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School of the Woods High uses a mastery program. That means students don t advance in a subject until they have mastered it, as opposed to the public schools my three kids attended before Woods High where almost everyone advanced regardless of what they had or had not learned. The Woods senior thesis is also a requirement for graduation. My daughter, currently a thriving sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, reports that the senior thesis was very helpful in giving her a preview of what college would be like. I have put two children through Woods High and have a third on track to graduate in another year. The two graduates were accepted to all five of the colleges to which they applied. The third graduates in 14, so no college choices yet. I don t think any school fits every student. For my kids, however, I couldn t be happier with this school or with the result.
Please note that GreatSchools.com is presenting inaccurate information about the school. Repeated requests to Customer Support have been ignored. Further, GreatSchools.org is presenting advertising that appears to be endorsed by School of the Woods. This has been done with the consent of School of the Woods or its Board of Trustees. The Great Schools organization has posted this listing without permission and is in violation school policies.
I hope School of the Woods is reading these reviews. I have NO idea what's going on, but will be calling school Monday morning. I subscribe to these reviews, saw the one on no tech and said that can't be possible. My kid got a report card with Computer Tech I and Computer Tech II on it. I immediately asked him about the class and he looked at me like I was crazy! He said there was no class on computers at the school. I asked if there was a computer room and he laughed. Homework? A teacher? I asked how he got a 95 in a class he never took SIX semesters in a row. He said all the kids get that grade. It's a fake class! Then I asked about a grade he got for Houston Experience. He thinks it was a field trip. I just called another parent and they asked their kid. Same answer. Same grade. Now there are two upset parents.
We've decided to leave School of the Woods at the end of this school year and I'd like to share what drove our decision. It was the lack of anything modern in the classroom. School of the Woods is stuck in the 1800s. If Maria didn't bless it, it has no place in their school. This means no computer lab, no computer class, not even an elective at the high school level. Most students aren't even allowed to bring a computer/tablet to school. School of the Woods is falling behind educational innovations and sticking with the same hundred year old ideologies. Our daughter, even at a young age, is falling behind her neighborhood friends and other family members. Montessori looks innovative when compared to a 1970s classroom, but today there is no comparison, especially with other private schools. Within 10 years, I'm not sure Montessori will even be a viable option?
[Original 2/3/2013] We are in the process of deciding whether to leave School of the Woods next school year. I wanted to see what colleges our graduates are attending. SOTW has graduation announcements on their web site dating back to 2009. I compared the lists to US News college rankings. In 4 years, only 4 graduates have attended a Top 50 university; 0 attended a Top 100 university in 2012; 3 attended a Top 200 school (ranks #125, #139 and #165) and in the last 4 years, only 2 went to UT Austin and 2 to A&M. Most popular school is the University of Houston. ~90% went to small liberal arts colleges. The average acceptance rate of colleges attended by 2012 graduates is 64%. I have no idea what's going on in the secondary school, but we are not going to chance it. We are going with a larger school and hope our son is top 5-7% and can automatically get into UT or A&M. I hope this research helps other parents. [Updated 4/18/2013] Do Google search> graduates site:schoolofthewoods.org <and it will return PDF results. Some are graduation announcements & list school for each graduate that year. Since I had never heard of any of the colleges, had to look them up in US News to get info.
Your information has been very useful. We would like to know how did you find what colleges the School of the Woods's graduates are attending? We tried to find a similar information in US News and Reports web site and could not find it. We are planing our son's educational path, and want to select his middle and High schools.
Almost 40 year old alumni with successful career and happy family. School of the Woods has been nurturing and developing critical thinkers for the modern age for the last 50 years. I attended School of the Woods long ago and not only is the principal the same but many of the staff have been there for ages. Most schools turn over staff so much because of unstable environments. This school is consistent in its teaching and curriculum, meaning they have an enormous background of childhood development science and observation to draw on as well as having experienced every child's learning type and how to foster it.
When choosing a high school, small may not be better. Large schools have the infrastructure and sophistication to keep their school running properly. A neighbor told me of a local school that does spot locker checks, uses drug sniffing dogs and asks random students to take drug tests. I was aghast. But after listening, I realized the students have to respect their school. At SOTW, there is no infrastructure. Seniors have a heavy influence on freshmen (from day one!), because there are less than 100 students total. Students can get away with anything. Teachers would rather be your friends. Leaders are more concerned with outward appearances, national conferences and fundraising. It s less a school and more an ever-changing experiment in alternative education.
There is no teaching in this school!!! It is all independent study or peer-teaching based. That is fine for self-directed kids but ones who need guidance are left to flounder on their own. I don't believe this embodies the montessori philosophy which is aimed at adapting teaching methods to the individual. My daughter joined middle school this year after testing above her grade level in her elementary montessori. But every time she asked her teacher a question, she was told to read the study guide and figure it out herself. I found out she was unable to complete the assignments on her own after 2 months - far too late in my opinion. I found the teacher to be unapproachable and unsympathetic, blaming the kid instead of looking at how her teaching methods needed to be adapted. The teacher seemed to be offended that my child required teaching. My daughter is now in a catholic private school and doing just fine, apart from still recovering from blows to her self-esteem from the SOW experience!
