June 05, 2015
Wilson is a good “safety” choice if you are intent on a private school but your child was not admitted to one of the brand names like Community, MICDS, Forsyth, or New City. The majority of people we know didn’t get accepted by their first choice, or they decided to look outside the normal admissions cycle. Wilson usually has space available in the early grades even when other schools do not. Some families chose it for the small size, which is a great feature when managed well. A fair number of students tend to leave over time. The parents who leave almost always tell other parents it is because of the administration’s low standards for student behavior. You can find bullying anywhere, but in such a small class there is nowhere to hide. This makes it especially important for a school to have the courage to enforce standards when necessary. Instead, Thad Falkner, the head of Wilson, simply has students visit his office for a few minutes and then return to class. This is the only known punishment even for some acts too unspeakable to describe in this forum, but let me just say that our sweet little girl was scarred by something that had no apparent consequence for the perpetrator. Likewise, there is no courage to intervene with teachers who are struggling. There are many talented and committed educators, especially Pre-K/JK/SK. However, there were also two years we consider lost, due to teachers who were inept and/or couldn’t manage control of their classroom. Some could be solved with coaching, and letting go of poor performers. A great school needs to be more than the sum of its parts, and what you get at Wilson is a set of parts. Many of the parts are great, but some are substandard. The school’s new strategic plan calls for greater word-of-mouth advertising, because somehow the board believes that the enrollment problem is merely due to low brand awareness because it is a small school. However, attrition would seem like the bigger problem, because enrollment would be at its cap from SK onwards if they could just address parents regularly pulling out their kids for other private schools. You might ask yourself why Wilson usually has space. Many of us wouldn’t recommend the school to someone with other options. Let’s hope this changes, because it could really be something if the administrators found courage inside themselves.
- submitted by a parent