In our experience over the past 5 years (3rd through 7th grade) the teachers have been very conscious of "overload" and work hard to communicate with each other to make sure the workload is balanced on any given week.
I do appreciate that their have been a number of project-based lessons and activities that have stressed cross-discipline research and thinking. And I have never felt that the homework my daughter has brought home has been busywork.
I've been a Villa parent for 5 years and have found both the community and academic rigor exemplary. My daughter transferred in as a new student in third grade and felt welcome from day one. We've made a number of great family friends over the years and have felt the community has been very open and accepting. We don't live in the immediate neighborhood but that hasn't been an issue with connection/community really - I think the majority of families don't live right by school. We've been very happy with the athletic programs and after school options as well.
Horribly overpriced for what you get. Turn out cookie cutter students and are unable to deal with those that do not fit mold. Consider themselves intellectually superior when in fact education is below level of local parish schools.
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!