Five and one star reviews are typical when the only people who comment are those who either love it or hate it. The haters comment to get back at the school for a perceived injustice, the lovers comment to counter the haters...and so it goes. I have been affiliated with Billings for 10 years . It's sad to say, but so few haters come through that I can pretty much identify them on this site. If the child is troubled or a trouble-maker and parents refuse to work with the school, they will leave unhappily. This goes for Billings and every school. But go to an open house - you'll interact with students who love to represent the school, see the work that students do in class, talk to teachers who love their work, listen to the passionate, articulate and dedicated head of school, and see photos of hand-on, minds-on, experiential learning of kids who love school. Is it for everyone? Nope. Choose well according to what your child needs, because they are as wonderfully different as the schools you see. But if you seek honest, compassionate, highly educated teachers who are enthusiastic about sharing their love for learning with your child, look at Billings.
I just graduated from billings a few weeks ago, and it was interesting. Let me just that if you are super concerned about academics, then I don't recommend billings. We didn't learn a whole lot that will likely translate to high school, with a few exceptions (mainly math, which is more or less your typical math class in terms of what is studied, but also language arts and foreign language). For example, billings has a different social studies class for every grade. In sixth grade, there is geography. In seventh grade, there is history. And in eighth grade, there is global studies. What is global studies you may ask? It was literally our teacher teaching us whatever the heck she wanted to teach us about, which did include some "global studies," but also included many unrelated subjects. For example, one class she lectured us for the entire time about logical fallacies, a perfectly good waste of 1 and a half hours that I don't think anyone learned from. The teachers are also hit or miss -- I had some really awesome teachers, like my eighth grade math teacher, eighth grade science teacher, and sixth grade geography/seventh grade history teacher (though now she only teaches (part 1)
Nice outdoor education program with academic enrichment if that's what you are looking for. Lots of weeks are 4-day instruction. Nice, well-meaning teachers, strong sense of community. It often seems like there is lots of theory and lofty ideas with few checks on whether it actually works. To their credit, they work with kids other private schools wouldn't. If your kid is strongly self-motivated and looking for an intimate setting, it might be a good fit. You average teenager will just cruise through.
This school was quite the experience for a highly sensitive creature. I must say that it was wonderful
I am so happy to see the posting (below) from a teacher! Billings has serious problems. Although these may be isolated and not everyone sees them, children are hurt at this school!!!
History of Innate, problems with bullying. School is incapable of dealing with this issue. Keep looking for a safer place for your child.
Very pleased with this school. My daughter has almost completed her 6th grade level and is thriving in the direction we were hoping for. The school encourages children's creativity and values academics that's not monotonous. My daughter looks forward to going to school and is rarely bored. Very strong outdoor program. In addition to high regard for traditional academics, the school also offers weekly classes in Yoga and is well-rounded in exploring other unique learning experiences. Staff is welcoming and insightful to middle school age complexities. Makes good use of its community base at Green Lake.
This wasn't our first choice for a private school, but we've been pleasantly surprised by our first few months. Billings saw something in our son that other schools overlooked, and he has already developed some close friendships and relationships with mentoring adults. Pick this school for its individuality and well-rounded education, along the way you'll find a challenging program designed to allow students to grow their confidence and abilities.
It is frustrating to read the overly positive reviews, clearly planted by the schools administration. It is unfortunate that Great Schools does not have a way to guard the integrity of this site. Really now, 40 reviews from a school with fewer tht 100 students? Sudden spurts of positive reviews whenever a genuine negative is posted? Maybe you could loop back and confirm posters at the email they used, perhaps rooting out some of the false ones?
We are a new Billings family with a 6th grade girl. In just 3 months, we've been blown away by the community that has both welcomed and guided us. This is a school where passionate teachers take the time to find out what inspires your child. From the extra-curricular activities to the hands-on learning and outdoor expeditions, every day at Billings is a day of discovery and growth.
