This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted June 13, 2014
- a parent
We've had a very good experience with Millwood Upper School. Our son is severely dyslexic, but also bright, and felt very out of place in our excellent public school system. Millwood is small enough to give him the support and accommodations he needs to excel. He's risen from being a C student to being a member of the National Honor Society, in no small part due to the thinking and writing skills he's learned while at Millwood.
Our experience has been mixed. The 1st grade teacher is compassionate and dedicated. We dis-enrolled based on differentiated needs our child has. They advertise individualizing for the child. They can adjust the pace (up or down) to the level of the child, but they did not differentiate approaches enough to the learning style of our child. Their approach is more sequential, rote drill and practice and knowledge reproduction. Our departing experience with administration, head of school, and school board representative has been upsetting. Once we had made the decision to not re-enroll for next year, it felt like we and our needs were disregarded. There is a small, but influential, very involved and exclusive group of parents who aggressively confront in the name of protecting a positive image of the school. Any criticism is branded as negative, and there is sometimes gossip about those not in the mold. This can be overwhelming and create an environment of distrust. The administration is listening to and hopefully addressing these concerns. Once the atmosphere is more inclusive and democratic feeling, then it will be in line with some of the other good things the school offers.
I stumbled across this site tonight and I'm sad to read the previous review from an obviously unhappy parent. I've known the head of school for many years and what she is guilty of is bad eyesight, not rudeness. I would give her the benefit of the doubt that it's hard to keep up with 400 parent names, 200+ student names and the few thousand other family and friends' names from former years that she must encounter all over town. She's been at the school for 25 years. That is a lot of names . As far as stale curriculum, I know that isn't accurate. In fact, my lower school child just started a new math program this year. And, the middle/upper school math teachers were meeting last week about enhancements for next year. My wife and I think this school is a bargain. We aren't big donors but give what we are comfortable as there is no outside funding. Philanthropy is a part of any private school education. We've never felt pressure to do anything more. It's about providing a nurturing yet rigorous education. I love the self introductions, public speaking and focus on writing and reading. I'll be sad when my kids graduate and I don't seem the other MWS families I like so much.
Pros: Small classes and community. Nice physical setting. Parent involvement. Good extended care hours. Cons: Teach the same stale curriculum (year after year). Do not teach to the child, but teach to the task. Community inclusion dependent on your donations of time and money. Focus is on displaying positive (not realistic) image of the school and perceived "negativity" of the school is censored (sometimes with a call to the person). Watch for a deluge of many positive reviews on this site within a short period in response to this review! More concerned with enrollment numbers. Head of school and founder will smile and greet you at the school, but will not recognize you standing next to you in the store (unless you are a "believer", of important status, or contribute large donations.) Unacceptable in such a small school. Millwood is better than public school, but trails other private schools in the area because they don't have a niche or specialty. They have not delivered us a product commensurate with the tuition they charge. Millwood is way too traditional and general in their approaches, making them little more than a small, generic, high- cost school.
Millwood truly supports the mission of the school in every detail in their curriculum: Developing the mind, body and fostering moral values starts in JK and continues through their senioy year. Seniors engage the youngest of children, (often seen playing games on the playground) and Millwood is like our second family away from home. I could not imagine having my three kids anywhere else.
Our child is an upper school student at Millwood. Our previous experience with the public school gifted program was good, but lacking. We chose to attend Millwood instead of the one of the fine specialty schools offered through the county for several reasons. The unbelievable qualified, credentialed, and creative staff promised and delivered a superb educational experience specifically tailored to the needs and desires our child. Classroom instruction involves so many creative avenues for learning and growth. We appreciate that art and music are offered throughout K-12. The head of the school is fantastic at what she does. One of her great talents is to be able to seek out and hire the most talented and gifted teachers and staff! No detail escapes her attention. The campus, facilities, people, education, character . . . everything gets the right amount of attention and care. Lastly, communication from the head of the school, key leaders, and teachers has been open and thorough from day one. Our whole family has been made to feel welcome. This school and the people involved with it have greatly improved our lives.
My wife and I chose Millwood School 3 years ago because we value education above all. Currently we have a 2nd grader and kindergartner both attending and when our youngest is ready she will attend as well.. Millwood School offers individual attention and most important to us smaller class sizes. Chesterfield county schools are just overcrowded as I was astonished when I heard this fall 2012, there are 5 kindergarten classes with 20 plus kids per class at our own public elementary school - that just won't work for us - seems like Kindergarten at Virginia Tech.
Our son started Millwood School as a Kindergartener and has just started his 3rd grade year. The small class size and limitless curriculum were the 2 things that brought us to Millwood and they are the reasons we have have stayed. The communication with the teachers is fantastic. I feel like the staff as well as his teacher really "know" my son. We look forward to being part of the Millwood family for many years to come!
My gifted student was struggling in a "great" public school in the gifted education program. The problem was the class was too overcrowded, the teachers overworked, and they could only teach to the middle. Switching her to Millwood is the greatest thing we have ever done. They recognize and appreciate her gifts and support her struggles. She has excelled in ways that were never possible in public school. They really teach to each child as an individual and help each achieve their best. The teachers are patient but challenging and really work as a team with the student and parents. The Head of School has amazing vision and challenges her staff to do better each year. Millwood is everything you would hope for your child's education in school and in life.