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Old 04-12-2015, 08:55 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,165 times
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Dear snsh5713 and others,
Please share more about Westminster and your concerns regarding academics. Our child received acceptances from Westminster and Pace for pre-first, and we have to make a decision this week. We have a good public option. Our reason for going private is for our child (who appears to excel academically even though I know we have many years to go) to be engaged and reach his/her potential rather than being taught at the mean. We are assuming Westminster admits children who exhibit an usually strong curiosity for learning and innate abilities to easily process new information and therefore have a curriculum to support this type of child. Are we wrong in assuming this? We fear leaving our neighborhood school for better academics to then be disappointed. Also, for lower school years, a nurturing environment and strong sense of community that fosters social and character development is also important to us. We hope the strong (?) academics are balanced with hands-on learning through experiments, nature exploration and some free time to play/socialize for the early years. We don't want to see too much time learning from technology rather than through experiences with teachers and peers. Finally, what is the community like at Westminster's lower school? Do children play outside of school, or do they live too far away from one another to make the effort? Will we be pleased with Westminster regarding academics, challenging and engaging enough, social/community/nurturing environment? Does anyone have more info regarding these same concerns and Pace? Based on tours only, we felt Pace would meet our needs regarding community, character and a nurturing environment but may not be as academically strong as Westminster. For current or recent lower school families, please share your thoughts.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:58 AM
 
2,607 posts, read 3,142,630 times
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As a person with a couple of degrees in engineerinv and one who wants my child to be in a strong environmt for math/science, I was wondering how the privates were doing with the Math Our Way approach to math. This sounds like the Math Our Way approach - a few problems and let go,oh and do some creative stuff around the house for the math problems. I personally believe you have to work math alot and prefer the approach of drills for my child, and placing understanding on top of that as well. It sounds like Westminster would come off as mathlite to me if my son was there. It is surprising bc ut has a reputation for extreme rigor. But maybe that is in the liberal arts? I sure did not think so. The comments by SNSH are a bit surprising.
This from someone who actually went to GT for an engineering degree and came out with honors. I believe the math needs to be a bit more rigorous than what is being presented here.

Kferq,
I'd written a rebuttal to your post but deleted. I don't really have time to check city-data often nowadays and my post would have triggered more back and forth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kferq View Post
While I do see a push to increase the standards in athletics and the arts, I don't see the decline in academic standards. They still require on practice free day every week even when the sport is in season (or it is dress rehearsal week for the play). The curriculum is at a much higher level than when I graduated especially in math, science and langauge. The Westminster curriculium has always been based on strong fundamentals of writing, reasoning and problem solving rather than large volumes of work. There has always been large amounts of reading, but if your child is quick reader then it may not seem like much. Math homework has always been a few simple problems to be sure they have the basics and a few very hard ones to work on problem solving skills. Even my child who was not talented in math never spent over an hour and a half. If your child does not write well they will end up working extremely hard as they will have to rewrite a terrible number of papers. Even my worst writer quickly graduated from that phase, and began to put papers together effortlessly.

I think there is an excellent question you raise: is this very American curriculium the best approach for all or would a more nose to the grindstone approach (seen in many Asian schools) be better for some students. The Westminster curriculum does allow flexibility for advanced classes (Multivariate calculus for example), but it is takes a special student for them to allow an extra academic class that might equal the work load at a Bachelors of Science in engineering program.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:03 AM
 
2,607 posts, read 3,142,630 times
Reputation: 1460
As a person with degrees in engineerinv and one who wants my child to be in a strong environmt for math/science, I was wondering how the privates were doing with the Math Our Way approach to math. This sounds like it - a few problems. I personally believe you have to work math alot and prefer the approach of drills for my child, and placing understanding on top of that as well. It sounds like Westminster would come off as mathlite if my child was there, and that is surprising. Of course I'm coming from the perspective of someone who actually was an engineer, has degrees in it and feel like I know what it takes to have a successful foundation in it - and playing with a little math on a daily basis is just not it. It is surprising bc ut has a reputation for extreme rigor. But maybe that is in the liberal arts? I sure did not think so. The comments by SNSH are a bit surprising.
This from someone who actually went to GT for an engineering degree and came out with honors. I believe the math needs to be a bit more rigorous than what is being presented here.

