I am a former student at Rainard having been bullied if not traumatized by fellow students and my teachers in second and third grade. Despite all of this I was leery to start at a new school and was quite nervous starting fourth grade in 2008. Almost immediately I was embraced by my teacher the administrative assistant and two twin boys little did I know would become and still are to this day my best friends. Honestly I cant say that that year was the most educationally focused but having dealt with what I had the previous two years that is what I needed. I had also formed a great bond with the then head of school and the year was a good one. My fifth grade experience was not the same due to the then heads of school who had replaced the former. It was around this time I started exhibiting traits of anxiety so in addition to the school falling apart my parents took me out and transferred me the following year. I later returned for eighth grade after somewhat troubling sixth and seventh grade experiences. I was again embraced with open arms but it was again different I experienced extreme anxiety and left half way through the year. I am thankful to Rainard and all it has done for me.
So pleased I took a chance and ignored naysayers.... The former head of school never took a single moment to meet with my family while we were going through the admission process. He denied our entrance of my 141 iq son when he showed hesitation and nerves the day of the school visit. I was shocked, how could an administrator "get" gifted kids and not understand the anxiety and nerves that almost always accompany these children? I said to hell with this school, but when I heard there were new directors I knew I had to check back in, so I met with the board, met the administrators and I am so happy I took a leap of faith. My son is exactly where he needs to be, has a fabulous teacher, and the new directors are smart and take every necessary step to communicate with all parents. Singapore math and rice university stem scopes are being implemented, but really, I just want a place where my gifted kid could belong and I found it. Gifted parents belong, too. It's a happy place, check it out.
In the past 6 years this school has been through 4 heads of school change, three curriculum changes and massive teacher turnover. My child needs continuity to thrive. My student deserved a school with a clear direction to prepare her for college and the future. Rainard could not provide this. Because of this Rainard is overpriced for the substandard education it provides.
Ask questions. If there is arguing through reviews...wonder why? There are a few parents who run the school...and the board. All the good teachers left. I would ask about teacher attrition, student attrition, and experience. The system is set up to fail. Run. Fast.
This school has a great mission statement, unfortunately they do not know how to follow it. The school is going through a great deal of transition this year, but that is nothing new. It seems as if the Head of School personnel changes about every 2 years, probably one reason why it is so chaotic, unprofessional, and no one knows what the other is doing. In our experience at Rainard for the past couple of years, I have witnessed children being yelled at publicly in the office by teachers, personnel losing track of students, students who were supposed to receive medication at the school being forgotten... so many things that could easily be fixed. The academics taught at the school vary from teacher. There is no consistent curriculum, so the teachers pick and choose what they want to teach. The quality of instruction is dependent on the teacher (as in most schools), but there is no monitoring of the teachers. I was told that the students would be taught at their individual levels, but I did not see that in my child(ren)'s classes. Instead, I saw children working out of math books with no instruction from the teachers, very few lessons ever being taught in any academic area.
The school is going through a great deal of transition. It was necessary transition as the previous Head of School was not taking the necessary steps to see a love of learning continued. Many parents are angry because they liked the previous head of school. Liking someone doesn't mean they did their job. My child continues to thrive with wonderful teachers and her teacher is very enthusiastic about the new hiring the Board is doing.
This argument-through-reviews is unsetting but interesting. The theme I notice in both the positive and negative reviews is that the students are thriving. That is worth everything, worth saving, worth fighting for. Engage in discourse, listien to one another, evoke positive changes. Understand you won't always agree. Elsewhere you may find a world more interested in breeding academic jocks in the name of gifted education than nurturing the intelligence and creativity in these young minds and souls. Just a thought:)
I think families will continue to consider the school for its uniqueness. I haven't read one negative comment about the things that matter the most in schools - the children's learning and happiness. If I gave up in a school every time I disagreed with the admin, my kids would be constantly moving. Work it out, seems your school is worth fighting for!
