Our family is finishing its first year at Chestnut Hill and we could not be happier. Our daughter has attended numerous other Bellevue private schools and nothing even compares to Chestnut HIll. As they say, it starts from the top. The Head of the school Holly Senaga, is the definition of strong leader. She is not only a great leader but actually cares about our children. I have NOT found this at any other school. This trickles down throughout the whole school. The teachers are top notch and my daughter was constantly challenged the whole school year.
Both of our children have attended CHA since 1st grade and Kindergarten respectively. This is an excellent school on multiple facets: 1) teachers and staff are top notch and truly care about the development of the kids; 2) the curriculum is progressive (i.e. not super easy) but the kids are challenged at the level appropriate to them; 3) they foster leaders - and it is ingrained in everything they do - kids get opportunities to lead, starting with leading themselves on a regular basis. My oldest has gone on to a college-prep type of middle/high school and we found that CHA prepared him for this next level extremely well. CHA helps develop well rounded, global citizens. A great return on my investment. I'd do it again.
Chestnut Hill Academy is an amazing school. My daughter will be in 4th grade next year and has been attending CHA since Kindergarten. I wanted a school for my daughter that would be academically challenging, diverse, have nurturing teachers, low teacher\student ratios and where parent involvement was encouraged. CHA is every one of those things and SO many more. My daughter is in amazing hands every day and is multiple grades ahead of her friends in public school; from a maturity perspective as well as an academic perspective. Not only is she challenged in the classroom, but she gets to participate in amazing opportunities like school musicals and their fantastic ski program. She absolutely loves CHA and has said many times that she wishes school was year-round! As a very busy working parent, I appreciate how proactive the school is in communicating with me. I always know exactly what is happening with my daughter and I know about school events well enough in advance so that I can plan my calendar accordingly. I feel extremely fortunate that my daughter attends such an amazing school.
After five years at CHA we still couldn't be happier. The price is right on par with other private schools in the area, test scores are amazing, and the staff is an energizing bunch. Most of all educational needs are met individually with care and thought. Students are happy. I love to hear them laughing on their way into the building. There is no better testament. Opportunities for parent involvement are available. Our child has embraced writing in a way we only hoped for, even writing stories on her own at home. It's truly multicultural. Really, this school is a great package and the administrative team is stellar!
The big word in education these days is "differentiation." Chestnut Hill educators don't just talk about it; they implement it. Teachers make a real effort to meet each child where they are and help them to excel. This school has small class sizes as well as teachers and staff who really know each child. The ski program, spring musicals, art, technology, and music programs are huge hits with my child. The leadership of the school is solid and transparent. Parents are always kept in the loop; emails to teachers are answered in a timely fashion...often within an hour or two. There is real parent-teacher partnership happening here. CHA provides a strong foundation for a child's future.
2013 ITBS scores just came out; every grade outperforms itself. What is amazing is that it isn't just 2nd grade is at 3rd grade level and 3rd grade is at 4th; each year the differential gets larger! So the longer your kid goes to CHA. . . Completely worth the money. My daughter started at 3rd grade doing 2nd grade math (fault of previous school); CHA follows the student's performance and raises the difficulty as he/she can handle it; now my daughter is in 4th grade math [did I mentioned this is in the same year?). Reading level has moved from 3rd to 6th grade capabilities in this same year. Emotionally she is more mature as well. Seriously, CHA is awesome. I am hard on principals (I worked in an education dept while in graduate school) and this principal is one of the best in handling my philosophical interrogations. Teachers respond to your emails. Every staff member seems to know every kid; impressive. And holy cow, they have ski school during the winter too! My recommendation of CHA is unequivocal.
Our child started CHA in kindergarten. Now she is a third grade student. She loves learning and CHA plays a very important role on this. Bright Horizons has five elementary schools in four states. This gives them ability share what works and what can be better. They have continuous training for staff and teachers. Low student-teacher ratios gives them ability gives teachers ability to help each kid in their own pace. For example, my daughter receives extra home work in areas she feels not challenged. And she gets more attention if she needs in another area. I see staff and teachers are always happy. I have read some earlier review about teacher turn over. I have seen some teachers leaving CHA over the years. But these were mostly due to personal reasons like getting marrying and moving out of area, retiring or deciding to take care of their newborn. I see these teachers as extra activity teachers or as guests at special events. They are still part of CHA. CHA is very diverse school. And they embrace this really well. My child has friends from around the world. CHA is committed to raising leaders. You can see this in all their activities. I strongly recommend CHA as a parent.
Just took a tour of this school. First off, the facility is located right next to a electrical power plant with classroom windows looking into the plant. So make what you want for your child being exposed to strong magnetic fields all day every day. The principle gave an hour-long tour of the school during which she talked non-stop about everything from the paintings on the wall, to the lockers, to flags representing students from various countries (this to me does NOT indicate appreciation for diversity). At the end, it was nothing short of a sales pitch for this FOR-PROFIT school that does not provide any tuition assistance. The tuition itself is almost $17000/year and that does not include all the extra charges for books/material ($750), hot lunches, extra-curricular activities, ski trips, etc. All in all, it is an extremely expensive school designed to impress parents (not the kids) with extras, making them feel good about the education of their children. We'll be looking elsewhere, for I firmly believe that we can find just as good an education elsewhere for much much less.
Our daughter has been at CHA from K-5. We are currently searching for a new school and find it difficult to compare other schools to CHA because of the teachers and support staff. They have all been wonderful for the past 5 yrs. The before and after school programs are ideal for working parents, as the children are well supervised and often working on projects/activities. Parents are very involved at this school. We have a another child who hopefully will be attending next year.