Kferq,
I'd written a rebuttal to your post but deleted. I don't really have time to check city-data often nowadays and my post would have triggered more back and forth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kferq View Post
While I do see a push to increase the standards in athletics and the arts, I don't see the decline in academic standards. They still require on practice free day every week even when the sport is in season (or it is dress rehearsal week for the play). The curriculum is at a much higher level than when I graduated especially in math, science and langauge. The Westminster curriculium has always been based on strong fundamentals of writing, reasoning and problem solving rather than large volumes of work. There has always been large amounts of reading, but if your child is quick reader then it may not seem like much. Math homework has always been a few simple problems to be sure they have the basics and a few very hard ones to work on problem solving skills. Even my child who was not talented in math never spent over an hour and a half. If your child does not write well they will end up working extremely hard as they will have to rewrite a terrible number of papers. Even my worst writer quickly graduated from that phase, and began to put papers together effortlessly.

I think there is an excellent question you raise: is this very American curriculium the best approach for all or would a more nose to the grindstone approach (seen in many Asian schools) be better for some students. The Westminster curriculum does allow flexibility for advanced classes (Multivariate calculus for example), but it is takes a special student for them to allow an extra academic class that might equal the work load at a Bachelors of Science in engineering program.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:45 AM
bu2
 
9,896 posts, read 6,370,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlCulture View Post
Dear snsh5713 and others,
Please share more about Westminster and your concerns regarding academics. Our child received acceptances from Westminster and Pace for pre-first, and we have to make a decision this week. We have a good public option. Our reason for going private is for our child (who appears to excel academically even though I know we have many years to go) to be engaged and reach his/her potential rather than being taught at the mean. We are assuming Westminster admits children who exhibit an usually strong curiosity for learning and innate abilities to easily process new information and therefore have a curriculum to support this type of child. Are we wrong in assuming this? We fear leaving our neighborhood school for better academics to then be disappointed. Also, for lower school years, a nurturing environment and strong sense of community that fosters social and character development is also important to us. We hope the strong (?) academics are balanced with hands-on learning through experiments, nature exploration and some free time to play/socialize for the early years. We don't want to see too much time learning from technology rather than through experiences with teachers and peers. Finally, what is the community like at Westminster's lower school? Do children play outside of school, or do they live too far away from one another to make the effort? Will we be pleased with Westminster regarding academics, challenging and engaging enough, social/community/nurturing environment? Does anyone have more info regarding these same concerns and Pace? Based on tours only, we felt Pace would meet our needs regarding community, character and a nurturing environment but may not be as academically strong as Westminster. For current or recent lower school families, please share your thoughts.
General thoughts:

At the elementary level schools are learning a lot of the basics.
Public schools have gifted programs, that at least in the good schools, offer a lot to those students.

So you are paying a lot more for smaller classes, a little stronger average group of students and perhaps a little stronger average group of teachers at an age when the children really are still little kids, not serious students.

Now if you get in during elementary you don't have to worry about getting in during middle school or high school years when admission is more competitive. And the gap between private middle schools and urban public middle schools can be huge. Among those not in gifted programs it is. Public schools just don't do a good job dealing with middle school age hormones.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:44 PM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,043,939 times
Reputation: 1428
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlCulture View Post
Dear snsh5713 and others,
Please share more about Westminster and your concerns regarding academics. Our child received acceptances from Westminster and Pace for pre-first, and we have to make a decision this week. We have a good public option. Our reason for going private is for our child (who appears to excel academically even though I know we have many years to go) to be engaged and reach his/her potential rather than being taught at the mean. We are assuming Westminster admits children who exhibit an usually strong curiosity for learning and innate abilities to easily process new information and therefore have a curriculum to support this type of child. Are we wrong in assuming this? We fear leaving our neighborhood school for better academics to then be disappointed. Also, for lower school years, a nurturing environment and strong sense of community that fosters social and character development is also important to us. We hope the strong (?) academics are balanced with hands-on learning through experiments, nature exploration and some free time to play/socialize for the early years. We don't want to see too much time learning from technology rather than through experiences with teachers and peers. Finally, what is the community like at Westminster's lower school? Do children play outside of school, or do they live too far away from one another to make the effort? Will we be pleased with Westminster regarding academics, challenging and engaging enough, social/community/nurturing environment? Does anyone have more info regarding these same concerns and Pace? Based on tours only, we felt Pace would meet our needs regarding community, character and a nurturing environment but may not be as academically strong as Westminster. For current or recent lower school families, please share your thoughts.
I think the differences are minimal in academics at the elementary level between Pace and Westminster. And I am not sure you are on the money about what type of curriculum they have at either school. For the most part, the admission process is used to build a strong class of students who can learn in their setting. At the end of the day, a child (with no learning disabilities) with educated parents is likely to end up at the same point academically in terms of what you really need to learn in elementary school regardless of public or private. (There are some exceptions in terms of some really weak public options.) There are likely to be differences in enrichment type activities, extracurricular activities, and school culture, but most likely a child is going to master the same material, assuming they are able. (neither of these schools are well suited to children with learning challenges.)


