From an alumni perspective;
Abiqua school was a great environment for students to learn based on their academic level. Advanced students were challenged and others were given care to improve their skills. A variety of class field trips allowed students to learn concepts in engaging environments. Class sizes were ideal not only for specialized learning, but also social development.
In recent years, however (6-7 years to be exact), quality has immensely dropped. The high school program is hugely impractical, with glaring flaws in the middle school left unaddressed. As students enter a challenging and confusing time in their life the environment in the middle and high school is not suitable for social development or academic learning as students are shoved into mediocrity and opportunities for advancement are increasingly sparse. Though a student may be at an academic level not reached by the alumni before, the middle school will not compensate and will simply place that student at a lower level rather than purchase new learning materials or offer transport to a school that does offer the needed program. Furthermore, the middle school offers no options outside of Abiqua to parents or students and will not allow any presentations from other Salem high schools to talk to the students about programs available to them. Expect frequent donation requests and rising fees as well as requirements to purchase technology through the school (be advised with enough negotiation, however, you can refuse). Administration is not particularly helpful in terms of parent comments or issues, thus bullying can arise (but is not a regular occurance) and quickly become an issue. The school has great teachers overall, the issue lies within the administration.
Elementary school; great, good teachers, good programs
Middle school; mediocre/good for the average student, terrible programs for advanced students, limiting in individuality and programs but offers good experiences.
High school; terrible, impractical, undeveloped.
Come for the elementary, leave afterwards.
What I would have rated this school a few years ago and what I rate it now are vastly different. What you think of Abiqua will depend on how long your kids have been at the school and whether or not they went to the middle school. Abiqua Academy (its new name) is a vastly different culture than Abiqua School. If you are looking for a prep school where homework is more important than sleep, along with a dash of arrogance and dismissiveness, this is your school. If you are looking for a well balanced lifestyle for your child with exposure to good music programs, sports, good academics, and a lot of different peers, stop. This isn't your school.
The middle schoolers go on a trip every year so in addition to the $12,000 in tuition, you will want to budget an additional $3000 or so per person for the trip. If your child doesn't go on the trip, they aren't given a serious education that week so it is wasted money.
The school is also heavy on donations and an email already went out this past school year about how they will need everyone's support for the new high school. If you enroll in the fall, just plan to be inundated with requests for money. The middle school is bleeding students so those missing tuition dollars will need to be made up by the remaining parents.
Then there are the practical things you don't think about as a parent. The middle school gets out at 3:30 which is an hour after Salem-Keizer. So if you have a child that wants to play football, for example, you have to decide if you are going to pull them out of school early to make practices. The community is geared about public schools, and Abiqua's schedule isn't in sync with that.
After committing the resources for Abiqua I felt a bit mislead. Despite the small class sizes students DO NOT get individualized teaching. I found out late in the year that the testing they do is just for the office and doesn't benefit the kids. Students are all clumped towards the mean and advanced students are held back for teacher convenience rather than placed based on their test results. The music program leaves a great deal to be desired and repeats identically each year so no opportunity for advancement exists. There is a culture of extortative intimidation by the administration to solicit donations which begins once you sign your contract. Despite the advertised cost there are numerous "hidden fees" that add up quite a bit such as "field trip fees", "technology fees", "technology maintenance fee", inflated costs for iPads that you have to buy through the school. Plus they change required technology arbitrarily so you might have to buy multiple iPads or computers. Plus tuition rises each year despite the fact that they do not provide more each year. Finally, any attempt to address any topic with the office is met with a smile, a nod, and no further action.
Abiqua Academy is not only a wonderful place to work but it is one of the best schools in the Willamette Valley for PreK-12. Students are given one-on-one time with teachers at every grade level. Abiqua provides an environment that allows students to thrive.
Having had multiple kids at the school for multiple years I have noticed a trend towards mediocrity. Despite ever increasing tuition which is now over $10 K per child the overall quality of education is declining. The school has had a great deal of teacher turnover recently. The classes are being combined and taught at a lower level than they once were. The Principal acts like a greeter at the door each morning but cannot retain good teachers. Additionally, the principal wants zero parent involvement (unless you are donating more money). Discipline has also been a major problem especially with bullying which the school seems unable to manage.
Abiqua school has been drastically changing it's direction in recent years. This shift causes valid concerns on either side of the issue. There are people happy with it and others quite unhappy. Both sides will have valid views. The reputation it has enjoyed is shifting and where that will stop is still to be seen.