This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted April 17, 2014
- a parent
We have found ourselves surrounded by families and teachers who believe in learning, structure, accountablity and community. We have found the quality of teaching and overall attention to academics as exceptional as the school's commitment to instilling values and the reasons for them. We believe the academics and our daughter's experience at Bertschi will be a factor in her long term happiness and success.
Bertschi is a unique environment that really embraces the academic, social and emotional development of the kids. It is a nurturing place; the teachers are committed and caring and parent involvement is embraced. Instruction meets the individual needs of kids who excel ('gifted", if you will') and also of kids who need extra support, because the faculty and staff actively understand 'differentiated instruction" / meeting each child where they are. The board is mission-driven; (the mission being about confident, creative and compassionate kids in a global world); they are transparent and open, and passionate about the values of the school...integrity/inclusion and sustainability. The school built the state's first completely sustainable building, a science building, with the kids contributing design ideas and monitoring energy and water usage. My kids have gained confidence, made many friends (as have we!), and my older son went on to be a top academic achiever at a strong middle school... all of which I am proud of, but I'm most pleased with how this school helps inspire lifelong learning and enrich character.
We've been at Bertschi for a month now. First impressions, this is not your typical elementary school. It will make you wish you were school age again. The leadership runs an extremely tight ship. The teachers have been there (most 10 or 20+) years. The communication is stellar and my son leaves every day telling me he loves his school. One of the things we love bestis that the school has amazing energy. Every morning, Bridgitte Bertschi, the founder of the school along with many other staff members, stand at the school's entrance and greet the kids by name. They all have my child's name down even though he's only been a student there 1 month. Impressive. Because there is an air of friendliness and community there, the parents, likewise, pass this on. You won't find the Seattle "freeze" reflected in the parent community at Bertschi. They have a vibrant community that enjoys family and parent outings as well as school related functions. The only bummer, the cost. It's really expensive and the school asks for supplemental gifts from parents once a year to offset costs. That's tough, but, for us, worth it.
This school does not live up to its reputation. Our children were harassed and bullied by other students, and school leadership turned a deaf ear to our complaints. A very "club like" place that imagines it is egalitarian, but it is really elitist and highly insular. Leadership appears friendly and collaborative but is actually dictatorial. Weak board leadership. No financial transparency. Overall, a very disappointing experience. Many parents are thrilled with the place. We're happy to be out of there.
My child has been at the school for two years now and I can enthusiastically say that I'm thrilled with his educational experience. The curriculum is well rounded and focuses on a global perspective, not just local. The kids learn how to be compassionate and empathetic while also being in an academically rigorous setting. I especially have appreciated how open the school is to hearing and implementing parent feedback. I have participated in providing feedback every year in a parent survey and I have seen that they can and do make changes when necessary. I also think that their learning services department is quite unique for a school of this size, helping students who need it but also challenging other students who need more of a push. I didn't think that the school did the best job marketing themselves as well as others in the "individual learning" style but they are very strong in implementing that teaching method at the school. The parent community is also really strong and I've enjoyed meeting other parents.
Looks like a terrific school from the outside. But applicant parents be forewarned, the admissions director offers nearly all rejectees a spot on the wait list whether or not the school has any actual interest in your child/family. She then sends unnecessarily nose rubbing emails if you're willing to remain on it and also says things in the group "interviews" that she doesn't live up to. Other schools are as competitive but with much better customer service.
Bertschi provides a very strong academic program in a warm, inviting environment. In addition to a strong and rigourous academic program, Bertschi also has an amazing arts, drama, PE, Spanish, and science program. Our son currently is in K at Bertschi and we could not be more happy. He had always been a "shy", slightly socially anxious child prior to starting Kindergarten, but during his K year at Bertschi, he has grown so much socially, emotionally, and academically. He is now extremely socially confident, enjoys going to school everyday, has learned so much, and absolutely loves ALL the kids in his class. The teachers get to know each student's personality and appreciates and encourages their unique qualities. Our daughter cannot wait to start K there next year.
Bertschi is a great school with strong consistent mission instills in all levels. Our whole family feels very welcome in Bertschi where inclusiveness is one of the important school values. Bertschi s new science lab will be a living building and sustainability is part of everyday education.
Bertschi was the greatest experience for me as a parent and a wonderful learning experience for my daughter. My daughter is now at Seattle Academy in 7th grade and is excelling in all of her classes thanks to our time at Bertschi.