As Bu2 posted, it is really at middle school where things seem to separate, in my opinion. These are crucial years and challenging for the very best educators. Public schools face a huge uphill battle in this age group.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Ex-Bostonian in Woodstock, GA
705 posts, read 593,446 times
Reputation: 868
Quote:
Originally Posted by atltechdude View Post
Quality early childhood education is very predictive of success later in life according to many recent studies. If people have the money, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your child to have the best education possible.
My wife went to an "average " public school system growing up, and was making six figures by age 28. On the other hand, I know a guy who grew up in my old neighborhood who went to private schools most of his life, and is still living at home. What I'm trying to get at, is that as long as you raise your kids right and instil in them the importance of education at an early age, they'll do great (whether in public schools or some prestigious private academy)
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:23 PM
 
26 posts, read 37,122 times
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I see that people think the true difference in the education comes in middle school. What are the differences between pace and westminster in terms of education and community?
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:46 AM
 
1,779 posts, read 1,837,164 times
Reputation: 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelySummer View Post
As a person with degrees in engineerinv and one who wants my child to be in a strong environmt for math/science, I was wondering how the privates were doing with the Math Our Way approach to math. This sounds like it - a few problems. I personally believe you have to work math alot and prefer the approach of drills for my child, and placing understanding on top of that as well. It sounds like Westminster would come off as mathlite if my child was there, and that is surprising.


Westminster uses Singapore math. Pace has a new lower school principal who is a curriculum specialist and I'm thinking that she will be reviewing all curricula in the near future. Pace currently uses Everyday Mathematics (spiraling curriculum), but in no way does this preclude their doing plenty of drilling on math fundamentals, timed tests etc. Both schools make sure the students have their math facts down automatically. No worries there.

Last edited by AtlJan; 04-13-2015 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:55 AM
 
2,607 posts, read 3,142,630 times
Reputation: 1460
Great. I meant to say Everyday Mathematics (not Math Our Way). If Westminster is using Singapore Math, I don't see the issue at all. Singapore smokes almost the entire world in math regularly.
It would seem more schools (public and private) would use Singapore Math. Why mess with what works. I've heard schools don't use it bc of the disposable books that have to be re-purchased and the need for regular teacher training but I don't know if that is accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlJan View Post
Westminster uses Singapore math. Pace has a new lower school principal who is a curriculum specialist and I'm thinking that she will be reviewing all curricula in the near future. Pace currently uses Everyday Mathematics (spiraling curriculum), but in no way does this preclude their doing plenty of drilling on math fundamentals, timed tests etc. Both schools make sure the students have their math facts down automatically. No worries there.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:57 AM
 
2,607 posts, read 3,142,630 times
Reputation: 1460
The note that Westminster uses Everyday Math was also what I saw on their website about a year ago hence my post (I meant to say Everyday Math, not Math Our Way).

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC2ATL10 View Post
Is that a recent change at Westminster? Because their website still says "Westminster uses Everyday Mathematics, the elementary curriculum of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project." I have been searching for private schools down here that use Singapore math and the only ones I could find were really small and/or new (i.e. Core Academics : Hess Academy Private School in Atlanta) It seems like all the established privates still use Everyday Math which has plenty of detractors.
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