My husband is a graduate from Barstow. He loved it as a student, and we now love it as parents. We currently have 2 girls in the lower school program and couldn't be happier. Our kindergartener is reading, taking spelling tests, constantly involved with hands on field studies, sculpting, singing various spanish songs, practicing yoga, performing on stage, mimicking famous art peices, and eager to do it daily. Barstow is the only school in the region to have a 1:1 iPad to student ratio. Yes, that is right, Barstow issued iPads to every lower school student down to pre-school. The students can bring them home and have homework assignments on the iPads. Barstow is a step ahead of the surrounding schools. The curriculum is tough, but the teachers are amazing. There truly is a sense of "belonging" at our school. You feel like part of a big family, rich or poor, everybody helps everybody out. I love this school!!!!
We currently have a freshman who has been at Barstow since pre-Kindergaten. We have been extremely satisfied with the education that she is receiving. Class sizes are exceptional and the curriculum is challenging and very complete in terms of preparation for college. We have been pleasantly surprised by the family atmosphere. In reference to the posts from June 22 and 23, 2012 which are obviously from the same poster (and certainly not from a parent), Barstow is not in any way a Pembroke Hill "wannabe". I graduated from Pembroke and it is an excellent school. Barstow is also an excellent school and has been perfect for our daughter. My advice(if your choice is limited to these two schools) would be to choose depending upon the right fit for your child and your family. In my opinion, these two schools separate themselves in Kansas City for college preparation.
Our child has been at Barstow since pre-K. We are now in middle school and couldn't be happier. We have not experienced any of the clique problems nor wealth stratification. Although our family is probably on the lower end of the wealth curve, neither my child nor we have felt this was ever an issue. The class sizes are small and the children tend to stick together with each other. Barstow supports diversity and drives towards excellence. This is not a school for parents who want a latch-key education experience--like all good parents, one needs to stay involved. But, we have found Barstow geared toward teaching our child the skills necessary for understanding how to take personal responsibility and be a leader. This is also not a school for parents who solely focus on grades or sports. Barstow is focused on the whole child. The Math Club president is just as likely as the football quarterback (Barstow does not offer football) to be respected and recognized by the rest of the class. The student-teacher ratios are excellent. And, the technology provided to the students is top notch (all children move to laptops for assignments, notes, and some text books by middle school).
I have been very disappointed in Barstow. It is not as good as I would have expected nor as they try to pretend to be. I have also found that they are inflexible. Take a good look at the alternatives in your area. There are more choices than ever to pick from and no need to pay $$ to get this.
Barstow is a Pembroke Hill wannabe. It simply is not even close to what Pembroke offers. Having been to both, I can tell you. Worth the extra drive to Pembroke Hill. The staff is much better all around.
We switched from a Blue Valley public school to Barstow (two kids, third grade and kindergarten.) We could not be happier. It is a sanctuary of learning, and the teachers are able and willing to accommodate individual kids' needs. Unlike public school, it is not 'one size fits all.' Although it is not inexpensive, a school like this on the east coast would easily be $25-35 per year per child. We have not found anything we do not like about Barstow - the kids are nice, it is MUCH more diverse than our previous public school in terms of ethnicity, but the common denominator amongst the parents and faculty alike is on learning. One thing that is really neat is that all the teachers communicate and 'vertically integrate' subject matter so that the school experience is very cohesive, rather than each class or teacher doing his/her own thing. Another thing we love is that there is PE every day: rigorous sports and exercise! Also, if your child has a special dietary requirement, no matter how complex or challenging, Chef Shawn will be happy to accommodate. We love Barstow and if you are thinking about it, do yourself and your child a favor and go have a look! My kids love it.
Public, Private, Public and back to Private gives you a glimpse of our five year school experience due to company transfers. Getting right to the point, If you're not ready for your children to work hard and be challenged this may not be the school for you but that's a good thing! Yes, it has cliques but I have never seen a school that doesn't. Yes, it's expensive but you get what you pay for here!!! I have found teachers and administration to be more than open to parent communication. The kids here are used to their classmates coming and going so they "get it" and really help make the new kids feel welcome. We're VERY happy at Barstow and will be VERY sad to go should we move again before HS graduation.
Barstow provides excellent learning opportunities, with small class sizes and a fairly good staff. There are many teachers who tend to go elsewhere after only a few years due to the fact that private schools don't offer a retirement system or medical benefits. Barstow does tend to have a lot of cliques. It tends to need to work on friendliness as a goal for improvement. Barstow needs a counselor for the students as there are many there who fall through the cracks socially without anyone knowing of the problem. The adminstrators are usually responsive to complaints, although the teachers often ignore issues until they are brought before administrators.
I am a parent with two children who have attended Barstow since the first grade. One just completed their 1st year of college. My daughter was well prepared and often had classmates come to her for "tips" on how to do chemistry and physics problems. These were tips that she learned through the teachers at Barstow. We will begin looking at colleges again this next year for our other daughter. The college couseling process at Barstow is exceptional. The Barstow staff is knowledgable about the process, keeps you on task and becomes your advocate at the college or univesity you want to attend. I would highly recommend this school for the serious college bound student.
The Barstow School is hard to explain unless you experience it. Because it costs more than most colleges, the parent thinks his or her child will get the best education possible but there is an undercurrent that effects students that do not come from wealthy, and I mean wealthy families. The tuition is 16,800 per child but we are constantly being charged for everything; computers, field trips, books, clubs and so on. So, when you count it all up, there has been up to $5,000 in 'other' charges on top of the tuition. Also, there is a 'teach to the top' mentality among the teachers/administration and I'm not sure what the definition of 'top' really means. It seems the families with a lot of money also have the students in the advanced classes because the administration works hard to keep them happy.
I have two children who attend the Barstow School and one will be graduating this May. Although there were some staffing changes in 2008-09, the core High School teaching staff remained the same. The upper school faculty is excellent; teaching course work that is challenging in a supportive environment. My daughter received offer letters from every institution that she applied to, as Barstow has an excellent reputation for preparing students for the rigors of College. I would highly recommend this school.
My daughter just graduated from The Barstow School, and will be attending college this fall. She spent 6 years there, from 7-12 grades, and loved just about every minute of it. The course work is challenging, but if a student is struggling, faculty is ready to jump in and help. For a school of this size (around 50 in each graduating class) there is a wide range of extracurricular activities, everything from acting to robotics. Students also have to perform community service hours in order to graduate, and many students receive the Presidential Gold Medal for community service (which is awarded for those who accumulate over 100 hours a year). Barstow is experiencing a major staffing change for the 08-09 school change, with a new head of school and new upper school director coming in, but even with new faces, the main focus of the school remains the same. Excellence.
Barstow is phenominal. This staff at this school are professionals at every level. There is something to be said for investing in a private school. My daughter is just starting pre-school this year. The communication to parents from the staff is very good. I have been impressed from informational meetings from alumni, staff, and parents. The food service staff is excellent! I am excited about my kids future at this school.
I am a parent of 2 elementary age kids, one of which attends this school. This beautiful private Pre-K to 12 college prep school is very good at the business of teaching. There is a core group of teachers that are awesome. If your child is naturally good at peer relations or socialization, this is the right fit. Academics are spoon-fed and the curriculum is advanced. The Barstow graduate will often do well in a small prestigious university setting and yet struggle with firm deadlines and harsh real-world consequences like those found at a large institutional style university. The challenges are teacher turnover and the unfortunate replacements are with area district castoffs. The teacher retention from year-to-year is steady with about the same amount moving on at the conclusion of each year. This institution does not have the wrap-around supported services needed for students with non-traditional learning strategies.
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