Waterford is an amazing school for those interested in a liberal arts education. We have had kids in the lower school, middle school, and upper school over the past decade. Every time I visit a Waterford classroom I leave wishing I could go back and start my own education over.
What makes Waterford stand apart:
1) Passionate teachers who love their subjects and their students. The teachers ignite passions in their students that the students didn't even realize they had. The teachers are genuinely interested in the students and engage with them both in and out of the classroom. (As an aside, I love that my lower school kids spend time with specialists purely focused on science, music, art, computers, reading, and PE. This guarantees that my kids are taught by knowledgeable and passionate teachers in every subject, every day.)
2) An environment of exploration where students are encouraged and enticed to explore and try things they never thought they would. My kids have benefited from so many great opportunities that have grown their minds and uncovered their talents. Waterford is an environment where it's safe to be yourself, and cool to work hard.
3) A fantastic campus and facilities to foster robust experiences: art studios, concert halls, science labs, dance studios, photo labs, flexible classroom configurations, athletic facilities, and lots of open space to gather with friends.
Why Waterford has been a great school for my children:
1) My kids love going to school each day. They are challenged, engaged, and excited by their learning experiences.
2) They are developing a breadth of knowledge and experience that I think will prepare them for the uncertainty of the ever changing world over their lifetime. They are building strong academic skills, but more importantly they are seeing the bigger world picture and learning how to think critically.
3) Their understanding of the world and of their own talents and passions is far ahead of where mine were at their age. Sitting in on a 11th grade history class reminds me of my college seminars--a small group of students sitting around a table having a robust conversation, with a teacher encouraging the students to push the limit of their thinking. My children will be far more prepared than I in charting their course to find a rewarding life that follows their passions and abilities.
One advantage of being at Waterford is that you don't have to worry about getting a "bad" teacher. They are not all equally effective with every student, but they are passionate and caring teachers who take a personal interest in the growth of their students.
The school expects the students to work hard. The homework is far more than I had as a child, but they also recognize that these kids are all involved in other activities as part of a great liberal arts education.
Waterford exposed me to so many diverse fields, with expert-level instruction. I could paint, throw clay on the potter's wheel, examine cultures in a petri dish, study violin concertos, recite Shakespeare onstage for my peers. The quality of instruction was on a collegiate level, and my peers were first-class and inspired me to work hard and perform well academically. Truly, it was an exceptional education.
I want to share my view of the Waterford School as both an alumnus and a parent. I attended Waterford from 3rd grade through 12th grade. The experience changed my life. I was struggling immensely in massive classes at my local public school. When I graduate from Waterford I went to college on scholarship, and I received a master of science degree and PhD from the top programs in my field. I honestly believe I would not be where I am had it not been for Waterford. The small classes, the liberal arts curriculum, the creativity that is encouraged, the committed faculty, and perhaps most important, the drive and work ethic I gained there have made me successful. I believe in it so much that we moved my family near the school so my children can easily participate in all it has to offer. It is already making a huge difference for my son, and I look forward to what it can do for my other son when he starts school. Even though it is a sacrifice financially for us, it is worth every penny. Nothing is better to invest in than our children, and this is the most secure investment in them I know.