Our children have grown up attending both Heartworks and the Renaissance Schools. We are so pleased with the Faculty and Staff, academics, language and arts, differentiated learning, school community and of course the location. This program has helped us to instill a love of learning in our children. They are fully engaged in their education and are excited to go to school each day. Shelburne Farms is an amazing setting for this school. The children spend quite a bit of time exploring the Farm, not only with their classroom Teachers, but with very knowledgeable farm Educators. They have learned so much about the history of this farm as well as hands on learning about so many facets of the earth. This is a well rounded program that does a lot of things well. Our children are happy, engaged and educated. We know that they are well cared for and are getting the education that we want them to have to be successful as they grow up.
Our children have been attending the Renaissance School for the past three years and this has been---hands down----their best year. The new owners of the school have made a seamless transition, and are making some remarkable changes to the school. The increased academic collaboration with Shelburne Farms has added a tremendous value to my children's education and well being. We couldn't be happier with this change. We made the transition from our public school, which is a highly rated school. We were pretty happy with the school, but felt our children were missing something. The Renaissance School offers a topnotch language program, art program, and rigorous academics. Every winter, my son looks forward to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the farm. The Renaissance School has exceeded our expectations in every way. We feel very fortunate to have our children attend such a wonderful school and are looking forward to many more years at the Renaissance School, as well its middle school. Plain and simple, our children are happy.
It is with great joy that I write this review for the Renaissance School. As an administrator often working with the faculty and the many areas of the curriculum the new school year is developing so very well. The various members of the faculty bring such a variety of skills and interest that the students are in for a real treat. The classes are welcoming, the children so well received and with the small class sizes, every child learns in a respectful atmosphere with creative, rigorous academic pacing. With best wishes for another wonderful year of rigorous education delivered with much love, kindness and respect. Do come to visit the school and farm community.
This year has been such a great year for our daughter. Even though she started late, she was so warmly welcomed by her teacher and new friends. Her teacher is simply outstanding, and such a caring person who truly loves what she does...teaching different children at different levels, while making them all feel very special. My daughter learned to read, and quite quickly, and now reads everything in sight. She loves school, and adores all the teachers and staff. This is truly a special place, and we have been quite happy there this year.
My kids are attending the Renaissance School right now. They love going to school each day and thoroughly respect and adore their teachers every year. Most days my kids come home excited about what they have learned and can't wait to share it with me. We are planning to stay as long as possible. The teachers are highly qualified and rarely is there only 1 teacher in the room. Support staff, owners of the school and the principal are often helping in the classroom. The Renaissance education is one of old fashioned Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, What sets this school apart are the farm chores, peace meetings and kindness in the school. I like how the teachers are preparing the students for a greater responsibility for their own success. Homework is given at the beginning of the week with assignments due daily, however they can work ahead if they have extracurricular activities after school. My daughter now learning how to plan her week for soccer practice and not have to be stressed out on that evening. Recess is held on a big open field where the kids play many games. The Parent group is also an active participant in the school for parents to be more involved.
We can't say enough about Ren. Our family commuted 50 min. each way, each day, when our oldest began Kindergarten. It quickly became evident that this would be the path we would take for each of our children. We decided to leave our community, and our amazing friends just to be closer to this school. The founders of Ren have created a community where the sanctity of each individual is respected, where differences are embraced, and where no member of the community may demean, belittle or harm another. The school and its staff work to cultivate purposeful citizenship on local, national and global levels. They generate critical, creative and socially conscious thinkers. My husband and I have always said that if our children grow up to be kind, compassionate and self-confident adults, we will have done our job. Ren has helped us tremendously toward this mission. A friend of ours is the Dir. of Adm. at a Private School here in VT - one that many children from Ren go on to attend. She said, "You can walk into any classroom at our school and immediately pick out the children who went to Ren. They are the leaders and the most confident children in the classes." This sealed the deal for us!
This school has such potential to be an amazing experience for young children, but falls short in many areas. The fact that it is located on a beautiful estate with a working farm makes it quite appealing to the upper class of parents that are looking for the prestigious, private school experience. Most parents are uninvolved however, and would be quite surprised at how different the actual classroom experience is from the school tours. The school tends to be a bit disorganized, unstable, indecisive, and at times inappropriate. The accelerated curriculum and lack of daily rhythm can be a bit heavy for the younger ages. It is nothing like the preschool atmosphere, and was quite the disappointment.
Renaissance School does an acceptable job in the primary (K-2) grades, but their performance declines with each subsequent grade (3-6). Pros: small class size (<14), location on a working farm, strong foreign language program, 'flexible' curriculum designed to work with students at their level. Cons: many gaps in curriculum, lack of leadership and accountability, lack of knowledge about education in general, scarce resources despite being private, lack of involvement/engagement of parent community, very poor math outcomes, extremely high teacher turnover. And that 'flexible' curriculum they tout is just an excuse to be lazy and give the kids workbooks so they can work independently. It is really a shame, because the concept has so much potential, but it is not executed well. The public schools in this area are far superior in almost every way, but Ren can be a haven for the socially awkward.
My wife and I find this school exceptional. This is our daughters' first and third years at the school. Both girls also attended Heartworks Preschool, which is run by the same people. We came to this school after our older daughter had attended kindergarten in the public school for 2 months. She just didn't seem engaged there. After just 20 min in what would become her new class, she was smiling and interacting with her teacher and the other students. It was wonderful to see. We couldn't be more pleased with the school and highly recommend it.
This school is wonderful. The supportive, caring atmosphere fosters positive social experiences and solid learning. Along with instruction in art, music, and two languages, the curriculum includes animal and earth science instruction by educators at the school's stunning nonprofit farm location, from the earliest grades. The teachers are creative and caring. The strong focus on math and reading is integrated in all aspects. It has a robust academic program that flexibly and meaningfully supports gifted and other learners. Frustrated by our local public school's lack of training and support for gifted education for our son, we extensively researched many schools and talked to former teachers and consultants, and had very positive findings for this school. Its small classes afford all students individual instruction and attention. Our son is very happy with it and now can learn and grow, intellectually and in spirit. We are extremely happy we found this school.
Our children have been at the Renaissance School (at the preschool too) since they were 2 years old. We have found the school has a very strong academic program and an excellent record for finding really good teachers. The administrators have also been very attentive to our family's needs. The teachers do a great job of creating a peaceful, respectful environment in which nurturing a love of learning is the primary goal. For sensitive children and/or children with gifted tendencies or special learning needs, this is an excellent school. It has also been our experience, however, that parents have very extreme opinions about the Renaissance School - they either really love it or really hate it without accepting or considering the realities involved in running a small private school. For us, this school is a great fit for our kids and we have had only wonderful experiences
On the surface this is a very appealing school: it has a fantastic location (though it is leased so who knows for how long), small classes, a good art teacher, good language teachers, and a good natural science program. But the school is really poorly administered; the co-heads (and founders) are semi-retired (or at least seem to be due to frequent absences) but won't relinquish control of the institution to anyone else. Instead they swoop in to try to solve problems when they come up, which is more and more frequently since there is little leadership. They also have a reputation for making their teacher's feel very unappreciated; this is probably why this year half of the teacher's left, a couple with no other jobs to go to. The school has declining enrollment as the grades go up, because parents become more and more frustrated the longer they are there.
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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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