I felt like grades K-8 is where I learned how to learn. The study habits, classroom interaction, and language / math foundation built in grade school helped determine my success in high school, college, and professional life. Villa Academy excels at teaching kids how to learn. Academics is rigorous with high expectations without being suffocating or overly competitive.
The kids and the community are amazing. While many Villa families live within a few miles of the school, I'm constantly amazed by how many people drive past very good schools on their way to Villa because they know what a hidden gem it is. Of course, it is not that well-hidden, since it sits on the highest hill of Laurelhurst with 360-degree views of the state and visible from as far away as Bellevue. Villa makes complete use of this amazing setting with active gardens, sports fields, science field trips through the wooded path to the shores of Lake Washington, and outdoor classes on Seattle's warm spring days.
Amazing teachers can be found at any school, but it is a rare school where they are all amazing, like Villa. We never have to worry which teacher our kid will get next year since they win no matter what. Teachers often host study groups before school or during lunch. They go on overnight field trips. The number of parent – teacher conferences, curriculum nights, and after-hours all-school events makes me wonder if the teachers ever get time away. They must love their jobs, because there seems to be very little turnover.
Yes, tuition is higher than other parish schools. Villa is not subsidized by the archdiocese, which means they get far more control over their decisions as an independent school. Instruction and activities are inclusive so other faiths feel welcomed. Villa does not need to get textbooks or reading lists approved by the Archbishop. My older child was awarded a partial scholarship to her high school, thanks in part to the education from Villa, so it is already paying back, in a sense. As a freshman, she also tested into second year Spanish and is in a math class with mostly sophomores and juniors.
Check out Villa. Even if you do not choose it for your child, you will not regret meeting the faculty, parents, kids, and seeing the amazing building and grounds.
Villa Academy was the best decision I've ever made. The campis is beautiful, and with Villa's help my daughter was accepted with scolarships and accepted with honors to all of the highschools she applied to.
Villa is an amazing school! Both of my children enjoy school, like their teachers and, most importantly, feel well-liked and confident. We are at the school thanks to financial aid, and I was worried my kids would have trouble fitting in, because we are not well-off financially, but that has not been the case at all. They both have friends and fit in perfectly. One of my children struggles academically, and he is making HUGE strides while receiving assistance through the academic support services. If you are looking for a school where students are taught respect, kindness, tolerance and the benefits of hard work, then Villa is a great choice!
Our daughter currently attends Villa and we are very happy with the character education. She is so social and doing good in academics. We just wish the school focussed a bit on design aspects w.r.t to technology and did more think out of the box projects. The school has an amazing technology lab. Parent community is good as well.
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.