This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Seven Hills Middle School for Boys5
Posted November 04, 2014
- a parent
Our son is very happy at Seven Hills. The school really understands boys, and has created an atmosphere where boys absolutely thrive. My son is actively engaged in his classes and has developed wonderful relationships with the teachers and staff. There are many wonderful male role models for the students Seven Hills (unlike at most schools, where there are far fewer young, male teachers). This is especially true of the headmaster - Dagan Rowe. My son is always surprising us with comments and thoughts on all sorts of matters - from current events to ancient history. Most importantly, my son has learned to appreciate and respect all of his fellow students, regardless of their differences. It's a wonderful community, and we are very fortunate to have such a unique middle school option here in Richmond. We are just beginning to think about high schools, and I know our son is going to be well prepared and confident, regardless of which high school he will eventually attend. Seven Hills has taught our son to be an engaged scholar, but more importantly, it has helped him develop into an empathetic young man that cares about how his community and who is mindful of his role within it.
My son has been very happy at Seven Hills. However, the board and Head of School do not address parental concerns as they should. The school has lost 3 administrators in 6 months and the turnover rate for students is extremely high. Regarding the student who posted on this site that he was able to do the work at the Governor's school, he probably will. However, his post was dated just after he completed 8th grade and he had not yet started school. His mother is also a board member. Board members and their families should not post on here unless they identify themselves. Again, the school is a good one, but it has a long way to go in regaining the confidence from parents who had boys in there last year. Hopefully, this will happen.
We just completed our first year at 7 Hills and could not be happier. There were some initial bumps, which is to be expected when you make any big change like moving schools. We have settled in and have been very happy. Faculty and Staff have been great to deal with, and having been at other private schools I understand that every school has it's own administrative eccentricities and communication style. We have found 7 Hills to be great at inspiring our boys in the class room and the administration has been responsive and supportive. We are looking forward to what the coming years will bring!
Out of respect for prospective parents reading these posts, if a parent or a boy writes a post - and a member of their family is a Board member - they should clearly identify themselves as such. A large group of parents asked the Board and Head of School to address specific, documented concerns, and the Board and HOS declined to address their concerns. While my son loves the school, we question the quality of education he is receiving and do not think the Board or the HOS is effective. True parental concerns appear to be swept under the carpet. Our son will return to Seven Hills only because the contract is iron clad, but he will not be returning the following year.
I'm a freshman in high school now. I went to 7 Hills for three years. I loved going to school every day. The teachers were really good and always helped me. Now I go to the governor's school (ranked 13th in the country!!) and I haven't had any trouble doing the work. I wish 7 Hills had a high school because I would go there.
7HS is awesome! My son is a graduate and is currently in one of the top private high schools in Richmond. 7HS prepared him well for high school ... both academically and socially. He is on the honor roll and thriving. I would recommend 7HS to any parent who is looking for a school that educates the whole boy.
My son went to this school for three years and we all loved it. This is a school that really "gets" boys. The teachers are wonderful, and (despite what some other commenters say) the leadership has a great strategic vision. Our boy was well prepared for HS, not just academically but also socially and in self-confidence. Do yourself a favor: spend the time to visit the school and decide for yourself.
Before you sign a contract with any school, ask for the following information in writing: 1. Student Retention- How many students have left the school after only a year or two? Find out why people have left. 2. Teacher Retention- How long have teachers/staff been at the school. Find out how many have left over the past 3 years. Investigate why they have left. 3. Teacher Bios- Ask for comprehensive teacher bios. Find out what teaching experience they have, whether they are licensed, and what their credentials are. Then you can compare the teacher bios to those of other nearby private schools. 4. Administration Bios Be sure to ask for detailed information about the administration running the school. Do they have administration experience? If yes, how many years? What type of degree do they have? Compare the administration bios to those of other nearby schools. 5. Student Placement - Find out what high school programs students are accepted into after graduation. Compare current acceptance rates to those of students 4 years ago. 6. References - Be sure to ask around to find out what people think of the school. Remember, in a small community, reputation is everything!!!
There is so much potential at this school. Unfortunately the leadership of this school is ill equipped to handle the position. The head of school has poor communication skills, fails to return phone calls and emails and the sales pitch doesn't meet up with what they claim to provide. They take your money and run. Out of 19 boys who started in this school in 5th grade, only 8 stayed to complete the program until 8th in 2014. Pitiful retention and no wonder why. While the boys seem happy, the parents are upset and concerned that the academics are not rigorous, there is no testing. Parents express their concerns to deaf ears. The board is ineffective. What a waste of $15k. Some of the teachers are truly special and fantastic, some are unable to control their classrooms and lack any formal educational background, which results in less than effective teaching techniques. Many of the parents have gone up the flag pole and gotten no where....and thus have left, some at the cost of a paying tuition for a school that they will not allow their child to attend. Buyer beware!