This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Cambridge School Of Weston5
Posted January 22, 2015
- a parent
Now to the Dec 2014 review. That review could have been written about my mother, a Dalton School (NY City) graduate. EVERY private school will have students who are arrogant, entitled, and self-absorbed. For the writer to blame CSW is very short-sighted. If anything, CSW does an amazing job of teaching kids to respect others' opinions. It is not clear whether the author of that review is a therapist or simply a co-worker of the CSW graduate, but either way s/he seems to know nothing about the school other than what she has heard from a single graduate. And to judge an entire school based on one student is, well... there are whole books and movies devoted to that.
I work with an extremely difficult, arrogant, and self centered woman who boasts that this school taught her to "believe her voice is important." The reality is that she thinks her voice is more important than anyone and everyone else's. This leads her to be extremely disrespectful, condescending, and just generally dismissive of everyone, even senior people with ivy league educations (she is not). I hope this school can reflect a little on how they teach. If she is a typical graduate, this school is turning out spoiled brats. I hope the fact that I am taking time out of my day to write this review communicates just how bad she is. It's great to let kids express themselves, but you need to teach them how to listen to others and mow them down. Thanks.
Having previously taught at the university-level for a decade, I'm absolutely amazed by the sheer level of intellectual energy and creativity cultivated at CSW, among the students and the faculty (both within and between these two groups). The module-system replicates the college pace, as the average module has 23 class-meetings (75 or 90 min classes), while most college courses meet about 25 times (two days/week for 75 minutes). The sheer level of intellectual risk-taking, and the ability to create a really special environment wherein being 'different' is not just tolerated, but fully embraced, and by all segments of the school community. I feel extremely lucky to call myself a teacher at CSW, lucky to work with students this kind and creative, and colleagues this sincere and innovative.
As a student at CSW, I had a very favorable experience. As a graduate who cares about the school, I've sadly watched it in decline and fear for its future. I see the current problems resulting from mismanagement. For example, immediately following the Cambridge School, you will see one of its signature programs, The Children's Garden, also an institution in progressive education. However, the school's board and administration closed this program despite strong objections from its community. The current head of school also closed another of its signature programs that was launched over 50 years ago supposedly due to their precarious finances, yet the board was not even aware whether the program was making or losing money prior to its decision to discontinue the program. One of CSW's foundations is the democratic, open structure of its governance yet crucial cutbacks were made without consultation from the community. I believe the school is making long-term decisions based on its short-term financial situation that have done irreparable harm. The foundation of an outstanding progressive school remains at CSW but I believe it will need a complete change of leadership to reclaim it.
I am an international student who graduated from CSW in 2008 and I absolutely loved the school! I went to two different boarding schools before that but I am so glad that I came to CSW because compared to other schools, the faculties and students here seemed to be more caring and open-minded. I don't think I could ever get any better experience if I didn't attend this school and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what it has given to me
In regards to the parent who said a students can go a year without a math or language, that simply is not true. Students have requirements they must fulfill every year, math and languages among them until graduation requirements are fulfilled.
I was a student at CSW for 2 years. But when I found out that I had to transfer I cried for days. I hated the thought of leaving the teachers who supported me and gave me a new perspective on learning, the friends who got me through some of the hardest experences of my life. This school completly changed me. When I look back on my high school experence I will look back on my ninth and tenth grade years because they were two of the best years of my life. This school challenged me to thrive outside of my comfort zones. I discovered my love for art and theatre at CSW. I used to think that writing was my gift but now because of CSW I have put the pencil and learned to sing and act and created peices of art that I never thought possible. Thank you CSW!
My son is currently in 9th grade at CSW. An excellent student, he was recommened for all honors classes in pub. HS. He is having a wonderful experience @ CSW. This school has a well-deserved reputation of being very strong in the arts and theater. My son is much more interested in math and science, and has found these courses to be interesting and challenging--although with hard work he has breezed through. The English and History classes have been more difficult! Faculty is interested & engaged This is a very accepting community where kids are respected for themselves. The 'mod system'--which is explained in another review--has its + and -. It is better for my son when he has a course that spans more than one 'mod' because the 4.5 week time span is too short for him. . All in all-a great school.
The modular system, which comprises of seven 4 1/2 weeks long marking segments('mods') with a four day break, allows students to choose to concentrate on three to four subjects at a time. For those who would enjoy a seminar-like forum; time for depth and breadth of thoughtful consideration, attention and thoroughness; encouragement of fearless inquisitiveness, scholarship; individuality and appreciation of others, their backgrounds and their viewpoints, this place is really worth considering. Teachers there are genuinely invested in the students and in their own area of expertise. It is possible, indeed, to configurate mod terms containing courses that do not exceed 3 hours of homework per night. I have known about CSW for at least five years and have had very good feelings about it. I have really respected and enjoyed former students of mine who have matriculated there. Our child goes there now and is quite happy and grateful.
My daughter attended this school for 2 1/2 years before transferring to another private school. I think the major problem with this school is their module system. Students take three courses at a time for 4 1/2 weeks. The modules can be extremely intense and stressful. My daughter had some modules where she had 5-6 hours of homework every night, which wouldn't be so much of a problem except they have to stay after school until 4:30 every day. Because of scheduling issues students can go for a year without taking a language or math. There is only 1 AP course at this school. I think this impacts where kids get into college. The extracurriculars aren't too hot at this school. The chorus director is good, but not enough students participate. There is basically no orchestra. The head of the drama department is nasty. The art department is excellent however.