While I was educated in the public school system and felt somewhat indifferent as to public vs. private, I cannot begin to explain how glad I am that my son is at Bear Creek. He is now completing 1st grade and comes home every day excited about school. I can assure you this is partly because he is an energetic 7 year old but is is also because of the incredible environment (both qualitative and quantative) he is exposed to. The administrators truly have this process figured out and it is evident in the special events, performances, and organization of the day to day activities. Never have I been to a school special event or performance that is as well thought out and put together as they are at Bear Creek. The teachers; these people have personalities and truly care. Their interest in my child, his success, and development is very apparent and is shared by every instructor I have interacted with (not just those who have my son in their class). Bottom line: there may be other schools that do as good of a job, but I am extremely pleased and most importantly...my son LOVES it. You absolutely must make it a consideration.
Before landing at the Bear Creek School, we tried both Bellevue public schools & classical Christian home schooling. Both were good in their own ways. However, we have found our school home starting in 5th and 6th grades at Bear Creek! Both our kids say they wished they had started in kindergarten! They each had fabulous teachers who connected with, nurtured, and challenged them exactly the way they each needed. We have seen amazing personal growth and learning. Quote from my child: "I didn't know teachers could care so much!". The academic bar is high, but the teachers bring out the best work and gifts in each child as they model the love of Christ to each one! It's well worth the drive & is an invaluable and eternal return on your money.
While we are relative newcomers to The Bear Creek School, both my husband and I are extremely pleased with the caring environment and the standards of academic excellence. Upper School teachers inspire and challenge. We are so pleased in fact, we are now enrolling our younger son. I would highly recommend this school.
Wrong assumptions, 9/2/10. High performing talented students with kind caring dispositions and their families can and do experience the negative issues described in many of these reviews. There's many good families and staff with integrity and commitment to Jesus Christ, but also everyone else in between. Christian schools certainly should strive to put the kingdom of God first and truly prioritize Gods agenda through the infrastructure to build up relationships and build up the children in the process of educating them. A genuine community in the name of Christ should be undergirding academic and athletic achievement. The priority of God's purpose for the school should not be eclipsed by what is temporary success as much as we do want to support our children to grow, do, and serve well. May it not be at the expense of genuine Christianity and the eternal perspective. We're missing out on true excellence.
This school has a bullying problem which is well-known among most parents. Unfortunately, the school has no set standards on how to remedy or discourage bullying. Our child and others were physically injured and bullied by another student on multiple occasions at school, in front of teachers & classmates. When brought to the teacher and administration's attention, their response was "what proof do you have besides your child's report and it seems to us that you're just being too sensitive." They take a very defensive approach to any criticism or complaints.
I truly believe my kids are getting an excellent education at Bear Creek. They have been attending since kindergarten and 1st grade and now are in 6th and 10th grade. The classical approach in a Christian environment is really preparing them for college. The teachers truly care about the students and the overall sense of community is great.
Excellent education, couldn't be happier. We are the parents of two students and have been at TBCS for ten years now. Our ninth grader is better educated then either of us were at graduation from public high school. Teaching the students how to be critical thinkers and not followers. The academics are rigorous and not for everyone. The only sports the school lacks are football and swimming. Lacrosse is now available for boys. This may be a small school, but the end results are very big.
Small school, with corresponding disadvantages. Limited sports. The discipline is a joke. Our son was physically attacked by another student on multiple ocassions RIGHT IN THE CLASSROOM (things that would result in automatic suspension in public school) and nothing was done. The students themselves scoff at the supposed administrators. This space is not large enough to tell the full story. Agree completely with 5/3/2011 review - quite a few spoiled brats to be sure. Insular culture. There are a handful of very good teachers, but the rest are so-so. Unfortunately, the culture and environment impede learning. Ditto on TCBS handbook ... the school doesn't really have a code of conduct. Also, our son was independently tested (by a well-regarded professional) as advanced in math, and had a recommendation for honors math from prior math teacher, but the school put him in lower math saying he failed their own brief evaluation by one question! As we find out, the truth is, they didn't have enough spots in the advanced class. This school's small size forces them to often compromise the best interests of individual students. Don't expect a well-rounded education here.
Overall, a better school than most we visited but the alternative is mediocre at best and vulgar at worst. We believed the marketing material.This would then be a great school if it adhered to these stated standards and practices, but it does not. Most disappointing , is its " Christian in name only" families. While it does not reach the low level of indecency and disrespect that is evidenced in some private or PC public schools, these are not the standards to gauge TBCS Christian commitment. Students can be mean spirited, self-indulged, spoiled, elitist and demeaning. Parents do everything for their "extremely bright child" to stay ahead of others including reviewing others test grades and gathering or sharing test answers. This is way too much parent involvement, IMHO. Administrators tolerate behavior problem students (disrupting class, physical attacks on students, verbally abusive or vulgar action toward others, etc) with lip service only from President on down. Do not expect values of TBCS handbook or materials. Knowing this going in, we would have kept on looking for a true Christian school in word and action for our children. We just grin and bear (no pun intended) it now.
After five years of public elementary school in the Lake Washington School District on the Sammamish Plateau, we ditched that and headed to The Bear Creek School. What a change! The kids were actually learning concrete knowledge and there was no political correctness, and the homework was actually useful, instead of "draw a picture of a feeling" (yes, that was really a homework assignment at Mead in 2nd grade). The students were so much more civil and substantive, and there was no swearing on the elementary campus like at Mead. The three Rs are definitely taught here, and your child's precious school time will not be wasted. Totally worth it. We couldn't be happier, and both of our kids went on to finish out their high school years at TBCS. Wouldn't go anywhere else! Strong math program. My kids had the opportunity to play large roles in many extracurricular activities in ways they would not have a chance to at a larger public school.
