I've been a Villa parent for over 10 years. The real strength of Villa Academy is the culture of the school and school community. Parents are supportive, the school is responsive and caring, and the kids that go there are exemplary--kids you want your kids to go to school with and have as friends. Academic are reasonably solid. The curriculum is incoherent and the instruction addled by the same psuedo-scientific puffery and trite nostrums that plague the educaton profession generally, but it's no worse than you'd find at most any other school, private or public. And graduates nonetheless enter high school well-prepared because teachers are earnest, responsive, and caring; and students come from affluent, well-educated and hyper-supportive families. The school, parent, and peer culture are all positively self-reinforcing. As for the Catholicism, it's present but diluted enough to make non-Catholics feel included. (About half of students are non-Catholic.) The school does a good job reinforcing the 7 principles of Catholic social teaching. I'd encourage interested non-Catholic parents to learn what those are, because they embody values most parents of any (or no) faith would endorse.
Our daughter entered Villa in kindergarten, and she is now a 6th grader. As part of the 50% that is not Catholic, I can assure you that Villa is academically rigorous independent school, not "just an expensive Catholic school". Class sizes max out at 15 kids in the lower grades and 20 in the older grades. The school isits on 25 acres of waterfront property in the heart of Laurelhurst,and the curriculum leverages the location by both using the amazing campus and also partnering with the UW for various projects. My sole criticism is that Villa's grading system is too steep (90%=B), giving kids artificially low GPAs. Kids leave Villa extraordinarily well prepared for high school, with a disproportionate number of kids going to Lakeside, Holy Names, U-Prep, and Seattle Prep.
There are many wonderful things about Villa...every teacher we had was skilled, committed, and very dedicated to the children. There are small class sizes (at least during the 5 years we were there) and wonderful programs (music, art, languages, sports). The community is very tight and can be a bit "small town-ish," which is both a positive and a negative, depending on how well you and your children fit the mold. In the end we left to find a more diverse school that employs more up-to-date teaching methods and can adjust to different kinds of learners more effectively. We have not regretted the change in any way. We found a better fit for our children. Villa is a great place if your children fit the Villa type of student and as long as they don't develop an issue Villa cannot handle.
If you are looking for an expensive Catholic school, The Villa Academy will be a perfect fit. A few years ago, this school was on track to become a highly competitive independent elementary and middle school with increasing admission to top Seattle high schools. However, the new leadership is more focused on Catholic instruction and larger class sizes, which can just as easily be found at local (less expensive) parish schools.
First, I will say that I have four children currently enrolled here. They all have completely different learning styles and personalities(!!!) however, Villa has been a great fit for each of them. To the student at Lakeside who commented on 3/23/10, I would suggest that because of the strenuous middle school years at Villa, and Villa's reputation for that, you got into Lakeside. Our experience with the middle school teachers has been only positive, and we are so impressed how they create such mature and independent thinkers. The comment posted on 11/29/09, was clearly (I hope) written by a child and is full of incorrect information. Recess/PE? We have it. 15 minutes to eat? False. Our family has continued to be amazed by the teachers and administration at Villa! It is truly a community where every teacher knows every child, with the entire staff working together to make each child succeed.
Both of our children attended Villa Academy and we had the pleasure of being in this community for 11 years. Villa Academy has excellent, skilled and attentive teachers. The teachers hold the students accountable and help students gain self confidence and self motivation. The school leadership is fabulous and works very hard to fulfill the mission and support the students and the faculty. The academic program is deep and rich and each portion of the curriculum is dovetailed throughout each class at that grade level. The language programs are great - both of my children tested into Honors Spanish at their high school. This is a wonderful school and it prepared my children exceptionally well for high school.
As an allumni who got into Lakeside School after VIlla, I can safely say that Villa gave me an excellent education. However, there are ridiculous amounts of homework and it is shockingly structured. This is especially over-done in the middle school. The community is fabulous, but many of the students are in a slightly delusional bubble of wealth, unaware that it is unusual to have a home on the water, a boat, a cabin and a sport court in one's back yard. Furthermore, the teaching style is very traditional, including much too much busy work. I would highly recommended it for Kindergarten to 5th grade, but the middle school is much more hit and miss. Great education overall, but too much homework, structure and terrible teachers in the middle school.
Homework is rediculous, some teachers rude, no recess, no fun, strict, lunch is terrible and students get only 15 minutes to eat, spanish program is horrible and the school can be very unwelcoming, some rich brats too... It used to be the greatest school, now its a terrible place
My son went to Villa Academy for 9 years and received a wonderful education. He was well prepared for high school both academically and socially. One of the characteristics shared by Villa graduates that makes them stand out in high school is their confidence in public speaking. The math program is excellent. I highly recommend Villa Academy.
I Attended Villa Academy and it such a welcoming fun Environment I just adore the school! The Education is one of the Best I would most definitely Recommend this school...
I have gone to Villa for 9 years and what amazing years they have been. Everyone knows one another and it will be heartbreaking to leave. Lots of homework and expensive but this school has made me into a more rounded servant of the community.
I would have to disagree with the few statements that didn't give Villa a full score. Too much parent involvement? What's wrong with parent involvement? I went there from K-8, and the parent involvement was one of the highlights. It made everything fun. As to 'too much structure'...No. I disagree. It was juuust the right amount. And I always had fabulous teachers. At the beginnings of the different years, some weren't that great, but by about halfway through each year, I would realize that they were actually amazing, despit my first impressions. Villa only employs the best, and they think about who works there. There are constant reviews of the teachers and staff. So...as too 'many are...not' reffering to the teachers...speaking from experience, I disagree. Villa is awesome, with fabulous everything.
With great care and detail, the admission process was respectful, informative and warm. The same feeling has continued with my son now being a member of the Villa family. I look forward to both his spiritual and educational needs being met.
Wonderful school. Small class size, dedicated teachers, supportive administrators and engaged students. My children love it and so do I.
Excellent academic program, small class sizes, lots of sports and after school programs, caring teachers and staff make Villa Academy a very special place. Our children love the school, their friends, and teachers.
High quality academic program, music, art, sports and extravurricular activities. Too much parent involvement.
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