By Alison Poe
We didn’t start out at Seth Boyden. Because our daughter had shown academic strength in preschool, we initially thought she should go to private school. She applied to two private schools and was accepted to both; we chose the one that seemed friendlier.
By halfway through kindergarten, we were very unhappy with the private school, including its lack of academic rigor and its poor communication with parents. We switched our daughter into Seth Boyden halfway through kindergarten, in January 2015.
Everything about our Seth Boyden experience has been far better than at her private school. The teachers — from the classroom teachers to the ones who teach gym, music, and art — understand our daughter, appreciate her, and work with her to develop her strengths and minimize her weaknesses. They push her firmly but gently, asking for her best but being patient with her kid-ness. They maintain order but also a sense of fun.
The community is full of warm, positive, interesting people from a phenomenal diversity of backgrounds. A much greater percentage of them seem to care actively about their children’s academic and social development than was the case at the private school. The lines of communication to parents from the teachers, the administrators, and the other parents is open, clear, helpful, and supportive.
Our daughter LOVES Seth Boyden. She’s made many friends in her 14 months there. She essentially worships her teacher, and because of the mixed-age model for first- and second-grade classes, she gets to keep this teacher next year. The mixed-age classroom is fantastic: It facilitates exactly the kind of differentiated learning that’s a cornerstone of the school’s educational philosophy.
In our family’s view, Seth Boyden is a model of a racially and socioeconomically diverse school that serves all of its students extremely well, from children who are working above grade level to the ones who need more support. We are very, very, very happy here.