I can only attest for the Upper School, but as a upper school student the school has provided me with an invigorating, intimate, and stimulating education that is unmatched by all private schools I know. Although the workload is intense and can often border overwhelming, the intimate community that is fostered between the teachers and the students provides a cushion for the "stress culture" that the Upper School creates. I love this school, the teachers, and the students. If you're not afraid to work hard and love to learn, Catlin Gabel is the place for you.
The teachers are so nice and helpful and if you have a problem they will help you until you know how to handle it. The students are really kind and the school goes to far lengths to make sure they are as welcoming, kind, friendly, and open as they can be. The campus is beautiful as well. I think this school is well worth the money.
This school is great, the community is so welcoming and I LOVE it there! the teachers really open up to provide help and comfort to you, while pushing you to extend your knowledge and education. They are always there to answer questions and lend a hand, even in something completely unrelated to academics. This school has truly changed my life.
I had two children attend Catlin Gabel both entering in the middle school. We were completely satisfied with the high level of academic challenge, caring teachers (who even welcomed our phone calls to their homes), and beautiful campus facilities. The school is strong in the sciences, arts, and sports. The college counseling is superb. The only thing that was tough was the very heavy homework load, but it helped them be extremely well prepared for success in prestigious colleges.
I was reading through all the reviews, and it is apparent to me that some parents were not happy. Ironically, when you hone in on the childs perspecitive, all the children/high schoolers, that posted had incredibly postive things to say. I want to just add, while I, as a parent, have witnessed first hand and through many voices of my peers how much the teachers and faculty really care. To have administration KNOW your child demonstrates a corporate culture that resonates through the school. In first grade the teachers begin to do much more than some parents on these posts suggested as far as education. The teachers educate beyond just the premise of tests, but teach the children how to learn, their way, what works for them, that is priceless, the alphabet will be there, a child knowing how they learn will be a tool that will last forever!!
I am in my 12th year at Catlin, and don't regret a minute of it. Needless to say I have never had a reason to leave. I am hard working, so I suppose I could thrive at any school. But Catlin is different than other schools. There aren't words to express the intimate relationship I have with all the faculty here. Or how sincerely engaged my classmates are in a heated class debate. I started in Pre-K and I remember my younger years as so magical! Lower school didn't feel like a school, more like a big living room where I did my math. (And to parents that doubt lower schools learn anything,I don't remember I single day which I didn't come home to tell my something new. The work in the high school isn't a burden for the students here, it is an opportunity!
Our son has been in three top private schools in the US (as we have moved with jobs throughout the country). Catlin is by far the best school he has ever attended. He came to Catlin as an outsider (not from Oregon) in ninth grade. Four years later, he is attending an excellent college and feels well prepared. The Catlin faculty is exceptional and want to pull the best out of students. The faculty appreciate their students strengths and work with their weaknesses to make the best well rounded student possible. We are so very grateful that Portland has such an incredibly wonderful school. While many of the public schools are good here ---- Catlin's amazing ability to get to know your child and bring the best out of him/her makes it the incredible school that it is.
I have been at Catlin since the age four. I have loved all of it. In the younger years we had lots of fun yet still learned what was needed. I remember having to do reports on the 13 colonies in the lower school that was lots of work. When people say that the lower school hasn't taught their children what they need to know then I'll ask them do we have the same school? I have learned lots. I loved the Catlin middle school. We learned lots in a safe environment. The switch from 5th to 6th was slightly scary but the 5th grade teachers had tried to make us as ready as we could be. The transition from 8th to 9th was easy and I love the high school. My teachers are amazing and love to answer questions. I love Catlin and recommend it to anyone.
I left the Lake Oswego public school system for Catlin Gabel in 7th grade, and the difference was immense. Not only was the curriculum more difficult and engaging, but for the first time in my life, I felt like I truly belonged somewhere. When I talk with my college friends about their middle and high school experiences at public schools, I realize just how lucky I was to be in that environment during my adolescence. Catlin's greatest flaw? Sometimes, it is too rigorous and demanding. I know many a classmate who had an emotional breakdown or panic attack from the substantial stress Catlin places on its students. The pressure pays off, though. Most of my classmates and other Catlin alumni report that even at top colleges around the country, classes are easy compared to Catlin.
As a parent of two Catlin students, I couldn t be happier! It is said that no one place is perfect, but Catlin Gabel is flawless in my estimation. My children thrive academically, emotionally and socially. This school provides an extremely rigorous curriculum and is fully committed to connecting with each individual child. My children feel so safe and comfortable during the hours they spend at school and have a relationship with many of their teachers that I never could ve imagined prior to this experience. Catlin maintains open, honest, two-way communication with students and parents. This is a very supportive, engaging community. I recommend Catlin to all! Simply fabulous!
