November 08, 2015
As a family that transitioned from Clonlara's homeschool program to its campus-based day school, we could not be more pleased with our experience. Unlike some other recent reviews, our engagement with the administration and teaching staff has been open and cooperative. While our son does have a learning disability, he is gifted in several areas, and both the administration and teachers could not have worked harder to address his academic strengths and weaknesses. That said, the prior criticisms that this is a "special needs school" are unfair and unfounded, as the school does not purport to provide special services: it does not advertise itself as having a child pyschologist or speech pathologist on staff, but it does provide the flexibility for outside professionals to visit the school and work with individual students. Instead, it emphasizes unique and customized programs, which are not necessarily remedial, but often complements the gifted children's interests and talents.
When we went on a recent field trip, we were delighted by how courteous and well-behaved the Clonlara students were to those inside and outside the school community. We were able to see this in comparison to other school groups at the same site, where mutual respect and care clearly were not valued as they are by the Clonlara community.
On several occasions, we have seen other families welcomed and warmly received, with parents and grandparents coming to participate and celebrate children's achievements and special events. This is indicative of the transparency that we have experienced from our first meeting with the head of school when we were considering our options for where our son would attend after several years of homeschooling. There has been an honest and ongoing conversation. Potential disciplinary scenarios were discussed with the teacher ahead of time, which allowed us as the parents to have a say in what would constitute a just and appropriate response if our son were to misbehave.
There is an active and intentional mentoring program at the school, in which the older students take on and nurture the younger students. This already has been very beneficial to our son. For us, Clonlara has been all we could have asked for in a warm, caring and academically engaging context. In many ways, Clonlara has exceeded our expectations.
- submitted by a parent