of which seem to be for the better. The facilities are being upgraded and the appearance of the campus has improved. For my daugher, this school was a perfect fit because it enabled her to pursue her arts training at a very high level and her attitude toward academics improved considerably. The student body is unique in that they are very diverse (30% International) and artistic. This isn't for everyone, but my daughter felt very welcome here and loved it. The only negative for us was because it's a boarding school, scheduling college visits is much more challenging than if she had been at home.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 17, 2011

My daughter attended this school last year. The academic and arts teachers were good. The administration and support staff left much to be desired. They seemed to be unfocused and appeared to utilize crisis management as opposed to good planning and execution. They seemed defensive when given feedback and made excuses instead of listening. The facilities are outdated and in need of repair.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 11, 2011

My son attended the summer program and enrolled in the Fall. What an amazing place!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 29, 2011

My daughter began attending this school as a sophomore this past year. She is extremely happy with her choice. Her academic teachers provide individualized attention and are caring and supportive. The arts training is intensive and has raised her skills to a new level. She is surrounded by talented artists in all the varying arts disciplines. The deans and administration are responsive and involved. Couldn't ask for more.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 28, 2010

My son attended this school freshman and sophomore year. We decided to pull him from the institution as we have seen a significant decline in the administration and performing arts faculty. They just hired a Chief Information Officer to run the school. This gentleman has zero knowledge of performing arts and the difficulty of finding the right school and fit not to mention he doesn't have operational experience. I'm guessing he is a puppet for the board. They had a wonderful Head of School two years ago and fired her because she wanted to make significant changes to bring the school into leadership posiiton among it's competitors. I wish I could say I felt this was a good investment. Not at all. I strongly suggest you review Interlochen or Idyllwild.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 17, 2008

This school is perfect. I recently graduated after four wonderful years. It is a very unique and special place, for lack of better words. The academic faculty is accommodating and supportive of each individual student. Arts faculty members get to know students well so that they get the most out of training. most most out of
—Submitted by a student


Posted May 29, 2004

My daughter transferred to this school half-way through her junior year. This is a school for students who are very focused on an arts specialty. Students have to declare a major, music, drama, dance, writing or art. Students devote a large part of their day to pursuing their major. My daughter takes art courses for three hours most afternoons. The talent at this school is amazing. I think the music, dance and drama programs are especially impressive. I was worried a little about the academics, but my daughter has had a good experience in her classes. She tested out of PreCalculus and was encouraged to take Calculus in her junior year, something her old school would have never done. Her English teacher has been excellent too. The academics are a little less stressful than at some other prep schools, because of the intensity of the arts program.
—Submitted by a parent


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About these ratings

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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 56% 67%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 34% 6%
Two or more races 4% 3%
Black 3% 8%
Hispanic 3% 16%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students College counselor(s)
Dance teacher(s)
ELL/ESL Coordinator
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
Nurse(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Security personnel
School social worker/counselors(s)
Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Korean
Chinese (Mandarin)
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Arts (all)
Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Chamber music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Opera
  • Orchestra
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production
Clubs
  • Literary magazine
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • French
  • Spanish
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs
Staff resources available to students
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Korean

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Gym
  • Swimming pool
Clubs
  • SADD

Gifted & talented

College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:00 am
School Leader's name
  • Antonio Viva
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Block scheduling
Boarding options
  • Some boarding, some day
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NAIS
  • TABS
Fax number
  • (508) 653-9593

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • College prep
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Arts (all)
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • French
  • Spanish
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • College counselor(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • School social worker/counselors(s)
  • Security personnel
  • Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Korean
Extra learning resources offered
  • Career/college counseling
  • Tutoring
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • College/career center
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
  • Swimming pool
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • New England Conservatory
  • The Center for the Arts Natick
School leaders can update this information here.

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School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • None
Girls sports
  • None

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Design
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Chamber music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Opera
  • Orchestra
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • ASTEP
  • Amnesty international
  • Lesbian, gay, transgender club
  • Literary magazine
  • SADD
  • Student council/government
  • Yearbook
School leaders can update this information here.

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
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

Submit your application by

February 01, 2014

 
 
Apply now
 

What does it cost?

Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

College preparation / awareness offered
College presentations or information sessions
College prep programs/courses during the year
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

12 Highland Street
Natick, MA 01760
Website: Click here
Phone: (508) 650-5020

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