While I agree that Rainard can be a great place for both the social and emotional growth of academically gifted children, for us it has come with a negative academic cost.. My child has not been appropriately challenged. A fact borne out by a peer to peer comparison with gifted friends attending other private schools and tumbling scores on standardized testing. Despite this, I was willing to give Rainard a chance, as I felt they were headed in the right direction. The past several months have proven to me otherwise, and i caution anyone considering this school to definitely do their homework. There are many children at Rainard with difficult behavioral and emotional problems and the school is not adequately staffed to handle these students. The extensive time spent on some of these students disadvantages the other better adjusted gifted children. Some of these children have strong ties to the current decision makers. Last year there were 85 students enrolled at Rainard; ask how many of them have re-enrolled. This is information that can be readily obtained from any other private school in Houston. Meet and spend time with your future teacher. Make an informed decision.
This school evolved a lot from when we first arrived. Our child had been in this school for years. We enjoyed the curriculum and how everything was adjusted to our child's level of learning. We have the utmost admiration for the excellent teachers (most of whom are leaving) and awe at our child's schoolmates (most of whom are also leaving). We can understand why a lot are upset about how the Board acts arrogantly, dismissively, and with disrespect towards the parents who question their actions and decisions. We're not surprised that almost all good teachers are leaving. The Board keeps talking about how they support the teachers but they act totally contrary to that. We are mystified with those who chose to keep a blind eye and ignore these things. We cannot understand, when there are better alternative schools around, why anyone would want to pay $15K a year to enroll their child in an unproven experimental system of operation with new heads (co-equal heads actually) , new teachers and a whole lot less students. With that in mind, ask yourself, why spend money and waste important years in my child's education for an experiment no one is allowed to criticize? It WAS a good school.
My son has attended Rainard for 10 years. The teachers have all been passionate and inspirational! Learning is not only academically challenging, but learning is fun at Rainard. Students are with like-minded peers and don't want to leave at the end of the school day. They like to stay and hang out or talk with the teachers. My son has always loved going to school and never wants to miss a day. During a three-week DUKE TIP medical summer camp at A&M last year the instructor commented, "I don't know what school your son attends, but keep him there. He is receiving an excellent education - top of his class here at camp - and is a well rounded individual. Someday I'll be working for him." I highly recommend Rainard School!
Our student was always 'ok' in other schools. She made good grades and had a few friends, but it was never quite right. She was excited about learning, liked bugs and science, read voraciously, and wasn't terribly concerned with 'matching' the rhythm and rules created by the other kids. At best this meant that she was often isolated, at worst she was bullied. It was like watching a light go from blinding brightness to one that was struggling to fight the darkness. It took a few weeks of feeling safe and valued at Rainard for that light to return, but it did. We struggle to make sure she is getting everything she needs in such a small place, and the board has struggled to find a head of school that 'gets' the Rainard culture AND can keep everything in place for a K-12 school. Their new plan to hire co-heads to split and share the responsibilities has promise. It isn't perfect, but what school is? This one is certainly working to get as close as possible. If you have a kid who just seems to shine a little too brightly for the world around them, too smart, intense, sensitive, bossy, fast... come and check us out. I wish we had made it to Rainard a few years earlier.
This is a great school for students in the elite 3% of the population with 135+ IQ. My children have attended for 3 years and I am amazed at their progress. I have one in high school and one in elementary. The school uses a 3-year rotation of curri- culum so it really takes that time to get the benefits involved. My children have wonderful teachers who make up for the transitional history of administration. Sometimes change is good. The administrators are given short contracts by the board of directors for a reason. The board is a strong governing body made up mostly of lawyers and doctors. I trust their judgement but more importantly, I trust the teacher who would put herself in jeopardy to protect my child.