I have to agree with the previous review - do not go here for academic - Verification of high school graduates and the mediocre (at best) universities which accepted them was not hard. Some preschool teachers are not very encouraging. Some children repeat preschool b/c they believe the child is not good enough to go to 1st grade. What a encouragement for the little one! They do not welcome anything negative from parents; that shows well that they have no room to improve themselves.
Daughter expelled from School of the Woods (10th Grade) in 11/2011 (mid-semester). Grades? 99, 99, 99, 96, 94 & 95. Expelled via email w/3 days notice. No conference, no meeting. Straight A student, stellar teacher recommendations, student @ SOTW since 4th grade. Why? We questioned academics. Here is an example. Teacher passes out syllabus for cycle covering 8 historic revolutions. Only 4 groups of students, so 4 of 8 are assigned for classwork. Each group shares a textbook, not to be removed from school. At end of week, teacher is to synthesize all 8. Gets backed up, covers 1st part of cycle (none of revolutions). Friday before exam, daughter has never put eyes on 4 of 8 revolutions, worked 1 w/her team & heard about 3 from other students. Review is day before test. Students take pages of notes and cram all night. 4 of 8 still not taught/reviewed (run out of time). Exam question 1? Chinese Revolution. 2? Scientific Revolution. Daughter never learned these revolutions. This happened every cycle. How did she overcome? Asked teacher to borrow textbook (Friday before exam), crammed all weekend @ library, photocopying encyclopedias. Self-taught Chinese/Scientific/Other Revolutions.
School of the Woods has been in BUSINESS since 1962. The first High School graduating class was in 2003. As a parent (SOW student) I was bombarded with over the top outlandish claims as to this school's achievements. Verification of high school graduates and the mediocre (at best) universities which accepted them was not hard. Also, no problem verifying whether or not the AP courses offered (no matter what SOW claims) are accredited and/or accepted by ranking universities. Certain information from SOW is very, very hard to get. OBVIOUS CONCLUSION: If academics is your goal, find another school.
My daughter attended Woods Upper Elementary, Middle School, and is now in Woods High School. This is a wonderful school. The faculty members are experienced, well-qualified, and take a personal interest in the students. Class size is small so everyone receives individual attention and guidance. Although the high school is small, it provides a lot of extracurricular sports and activities. The school has a real sense of community.
Mixed review for Primary (2 1/2 to 6) Full Day Program-Our experience was NOT positive- I will try to be as objective as possible. Academically= top notch. Following Montessori method = top notch. Area of Concern: While faculty is extremely knowledgeable - they are not approachable. The Administration is not approachable. We, and other families, had issues with bookkeeping. They are a very well oiled machine and do not welcome suggestions, criticism (from outside professionals), or allow accommodations. In a class of 28, we know of three boys who have been asked to be evaluated (10.7% of the class or approximately 20% - this is high). Two of the boys parents took their boys out of the school (do not know if they were ask to be evaluated - but parents were not comfortable with staff and may also not have been well versed in the M method). If you are considering SOW, observe, visit more than once, ask probing questions - inconvenience them a tiny bit and get a feel-most importantly, READ and LEARN the method and lingo and VISIT other Montessori schools to decided if this one is the one for you. Many people are happy here - it just didn't work for us.
School of the Woods Middle School has been an outstanding experience for our son. Having easily made straight As at public school, we wanted a more challenging, richer environment for him. While the student population is relatively small (~44 students in the combined 7th/8th grade), the school has provided a diverse set of experiences including community service each week, field trips, camping trips, and even ropes courses to develop leadership and team building skills. In addition, their approach to academics fosters critical thinking skills vs. rote memorization. Now my son has daily homework that requires research and frequently engages us in fascinating conversations that I never would have expected from a 14 year old. In reading the reviews on this website, I was concerned about the academics in high school, so I attended the high school open house which included talking to both students and parents of former students. I am now convinced that not only are the students academically challenged, but that colleges value the unique experiences these students can bring to their campus.
I attended the high school at School of the Woods and had a wonderful year. The environment is outstanding. I have never experienced such a feeling of community. The students and teachers truly care for one another.Everyone is accepted and welcomed. However, the academics are lacking immensely, especially in the math and sciences. AP classes are also not available (though, the head master claims that this is an advantage for students applying to colleges). The high school is also overcrowded. However, the high school does feature what it calls intersessions, which are extended breaks where the students choose to do a number of things (from going to Big Bend, to 'Junior Week', New York, Guatamala...). Do not send your child here for academics, send them solely for the experiences.
Amazing school. Leader in Montessori education. Supportive staff with lots of opportunity for student successes. Amazing art and music curriculum. Beautiful wooded campus. We have loved it there.
School of the woods is the best educational system I have ever encountered, from the hellping supporting air of the classmates, to the very involved and helpful teachers. Woods focuses on allowing the students to guide many aspects of they're academic carrier, and has the most comprehensive curriculum of any school in houston, if not texas.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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