This is the best school my kids have attended. I would not change it. They have helped all my kids, without discrimination. This is an admirable school. I feel safe leaving my kids there because there is good oversight and the teachers are the best. Shorewood Village is very nice and I am very happy with the school.
Reading previous reviews,note that this year Atwater will have a new principal and new guidance counselor as well as a new OT, all of which are involved in discipline/learning differences. It's hard to predict what it will be like in 2009/2010 as those are major players. Currently: Top notch music and art programs. Imaginative gym classes. New character education program. Chicago Math (fuzzy math) through 5th grade. Class size 22-25.
My child attended this school for three years. We moved from out of state so we had a great school to compare it to. My child was bullied by children on the playground from day one and the staff and principal did nothing to help. There is no gifted program, the teachers are skittish because of an arrogant, principal and the playground is like Lord of the Flies. Parents (depending on who you are in the community) are generally treated like trouble making problems.
One of the many reason our family enjoys Atwater school is because they do not have a gifted and talented program. We have lived in several school districts across the country and feel the unnecessary tracking a gifted and talented program entails is an inefficient educational process on many levels. Atwater takes every child to a level that is above and beyond what the child ever thought possible. The classroom teachers creatively teach the necessary curriculum. An absolute plus is that with through music, art, orchestra, band, PE, Spanish, computer lab, science lab, etc., any and every child is given the opportunity to excel and grow academically, socially and physically. If all schools would follow the Atwater model, no child would ever be left behind.
I just want to clarify that this school does NOT have gifted program. It has a 'challenge' program, which essentially comes down to more work. Having a gifted program is something which is very specific and was actually what I was looking for and why I am now looking elsewhere. They definitely operate from a strong mold which works best for your child if they can fit into that. It can be, and is, a very difficult road at Atwater for many. They are what they are: a traditional 'back to the basics' school, and they run very efficiently on that model. There's only so much you can do to change 'the system', and I certainly understand that. If you are looking for a setting which attempts to achieve the curriculum goals and govt. standards from a perspective of the strengths of each individual student, try the multi-age here.