This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Open Window School1
Posted October 12, 2014
- a parent
This school should be avoided if your child is on the higher spectrum of giftedness. During the 3 years my child attended, the curriculum was mediocre and my child's teacher for 2 of the 3 years didn't make the grade. Teachers tended to focus more on the social aspect of giftedness and away from education, discouraging curiosity and exploring topics in depth. Also, don't expect your teacher, even with 2 teachers in a class of 20, to complete any reading or math assessments until late December. Very disappointing after paying over 20,000/ year! Now my child is in our local public school gifted program and assessments are completed within the first week of class. Don't walk but run from this school and seek getting your child into your local public gifted school program. Your checkbook will thank you for it!
We spent a lot of time looking at all of our area s excellent schools, trying to find a whole-child approach to education where the school nurtures our daughter s character and curiosity as well as her intellect. We found it at Open Window. Teachers quickly respond to parent emails and go the extra mile to make sure my child is supported and happy. We re thrilled that she gets special allotted time for music, PE, Spanish, drama and art at least once a week. And that she has learned, from kindergarten, how to present her ideas and passions -- confidently and fluently. My child is happy and resilient, and much of it is due to the Open Window faculty that nurtures her curiosity and encourages her every step of the way.
Open Windows is a good school overall. The school is beautiful. Grounds are lovely and has amazing views. Teachers are friendly, professional and cordial. There's a new head of school now and he seems to be taking the school in the right direction. Our primary concern: how is OWS truly a gifted school? Our child is in the 99.9%tile and we hoped OWS would provide that differentiated learning approach for these minority students. Honestly, after several years now, we haven't seen it. There's no differentiation or special focus to enable the exceptionally/ profoundly gifted child versus the moderately gifted child whose parents want them on an accelerated track. At the end of the day, there's a vast difference in learning needs between the 99.9% child and the 95-97% child. There's also the overly aggressive parent to watch out for - they will send their child to prep classes/studies in the summer so the child will 'seem' advanced for the new school year...so one can comment there's a high level of parent involvement. These kids tend to bias the teachers to focus on acceleration vs depth and exploration. If your child is moderately gifted, then he/she will do great at OWS.
The process of finding the right fit for our Kindergartner was a stressful one. We wanted a nurturing and supportive environment as well as academic rigor. We feel that we found that at OWS. He is supported and understood as well as encouraged and expected to do his best. What more could we ask for?
Our son is going into 8th grade at OWS and has been here since preschool. The schools mantra of "Children first, gifted second" is perfect for our son. The instructors have been excellent and definitely challenge all of the students. In a world where EQ and IQ are both vital, Open Window is the best K-8 school we have found.
Prior to moving to Open Window, my son began to lose interest in math - a subject he had previously relished. We felt he was underserved at his prior private school. Open Window advanced him effectively 2 years in math immediately and he now says he loves the school. We have been thrilled to watch his math interest reignited. The teacher understands him well and looks out for him as she does all the other kids. Parent involvement has been great, especially in the chess team. (The kids scored a state championship 1st place trophy this year). The school is relatively young and just last year a new but highly experienced head of school arrived. As such, interest in and response to parent input is exceptional. An exceptional school poised to get even better.
After 4 years at this school, our whole family still LOVES it here. Great student/teacher ratios, differentiated learning at each child's just-right level, in a wide variety of subjects, amazing teachers and staff, and an engaged and supportive parent community make it a shining example of all that education--gifted or otherwise--can and should be. I wish every child could go to a school like this. A+!
This school looks beautiful to the drive by observer but the curriculum and teachers do not make the rank. Little emphasis on meeting a gifted child's individual needs, lots of time spent on group projects seeking to bring out creativity stopping short of in depth learning. Definitely an environment where donators are sought over educational excellence.... Too much precious staff hours spent on seeking out donations, ranking classes accoriding to parental donations, seeking parent financial support of building fund, and continuous publication of the latest family donations in the weekly newsletter. I chose to opt out after a couple of years of hoping the school vision would change!
If you want your child to be taught by teachers that are enthusiastic about teaching with a head of school that is supportive this is the school for you. If you want a school where your child will learn to analyze and solve problems rather than all rote and repition this is the school. Our family has had fabulous teachers at OWS. The administraion is exceptional. And it's on a beautiful campus...
My child has been at OWS for five years and has received an excellent education. The teaching in each discipline is tailored to each child. Small classes, each with an instructional assistant, give these kids the attention they deserve. The Art teacher is exceptional, and my child loves the drama and computer classes, too. OWS is definitely worth a look for your gifted child.