I graduated from Catlin's Upper School in 2008, and let me tell you, this school and its faculty changed my life. I went to public schools in Chicago through my freshman year of high school, and started in the middle of my sophomore year on full scholarship at Catlin. The difference was unbelievable. The teachers genuinely care about the students, and not in a creepy way, and not in a fake way. The workload is heavy, but the assignments require you to actually use your brain instead of the inane 2-page 'What did you think about this book' papers we wrote in public school. The English department will make you cry, but when I look at the essays I wrote going into Catlin and compare them to what I wrote at the end (read: college essays, folks), the difference in quality is immense. Financial Aid is available, and this school is definitely worth it.
I highly recommend both the Middle School and the Upper School. The academic program is rigorous, but not overwhelming. Students know that teachers are very approachable to discuss and to learn further. The college counseling department is superb and helped both student and parents navigate this process.
We were disappointed at the academics in the middle school. The children are not held accountable for their work. There are no repercussions for failure to hand in work on time, or for sub- par work. It was frustrating to my child that there were so many students who did not care about their work. Also, the policy of not giving grades is a detriment to developing a strong work ethic. It is definitely not worth the money.
Others have talked about the gorgeous campus and rigorous academics. This is all true. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the Upper School's fantastic Robotics department aw well as the Computer Science Department. While not everyone's cup of tea, for those with an interest in engineering this program is the best in Oregon. The FIRST robotics team has a dedicated lab. All work is done entirely by students yet they consistently win the Oregon Regional and go to the world championships. Catlin is also one of the very few schools in Oregon where students can take four years of computer science by a fantastic instructor.
While my kids attended the Catlin lower school, the academic program was seriously lacking. The students were not taught even the basics of grammar and other elementary building blocks. Our experience matches that of the parent who posted a comment in October 2007: although the campus is beautiful, the academics of the lower school didn't begin to match that quality. Catlin was not only a waste of in terms of money; our student's lack of a solid foundation in elementary school basics has been a far greater price to pay.
The middle school at Catlin Gabel is fabulous. When we moved here, my son started the 6th grade which normally is a difficult transition, but at Catlin Gabel he transitioned so easily. The kids in his class are a nice group, friendly and respectful, and the parents are nice as well. He has made wonderful friends easily, as we have with their parents. The environment created by the faculty and staff is warm and respectful. Of course, the academics are rigorous. There is quite a high homework load and high expectations. However, the teachers are all invested in the success of the kids and with the small teacher student ratio, are able to pay the attention that is needed to individual students. The teachers are what make a school great, and they are all excellent. One has the feeling that anything can be accomplished at this school.
As a junior in the high-school at Catlin, I can honestly say that Catlin goes above and beyond in all areas- the teachers are exceptional and always jumping at opportunities to help students improve, and the academics are challening, while at the same time creative and invigorating. And not to mention the college-like campus, which is especially beautiful in the fall and spring. Kudoos to Catlin, and any perspective families should really pay attention to the unique teacher-student relationships and the welcoming community! -Happy Catlin Gabel Junior
The campus is beautiful and the classrooms are great from the outside...but I found the academics don't match the quality level that should be expected from a private school. My child wasn't challenged in the classroom. Even after speaking with the teacher several times, there weren't many worthwhile changes made except an increase in 'busy' homework. I have since moved to another area private school that is much less expensive and has MUCH better academics despite a less luxurious campus.
My children attended the Catlin lower school (elementary school). I agree completely with the review dated February 2004. Not only were the academic standards in the lower school poor and inconsistent, but the administration and teachers were unwilling to give parents information. The Oregon state standards for elementary schools do not apply to private schools like Catlin, and Catlin does not use any uniform standard for testing at the lower school level to assess children's progress, so parents are often in the dark. On the other hand, the campus is beautiful, and the teachers are warm to the children. The lower school is very expensive, particularly in view of the educational quality.
Catlin Gabel is an outstanding school that teaches students how to think, not what to think. Teachers are warm, knowledgeable, and focused on what's best for each child. My brother and I had a remarkable experience here and went on to terrific colleges (Brown and University of Chicago). This school gets it right for students and families, and does so without pretension or a sense that the school has 'arrived' and need not continue to grow and adapt. A model learning institution. I realize daily what a gift the Catlin education has been for me.
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