This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Notre Dame Academy1
Posted January 11, 2015
- a parent
Unfortunately, this website doesn't have an option to give the school zero stars in the rankings. We had a positive experience with Middleburg Academy prior to the Bell regime but the guy has driven the school into the ground since his arrival. If elitism and narcissism is what you're seeking as a role model for your children, then by all means enroll and keep them at Middleburg, so they can learn from the best - the Bells. Not what we wanted for our family, so we're out!
Middleburg Academy was a prayer answered when my son was accepted. He spent two successful and happy years. He had teachers who supported his academic and emotional needs; as he was dealing with adult problems that weren't in his control. Lacrosse gave him an instant family with a mix of young men...who were going through adolescence...making good and bad decisions. They knew they could talk to teachers, Ms. Struder and coaches and receive sound support and advice. Knowing my son was talking to respected adults who respected him provided peace. As a parent, I was welcomed into the community and made many students welcome in my home and life. Unfortunately, when Mr. Bell took over.. students and faculty were put in situations where they didn't feel safe or respected. Some were expelled/fired/quit/encouraged to leave...while others were given forgiveness and understanding. This leadership caused gossip, kids and parents to become divisive and some to feel more entitled than others. These characteristics would give way to bullying, favoritism, and a negative environment. I am thankful for the time my son spent at Middleburg Academy; however it's not the same school today.
Middleburg's student body seems as if they are all tolerant of each other, but trust me when I say that there is certainly no lack of drama. Administration and Staff are very much like mean, strict parents of the school. If they like you, you are very well respected and are not even considered when unfortunate events occur. However, if you are looked down upon by administration, it is the complete opposite. There is always a target on your back for anything that happens, even if you were not involved. My advice if your child were to attend Middleburg would be to STAY UNDER THE RADAR. And also not to be friends with the people that you know are frowned upon by administration. Because one way or the other, they will take you down if you do associate with those people.
I am thinking that the administration does not understand the term "conflict of interest". The Headmaster and the Director of Advancement are husband and wife (another poster mentions that he fired a competent employee to make way for her). The Dean of Academics and the Dean of Students are mother and daughter. Therefore, 4 of 5 of the administrators are related. Further, the husband/wife pair and the mother/daughter pair each have an advisory of around 10 students. The Assistant Headmaster is also a co-adviser for an advisory. All 5 of them teach. An adviser is supposed to be a neutral advocate. Not sure how that can happen if your adviser is an administrator and BOTH of your advisers are related.
Whether you will or won't enjoy your time at Middleburg really comes down to the administration's opinion of you. They arbitrarily peg students at "favorites" and ensure that they have a fabulous high school experience. However, if you are not one of those students, you are placed on the back burner and could not be cared less about by admin. The teachers, on the other hand, tend to make the effort to help everyone, but they can only do so much. The 2014-2015 school year is my first and definitely last at Middleburg.
My daughter attends Middleburg Academy and loves it. My daughter has been at Middleburg Academy for 4 years now and absolutely loves it. She has been through two different headmasters since she has started, yet has the most to say about Mr. Bell. Mr. Bell taught her history her junior year last year, and despite his hard grading, managed to do very well in that class. As far as the bullying goes, all I have to say is that my daughter is friends with some of the so called "rich, snobby girls". What I can tell you is that everything is not what it seems as most of the girls are on scholarships/ financial aid. Seeing as Middleburg is an expensive school, and that I am friends with the girls' parents, we often discuss scholarships and financial aids. The fact that a fellow parent wrote that review doesn't reflect well on their parenting techniques, because everyone should be treated with respect, whether adult or child.
The students are what make middleburg okay. I'm a senior and don't know what I'd do without my classmates. To clear things up: the class of 2016 is not the best group of people, and the bullying described is very real. But other than that particular grade, most people (with exceptions) are very very nice and friendly. The faculty is all nice and a lot of them try hard, but they aren't all the best at teaching. I am never prepared for the College Board AP tests. Those tests follow certain patterns that in many classes we don't go over at any time during the whole year. We have some great stuff here but also some that is not-so-great. Mr. Bell tends to make whatever decisions he wants to, and has a history of blatantly disrespecting and embarrassing students and teachers. The school accepts anyone because they're desperate for money (even if you've been expelled from another school and are simply using Middleburg as a place to go because you don't have anywhere else). A lot of people get expelled for dumb reasons-- if you're seen as a problem they eliminate you, even if you're not the one actually doing something wrong. That is an area of the dean, Mrs. Struder's expertise.
I've been at Middleburg Academy for 2 years now, and I couldn't be happier with my choice to come here! I am a part of the class of 2016, and I can tell you the reviews below are not accurate. When I came here I was accepted into my group of friends right away, and we are all very close and I am so privileged to be a part of such a wonderful group of friends! I am involved with my school heavily from athletics to clubs and I can tell you I have never witnessed this "bullying" that goes on, our school is like a family, and such a great place to be able to attend school at. The headmaster genuinely cares about the school as well as the well-being of students, he wants our high school experience to be something we appreciate and remember, and he has made sure that is the case for all of us. I have never been a part of a school that has couch races for homecoming or having a family style Thanksgiving together, as well as having a high success rate, and preparing your child for college, Middleburg Academy will do something other high schools can't for your child, make the experience fun. Middleburg Academy has changed my life, I never thought I would enjoy coming to school.
I am a current student at Middleburg Academy and have attended here for 3 years now and plan on graduating next year with all my friends in 2016. I have spent many years in private school years and could not be more pleased with my time spent here. I have been through 2 head masters here and have a tremendous amount of respect for the current head of school and his family who has brought a wonderful overall family feel to the schools community. The listed "bullying issues" below are false or taken out of proportion. High School is a difficult place to be and not everyone is going to fit into every situation or group of people perfectly. The teachers here and small class sizes make it and easy and comfortable learning environment. Being in honors and advanced classes are challenging yet have high achievement rates with the amount of one on one attention with teachers to students. The diverse collection of courses offered here give each student an opportunity to branch outside of the norm and really dive into classes that they are truly interested in. I could not have been happier with my time here and will miss the days being surrounded by my friends and wonderful teachers.
My School is Middleburg Academy. I am a current student in the class of 2016. Despite the negative reviews on the school, me and many others have thoroughly enjoyed the school and will continue to enjoy it for the remaining years. I was immediately impressed with the new headmaster and faculty. I not only shadowed the school in 9th grade but also in 7th grade. Seeing both the new headmaster and the old, Mr. Bell has and will continue to transform the school in a positive way. The bullying that "goes on" is false. I have never seen it go on and/or have never been a part of it. The alleged "bullies" in which I know very well, have done nothing of the sort. When I first came to Middleburg Academy these girls accepted me with open arms. Middleburg Academy offers great courses including AP's and honors classes. These classes as well as the multi-talented and innovative teachers have not only challenged me but have believed in me. This truly is the key to success. Going to Middleburg Academy has changed my life, I feel me and many others understand that school is a place to be challenged and strive for success, in which this school is outstanding at obtaining.