In a very superficial sort of way. Here again, the school talks a lot about raising kids with a sense of balance between work and play. However, they show their own lack of empathy by ensuring that the kids are over-programmed. There are also definite social cliques among students, and the administrators do not work actively with individuals to set the right tone among students. They speak in general terms, but never address specific social situations as they arise. They seem indifferent.
My son is super smart, and always did well at Sidwell. He was there for six years, but we decided to leave the school before he entered the Upper School for several reasons: 1) The school never conveyed any sense of individual care for him despite the low student-teacher ratio. My son did fine academically, but he couldn't get his groove socially, and the teachers were totally oblivious to his difficulty. 2) The academics are strong, but they are also very old-fashioned. For all their attempt to show interest in technology, the school leadership are complete Luddites in their understanding of how technology and learning can work well together. 3) For all the tuition dollars, I would have expected much, much more individualized attention from the teachers and staff. The curriculum and approach to education is very top-down and dogmatic. They talk a lot about diversity, but there is no room for diversity of opinions at this school. There is much more to say, but bottom line: save your money for a great college. When we let the school know we were leaving, there was no follow-up or interest in what motivated the departure. They could not have been more indifferent, which was extremely disappointing after 6 years.
Some teachers are great. Others make you want to shake your head at the grammar errors in their communication, if you are lucky to get anything from them. For a school with Sidwell's reputation, this just isn't acceptable.
Much homework was assigned that seemed to be make-work. The school talks a lot about allowing students down-time, and yet the administration and teachers do everything to fill the student's after-school time with pointless homework. I did not see the value of two hours of homework after an already 10-hour day at school. My son left the house at 7 am, and only got home at 5 pm. He then had an additional 2-3 hours of homework.
Sidwell is a great school for a lot of kids. It is great for very smart kids who want to go on to do great things. But if your child has some learning disabilities or seriously is thinking about being a professional athlete, this is probably not the best school for them. It is an extremely academically challenging school. But the athletics don't do so well and the theater is just okay. It is a great school for a lot of kids but not for everybody.
Very challenging academics. Students will have already experienced college level academics by the time they graduate from Sidwell. Lots of high achievers. NO grade inflation here. Not for everyone but a great school.
I'm a highschool student at Sidwell, and I'm here to set things straight. A parent cannot base the school on their own child. Individuals have drastically different experiences from one another, based on personality, courses, and friends. Their class/grade will have a large impact, varying greatly year-by-year. The true basics: - expensive! - very intensive academics (depends on course levels) - liberal - very conscious of its image (Who can blame them? Diplomats'-children galore.) - Quaker-based (with plans currently in progress for furthering Sidwell Quaker values) - a vacuum/bubble (If you take advantage of all academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities given to you, there is little time left over) Sidwell seems quite idealist (google Quaker "S.P.I.C.E.S.") and there's MUCH room for improvement, but students are given the opportunity to have a fantastic education and flourish with dedication. The ride is up to the student, and a good fit.