My son went to Billings Middle School for the last three years and is finishing his second month of high school now. I think that at this point I can say Billings did an outstanding job preparing him academically and socially for high school. He is in a competetive honors program and doing a great job of managing his workload and time, communicating with teachers, and navigating the social scene. He entered math and Spanish at a sophomore level and is getting A's in all his classes. I can't express how much I appreciate the preparation Billings gave him for high school! I also have to say I am continuing to enjoy the friendships I developed with the other parents at Billings - a unique opportunity provided by the small, cohesive middle school setting. Thanks Billings - I will continue to be a loyal supporter!
Our child graduated 2 years ago from Billings. After he graduated we were concerned about him moving on to high school. Would he be prepared? Would he survive the rigors of high school? Yes- is the answer. He has the ability to advocate for himself . He is choosing classes that challenge him. He has surrounded himself with a diverse group of friends. Aside from getting good grades, his solid academic foundation allows him to be self confident in his high school studies. In addition, and maybe, most importantly, he came out of middle school as a- good human being. I attribute these successes directly to his Billings education. Ultimately, they truly care for, understand, and educate the "middle school child". I remember middle school as one of the worst times of my life- In my late 40's, I wish I could have a middle school "do over" at Billings!
I just graduated last week from Billings and am personally offended by the person who said we have "social challenges" and are "not particularly concerned with academics." I am definitely not socially challenged and next year I will attend one of the most prestigious high schools in Seattle. If you "step back from involvement in your child's school life" it's your own fault - my parents stayed involved all along while I learned to take care of myself academically (the correct spelling, BTW). The interviewer at my new high school told me that they love Billings kids because they are great self-advocates. The teachers are amazing. Sometimes I felt like they know me better than I know myself! I played competitive sports, was in plays and musicals, and got to be a leader when I wanted to. I also got a great education and am ready to rock high school.
My 8thy grade son is in his 3rd year here. He has loved it every step of the way as have we for him. He has gotten to participate in a wide variety of extra curricular activities from ultimate Frisbee to Macbeth. The staff loves this age and it shows. He has been supported academically both in the areas that are a challenge for him and in the places he excels. A self-esteem building atmosphere!
We are utterly disappointed with every aspect of this school and will not be returning next year. Any family considering Billings needs to set aside anonymous ratings and polished admissions programs, and insist on an unescorted day at the school (stand outside door ways to hear what really goes on inside classrooms, hang out at the park with 6th graders after lunch) talk to parents who are leaving and form your own opinions!!
We are totally disappointed with every aspect of this school -- Lots of high-level chatter, but no follow though. Arrogant, ignorant, frustrating, and honestly, damaging to our child. Worse than any public school experience I could imagine.
I had 2 daughters attend Billings, graduating in 2004 & 2008. It was the best money I have spent on them yet. Socially they are able to talk to teachers and speak up in class with ease, and to problem solve with peers at a very sophisticated level. Academically they were extremely prepared for highschool. Physically they were challenged to do many things they might not have done and learned an enormous amount about the world through that experience.The only complaint I have is that there is no Billings High School or the equivalent.
Just received midterm comments from Billings Middle School...and now we know our child in a new way. Essentially we received a letter from our son's advisor. He spoke of our son's strengths and struggles, along with quotes from all of his teachers and words directly from our son. We couldn't be happier with the personal attention that our family receives, and the opportunity to be involved in shaping our child's academic, social and emotional future. Wish they had an elementary school too!
My Billings alumna daughter just got her first grades from High School. All A's and more importantly so many complements on how well she speaks up for herself, collaborates with her classmates and is a considerate member of the class. Thanks Billings for giving her so many of the tools she uses every day to be a successful student and good person.
Billings is one of the few schools I've encountered that actually walks the talk. Everybody says they have the skills and vision to understand and address your child's individual needs, but that's a very hard thing to live up to. The teachers at Billings are remarkable--observant, thoughtful, responsive. They seem to know so much about what's going on developmentally and individually with their students--when to push and when to pull back and when to invite a kid out for a hot chocolate. Even if you don't think you can go there, I encourage you to do the interview with Head of School Ted Kalmus. I learned more about my daughter's learning strengths and challenges and opportunities after she spent a day at Billings than in six previous years at a small private school. Also, don't worry about high school. The kids from Billings get in where they want.
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