Good school learned a lot and had lots of great experiences. I came in 4th grade and am still amazed by the outstanding quality of this unique education I am receiving.
I am extremely happy with the school so far (EC-elementary levels). Almost all of my family members and extended family are/were teachers at traditional schools and we are happy with what we see. The atmosphere is great, the teachers are knowledgeable, and I see that children truly enjoy learning. The school pays close attention to child development stages, which is a big plus to me. They are also good about unstructured play time, which, I think, traditional schools lack. Wonderful art and music programs (most public schools cut those due to budgetary problems). And, what's more important, I see the steady academic progress that my child shows.
The school has been a wonderful experience for my children. The faculty and the environment foster personal responsibility and preparation for life long learning. It develops more that test scores; it fosters creative empathetic people who can make a contribution to the community.
SOTW is the best education that can possibly be provided. Words cannot express how amazing this school is!!
The author of the August 29 post should be aware of the Great Schools policy prohibiting the identification individuals. In a small graduating class , it is quite simple to determine which individual is being discussed. Since Great Schools does not enforce their own policies, I expect this violation will not be addressed.
Parents need to be careful trusting School of the Woods. The school's website and a reviewer below mention a 2013 grad was accepted and is attending Texas A&M. That student did not get accepted at A&M, is enrolled at Blinn Community College, a 2 year associates program and hopes to be one of the 6 out of 10 students who transfer into Texas A&M one day.
Addressing the 6/30/13 post claiming fake classes at SOTW - this is simply not true. I am not sure of the poster's motivation. 1. Not everyone makes As and Bs. My child made some Cs. 2. The schedule is different. Some MWF and TTH classes that are twice as long allowing the teachers to teach more; there is less start up and wrap up time. 3. They do not give Algebra I credit to all. My child took the class freshman year. 4. The "field trips" are classes. One does not have to be in a classroom to learn. 5. Once a child starts middle school they use computers all day long. They are required to have laptops for high school. They have access to and use computers in upper elementary. 6. Yes, most graduates attend smaller liberal arts schools. Most appreciate a smaller learning environment and don't want to be herded along in a large state college. As a graduate of a large state college I am encouraging my child to look at smaller colleges. This years graduates will be attending Colorado College of Mines, Brown, Texas A&M, Tulane and the U of H Honors among other schools. We have a much higher than average number of National Merit Semi- finalists and Finalists.
The posting of July 25, 2013 is inaccurate regarding accreditation.The writer does not appear to understand the process. They also do not seem to have a grasp of the Montessori program. It should also be noted that GreatSchools.org continues to publish inaccurate statistical information and advertising that has not been endorsed by School of the Woods. Repeated request to user support have received not response from GreatSchools.org.
We left in 2011 after we found out School of the Woods lost its accreditation from the American Montessori Society. It made us very nervous and no one would tell us why, after 8 years, K-12 was no longer accredited. Leaving was the right decision. Teachers told us our child was a star, the best and the brightest, but we knew this was not true. We thought Montessori was all about setting high expectations and having a disciplined approach to learning. Our child fell way behind and there is no way any teacher can teach 20 kids, each at a different place in the curriculum.
There are a lot of great things about School of the Woods. They have a lot of wonderful events and activities. The parents are very involved. It is a beautiful natural campus, and kids have lots of time outdoors. I found from personal experience that it is better to begin with Montessori in preschool, as students need time to learn "the method" before it is necessary that they learn content at an efficient pace. Relatively large class size makes it difficult for teachers to provide individual lessons very frequently, so some subjects fall between the cracks. Your experience at the school can vary to a large degree depending on which teacher your child has. The administration has been doing this for a long time. Possibly because of this, they are not necessarily responsive to parents with concerns. Communication between the school and parents is fair- little use of technology for correspondence. School of the Woods is true Montessori- which seems to work very well for many students, but not all. Unless your child is highly disciplined and self-motivated, they will not learn at a very efficient pace. In pre-school it doesn't much matter, but going into Primary grades, it does.
Issue transcript credits for classes never attended: Give the same exact numerical grade semester after semester for the same class: Take 4 weeks away from the classroom each year, but issue full year credits: Issue 34-36 high school credits compared to 26 in the public schools. This would require a 9 hour school day: Give As and Bs to all students: Give a full year credit for Algebra I to all incoming freshman, despite no formal testing: Issue transcript credit for field trips, where no homework was assigned or tests given: Give different levels of credit for half year and full year classes: Give quarter credits on a semester-based transcript: Attend each class only MWF or ThTh, not enough classroom hours to issue full year credits: Honors distinction given to every student, regardless of constant retesting needed to raise grade to a B: Often retests are the exact same tests, corrected by the student, then retaken, ensuring a score of 100. Source -- City Data.
I have 2 kids that attend SOTW and think it is fantastic. Both started in the Early Childhood program when they weren't even 4 yet and they are now about to turn 10 & 7. It is a small learning environment where the kids get alot of attention due to a low student/teacher ratio. Its very different than many of our friends schools as our kids don't sit in rows of desks and do the same work as their peers, and they don't spend alot of time being prepped for standardized tests. We LOVE how small & private it is, and the wooded campus is a beautiful learning environment. Its a very unique place - it couldn't be more different than big public schools - and I can see that it might not be for everyone, but its been great for us.
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.
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