We started at the Bear Creek School in kindergarten. My son is now going into 6th grade. The K- 5 teachers are amazing! However, the administration is stuck in the 90's! They are very resistant to change and anything new! IF YOU HAVE A CHILD,INTERESTED IN SPORTS, THIS IS NOT THE SCHOOL FOR YOU!!! My son has been on the A-B honor role and the homework was not a problem. The Bear Creek School makes it clear that they prefer Girl's because they are leas trouble for the teachers! If you have a boy or girl that loves chess club or math club, this is your school! They clearly look down on the kid's that are athletic!
From a student's perspective, this is an excellent school. Sure, there's a lot of homework, but it serves a purpose--it's not just "busywork". Also, good time-management is practiced, students have time to participate in athletics, the arts, community service, etc. (I play two varsity sports and am actively involved in other activities). Teachers are excellent: they legitimately care about students as whole people, not just as kids they get paid to have sit in class. Student conduct, on the whole, is also good, and rarely are there disciplinary issues. I will admit that the middle school (7th and 8th grades) is a weaker aspect of the school: when I was there, the atmosphere felt micromanaged and the curriculum seemed weaker than that which I experienced in lower (elementary) and upper (high) school. As a whole, the school helps students become intelligent, balanced individuals prepared for college and life.
Unfortunately, with the school's entire focus being on achieving academic excellence, they have neglected the other core fundamentals that make up a healthy, well-balanced young adult: 1. Time for outside activities (athletics, serving ministries, time just to be friends and family, etc). The hours and hours of endless homework, which primarily start in the sixth grade on up to 12th, effectively turns the student into a one dimensional person. Our children left here and could not be happier at their other academically challenging but yet far more balanced school.
The Bear Creek School is an academically focused, classical Christian school and doesn't pretend otherwise. Like all rigorous college prep schools (think Lakeside or Seattle Prep), The Bear Creek School is not for everyone. The Lower School curriculum and teachers are amazing. There is homework, but it's not overwhelming and it's valuable (not busy work like I see kids in the public schools bringing home). Because the school is academically focused, academic expectations are very high at all levels (Lower, Middle, Upper). The downside? The school is small, which isn't a problem in the K-6 years, but limits non-academic opportunites and even the group of kids availalbe for friendships in the Middle and Upper schools. Also, the school takes student issues (disruptive behavior, bullying, etc.) less seriously than do the public schools. Finally, there is an overabundance of hyper-involved parents.
Our children have attended TBCS since kindergarten and are now in high school. They are have become well rounded young people who excel in their school work as well as participate in sports year round while still having time for friends, recreation and a full night s sleep. The schools academics are excellent as evidenced by the level of participation and success in AP courses (80% participation, 82% score 3 or higher). Bear Creek is an excellent choice for those parents and students who are looking for a classical Christian education that doesn't sacrifice quality or faith.
My children got an excellent education at Bear Creek. We moved to TBCS in the late 90s when our local public elementary lagged (no multiplication in 3rd grade; 'whole language' with no spelling tests). All three went on to good colleges, taking on the college work load with little trouble. Of greater importance to our family, all have retained their faith. TBCS can be little small for a star athlete or musician (though we have them - the captain of the local public HS baseball team was a TBCS kid who played there). For its size, Bear Creek did very well. The level of competition was perfect for my family. Every child who wanted to play, played. During the 14 years our kids attended, there were snags, growing pains and occasional foolish policies (imo). I thought the school community weathered them well and met each challenge well.
I understand that when you spend the type of $$$$'s that are required to attend this school - you'd like to feel you got your money's worth - but the truth is - the education here is not really worth the cost. The teachers do not have to be state certified - I know several that were hired with no more experience than some Sunday school and once a month volunteering at their kid's grade school. The teachers are compensated at a lower rate than those at the public schools - so guess what? The better teachers stay at the public schools. When you look at the quality of the public schools on the eastside - it becomes readily apparent that these are fantastic public schools....and thru our high property taxes and elevated home prices we are already paying dearly for those - might as well use them!
Second year parent here who couldn't be happier with our decision to move both our kids to Bear Creek. Certainly the prior negative reviewer is reacting to some unfortunate (and atypical) expereince(s), but the school is obviously QUITE the opposite from one which is a "detriment to [the kids'] mental, physical and emotional well being." Just wander through the place and you'll see that immediately. The teachers have a passion for the students, the administration has a passion for excellence and the students have a passion for life (...almost the exact opposite of what I see in so many other schools, sad to say). A place like that is not for everyone so calibrate your expectations and you'll thrive. A rewarding environment must also be a demanding one.
After reading a few of the reviews, I am wondering what school the parents are commenting on. The original founder of the school, could at times be narrow minded with a "my way or the highway" attitiude. Unfortunately, the organization grew beyond her capabilities and she left the school several years ago. With the adition of Patrick Carruth as Headmaster for the school, the upswing in honest and frequent communication, creating and carrying out thoughtful policy, selection of new staff members, and creating a school where kids are encouraged to get to know all has grown immensly Bear Creek is a rigorous, academic school and the teachers expect quite a bit of the kids. Not every child is going to fit into this environment. I find that parents who have the experience of 8/31/10 & 6/26/10 have kids who cannot keep up with the classes.
Classical, thorough curriculum. Performance-oriented, academically focused, achievement-minded. Individuality and relationships between people not a main priority. Some condescension, entitlement, social inequality and judgemental attitudes in some staff and parents. Christian perspective, professionalism, and integrity varies from person to person. Can be a wonderful experience for some; not as much for others.
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