The University School provides easily the best college preparatory education in Wisconsin, and does so while cultivating a community that is unusually mature and supportive in any context, but exceptionally so for one that's built around children and young adults. The school is build around the Common Trust Doctrine, which challenges young people to be active and responsible members of a community that acts with honest, integrity, and compassion. The teaching is top shelf--in a conspicuous number of cases, in fact, life changing. (Between us, my wife and I have 4 graduate degrees, and she is an educator, so we know a few things about teaching.) The athletic offerings are sometimes uneven, but generally credible, and occasionally excellent. This community treasures learning and cherishes the young people who are placed in its care. It is expensive, but the aid packages make it accessible to many students of modest means. It emphatically is NOT cliquish or exclusionary, and indeed you will find some phenomenal human beings among families old and new.
I truly hate USM. As soon as the new head of school came in, everything has gone downhill. While USM (constantly) brags about their above average academics and teachers, as a student, I can say that this is simply not true. The USM curriculum is the same as other public high schools in the area, and most of the teachers are nothing special. Not to mention, USM is filled with rich, snobby kids who are not afraid to rub their wealth in your face and belittle you. If you want to send your kids here because you think they won't be bullied, think again. Instead of investing $20,000 a year into this waste of money, go get yourself something nice. USM is not worth it.
My son has attended University School since the first grade, and he is not in the fifth grade, which is considered middle school. I would say that the school is good in terms of academics; however, the price tag is significant. We recently hit a rough patch economically. When we asked admin to work with us for the sixth grade, they refused. We provided documentation to prove our current situation. To our dismay, the financial committee did not want to work with us at all. This was extremely disappointing for us, especially since we've been at the school for a few years. As far as the teachers go, it's like most schools. Some teachers are exceptional while others are nothing special. I can say this because we have had a combination of both. Overall, the school is good as I mentioned prior, yet for the expensive price tag----I feel that ALL teachers should be exceptional. Lastly, getting help for your child is an additional cost. It comes across to me that USM is all about the money and not the welfare of the students who attend there. Instead of you walking through the doors of the school, your wallet always walks in first. I ALWAYS felt this way, unfortunately....
USM is the best pre-K through 12 School in the Milwaukee area. We have three children in the lower school and our experience has been exceptional. USM has great teachers and small classes. The teachers take the time to get to know each child as an individual. The facilities are wonderful and the place is well run. In general, the USM community has been a big plus for us. We have met a bunch of great engaged parents. I understand the concern about snootiness that others have remarked upon. However, can you show me any school in which you will click with every other parent? The vast majority of USM parents are great! The only real negative about USM is that it is really expensive -- starting around $15,000 in the early years and pushing $20,000 per year by high school. Paying the tuition bill each year is no fun, but USM does deliver the value. This is a great school!
Although I have been going to USM since 1st grade and have never experienced what it is like to go to a public school, I have no doubt that USM is the best option for me. Being a determined kid, USM allowed me to challenge myself from a young age and develop into a student who didn't do the work for the satisfaction of getting an A, but more so for the enjoyment of learning. Part of this mindset is definitely due to my parents awesome perspective on what is actually important in life, but I truly believe that USM, especially in the past couple of years, has been pushing the message that hard work and dedication is far more important than the mark you receive. To address the talk about how superficial and shallow some of the families are at USM, I totally agree. A small minority of the families attending this school are snobby and conceited, but never has this affected me or my family. If you are being affected by the small amount of snooty riffraff that goes on at USM, then you might want to work on being a little more confident and a little less shallow yourself; these low lifes can easily be avoided and should not distract from all the other wonderful aspects of this school.
We are new parents too and there is no way that anyone in their right mind can rate this school anything other than 5 stars. My son is new to the school. The staff has done an amazing job welcoming us and making sure that he transitions effectively. They ensure that every student s social, emotional, physical and academic needs are met. We are of ethnic minority and have never felt out of place because everyone is so nice, students, parents and staff alike. I'm an administrator at a different school and I can recognize the amount of hard work that their teachers, coaches, advisors and secretarial staff provide. This is a school of excellence! The parent involvement is strong, which is really great because they look out for our kids. We are so grateful to finally find a school that challenges our son's full potential in a non-stressful and nurturing environment.
We are new parents too and there is no way that anyone in their right mind can rate this school anything other than 5 stars. My son is new to the school. The staff has done an amazing job welcoming us and making sure that he transitions effectively. They ensure that every student s social, emotional, physical and academic needs are addressed. We are of ethnic minority and have never felt out of place because everyone is so nice, students, parents and staff alike. I'm an administrator at a different school and I can recognize the amount of hard work that their teachers, coaches, advisors and secretarial staff provide. This is a school of excellence! The parent involvement is strong, which is really great because they look out for our kids. We are so grateful to finally find a school that challenges our son's full potential in a non-stressful and nurturing environment.
We are new parents to the school and have had a very bad experience thus far. The parents are very snobbish and superficial, while some of the teachers appear to be callous. We want our child to have an excellent learning opportunity without the elitist environment, which isn't possible at USM. Another problem is the social circle you feel forced to join. There are endless social affairs, which provides an excellent way to meet other families. Unfortunately, if you aren t part of their circle than you re not welcome and it s very apparent! This is a school for parents who want their children to grow up to be snobby and discriminative! We want our child to grow up to be a decent, intelligent and kind, not someone who only cares about money, the proper circles and clawing their way to the top.
USM was an excellent learning and social environment for my son, who is now in law school. He benefited from the small classes and the individualized curriculum. The school was very good at finding the activities that he was interested in, and giving him the opportunities to excel in them. He played chess and soccer, and that determined his social life. All soccer players were invited to the soccer parties. The students have assigned places at lunch tables headed by staff members. In this way, the students socialize with students from other activities and classes, and get to know the staff outside of the classroom. How do they get these kids to study so hard? The curriculum is rigorous and engaging. The other students are career and interest oriented and set a fast pace. Studies are simply part of the social life. My advice to parents interested in this school for high school, start in middle school if possible. Be sure your child is active in at least one activity and one sport. Sports are all walk on and everybody plays. And give your student plenty of time to study. Stay in contact with his teachers. If you need weekly notes, as we did in middle school, no prob.