This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted June 17, 2014
- a parent
After being bullied and unchallenged academically in elementary education our son chose to go to Headwaters Academy for the small class size and the rigorous academics. He has blossomed into a confident, responsible, and empathetic contributor to his household, school, and community. As parents we have found the Headwaters experience to be priceless!
The middle school years can be a difficult, transitional time for a student. In my experience as a parent, Headwaters Academy provides an incredibly supportive and nurturing environment that is extremely unique. I feel very fortunate for our sons to have the opportunity to attend Headwaters, and appreciate the opportunities that we as parents have to be actively involved volunteers.
Bozeman has many strong school options, so at first we were hesitant if Headwaters would be worth the investment. I have no regrets! We could not be more thrilled with Headwaters Academy. The caliber of teachers is amazing. The students dive deep into each subject vs. rote learning. The small class size helps to ensure no child "slips through the cracks". The outdoor education component and experiential learning style truly set Headwaters apart. We could not be happier with the school, and plan to send our second child when he enters 6th grade.
As the parent of a child that had long been bullied in public school, I was worried about what the middle school years would look like. I attended an open house at Headwaters Academy with my son and when we left, he told me "I want to go to this school." We began the application process and with the financial aid we received, sending my son to private school was possible. At Headwaters Academy, my child has blossomed into a self-confident, self-directed learner. He loves this school and I love his eagerness for learning. The teachers challenge him, his peers support him, and the experience he has gained is priceless. I am so grateful for the teachers who care so much, the very involved head of school, and the families that provide a wonderful and inclusive community to which we belong. Headwaters Academy continues to exceed my expectations.
When it came time for middle school, we were looking for a place for our kids what offered both academic challenge and good emotional, social and academic support. The public schools in Bozeman are great and our kids were coming from a public elementary and are now going into the public high school. So Headwaters was the one non-parochial option for these critical middle school years that allowed us to choose something different for a few years. We have found what we were looking for. Our kids have had a rigorous academic experience but one that is developmentally appropriate and respectful. The teaching has been top-notch with teachers truly getting to know our children's strengths and weaknesses and working with them from there. Our kids have learned to write, to be critical thinkers, to get organized, to speak publicly, to advocate for themselves, to persevere through frustration and to learn deeply. What more could you ask for? The community is welcoming and warm, the faculty is fantastic and the families and kids are fun and smart and interesting. We love Headwaters!
My son started at Headwaters last year and we could not be happier. The teachers are inspiring, the students and community kind & welcoming and the curriculum and field studies are just amazing (the 8th grade went to Ecuador last year!). We love this school and cannot imagine a better social or academic experience for our child.
This school is small and that is not for everyone, we are exclusive and highly selective in the type of student accepted. Small class sizes are a tremendous advantage and allow us to get to know our students, to learn their academic strengths and weakness so that we may appropriately challenge and support them. Students can't hide in the back here nor do they slip through the cracks. Middle school years are often ones where students feel uncertain of themselves and vulnerable. HWA students develop mentor-like relationships with a dedicated and intelligent staff. We provide stability, support, and consistently high expectations to foster a positive sense of self to carry into the next (often tumultuous) stage of education, high school. Furthermore, because we are small, the students develop close relationships with one another that last. True, your student may not learn to be a social butterfly here; however, they will learn how to develop real relationships, to resolve conflicts, and work closely with others with mutual respect.
This school actually really helped my student's social growth. They were able to really work with other students at a small group level which made them more confident and able to speak up. They left Headwaters with the ability to communicate in groups, express themselves, play an instrument, construct amazing artistic creations, put up a tent, cook a dinner, speak a language, etc. I was very impressed with the school.
I cannot recommend this school to other parents. My child found that the class sizes were too small to offer any social growth and that the course content in all the classes was not as intellectually stimulating as had been promised by the school staff. The benefits of the small size of this school are greatly outweighed by the lack of a meaningful, comprehensive curriculum balanced with an art,music and extra-curricular program like that which is offered by the surrounding public schools at no charge.