Probably worth waiting a couple of years and then visit Rainard to check on progress... The current admin cannot carry this school forwards as needed. My Child has attended this school for three years + and have seen much change but always for the better. I hoped this would continue but due to the recent treatment of parents and teachers we now have difficulty trusting the current admin/board. It has become almost an all parent board with current children, which is creating a non-objective and emotional environment that opens the school up to conflict of interest. Not good for the parents on the board and not good for the school proven in many recent decisions and results. The potential for a large switch out of admin, teachers, parents and kids for the next academic year is highly likely and should be considered when looking at the risk/reward for Rainard. Id wait and see how the next 1-2 years goes and revisit...
We are a long time Rainard family and up until two months ago, I would have recommended the school for anybody with a gifted child. While never perfect, the school worked with and listened to the parents. Very sadly though, I can no longer recommend the school in good conscience. The head of school firing was just the beginning. The board does not believe the parents can think for themselves regarding what is best for their child. The board has worked in secrecy until the point where they realized there was a mass exodus at the school and now they decide to try to share. Unfortunately, their direction they are only half sharing is not the best for our kids. They hire a co-head who is an amazing GT teacher but has no experience in managing faculty or dealing with kids older than 6th grade. The community, family feel of the school is gone. I truly hope Rainard can get back to the fabulous place they once were but until that time, please do your research if you are looking at the school.
We are finishing our second year at Rainard - best decision ever for our child! We were attracted by a 20+ year track record of unparalleled success in developing the whole child, in nurturing their social and emotional needs as well as academic. With a heightened focus on academics and classroom performance we cannot wait until the new school year. An amazing collection of parents and grandparents adds to the academic experience as guest lecturers and non-academic, special after school classes. It has been an amazing two years. We are so grateful Houston has a school like this.
My child has attended this school for several years and the changes in my child have been amazing. Yes, there are changes going on, but all good changes. Changes for the betterment of the school and the children that go there. Some of the Board members have children that attend this school and some have children that have graduated. It is a really special school for all grade levels especially when they are learning and playing together.
The Rainard School changed my son's life. After years in public school and being ridiculed and bullied for being different, he was welcomed and accepted by the community at Rainard. Saying that he has blossomed there is an understatement! Are there problems? sure....but there are in any school. We are confident that the changes being proposed at the schol will address them. The Board is made up primarily of parents from the school who are only working in the best interest of the students. When the new board was implemented last year, I don't remember any grumblings about the need for 'elections' etc, In fact, quite the opposite. The community seemed excited about the caliber of the people who VOLUNTEERED to step forward and serve. The Head of School was not doing his job and admitted to his shortcomings. Had everyone attended the Town Hall meetings this week, they would have learned the full scope of those 'shortcomings'. Our family is excited about the coming changes and look forward to another year at The Rainard School. I encourage all to come and visit the school, spend time in the classrooms and meet the people. It's an amazing place for a special group of kids.
I rate at 4 because there is some work to do, but the culture created by the teachers, students and parents is truly unique. Kids are not only valued by the staff but also by the other children. This aspect has to be seen to be appreciated. The Board has recently made some tough decisions regarding leadership that most agreed with, but some didn't. Unfortunately, some families, most of whom already intended to leave for various reasons, felt compelled to polarize the issues rather than work together on them. Prospective parents should do their research and ask questions. But if interested, you must see firsthand the accepting and collaborative environment driven by the teachers and students - that is what sold us several years back.
Rainard was a school that welcomed our family and made us feel at home. Until this year. At the beginning of the school year, parents were asked what they liked best about the school, and the administration was ranked number one in the responses received. Then, the Board completely upended the administration, resulting in the loss of the Head of School. Since that time, there have been many other losses to the community, teacher resignations, long-term families leaving. But the most important aspect of these changes for our family is that Rainard is becoming not a school for the Gifted, but a school for gifted kids with behavioral or other social issues. One of the reasons we left public school was to find a place where our kids weren't bullied, weren't required to deal with distracting or dangerous outbursts in the classroom, and where content of character mattered. We have not found this to be a guiding principle of Rainard this year, as the Board seems to be insistent on becoming a school for gifted kids who cannot function outside of this very narrow environment. If you are looking for a challenging academic environment for your well-adjusted gifted child, look elsewhere.
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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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