Category Archives: Atlanta Private Schools

Time Flies…

This time of year I often feel like time is moving faster than I’m able to keep up with, somewhat like a gerbil racing in its wheel.  I also wonder if I’m accomplishing more at this faster pace or just spinning my own wheel.

As the new school year began 8 short months ago, I almost felt myself physically bracing for all the changes that lie ahead for my high school senior son and my college senior son, which inevitably will lead to an empty nest for my husband and I and our dear 12-year-old chocolate lab.  I considered recording all the “lasts” we would experience throughout the year to share on Facebook with catchy captions, but it somehow seemed too morbid so instead I just braced myself for the ride.

Here we are in the midst of our last high school baseball season after a 16-year run of watching both boys play.  How did we get here so fast?  When the last pitch is thrown, the last out is called, the last game is over and I watch my son walk off the baseball field for the last time, it will feel like it has been so much more than just a game, but instead a metaphor for the many seasons of raising children.

Throughout this 18-year time span so many decisions are made and lessons learned. Growing up can certainly be described as a team sport with fans, coaches, umpires, team mates, opposing teams, celebrations and defeats, knowing when to bunt or when to aim for the fence, while at times feeling alone at the plate.

As a mother, I’m grateful for a book club with other mothers, an insightful leader, and a wise author to guide us through this transition toward having adult children.  I highly recommend, Now That They Are Grown: Successfully Parenting Your Adult Children, by Ron Greer As a mother in the group said, “We are the first generation to take on parenting with the intensity of a CEO only to work ourselves out of a job.”

As 2 graduations approach less than 2 months away, the tight grip I was trying to hold on to my children’s lives is slowly loosening as I tentatively yet faithfully try to change my focus to the journey that will unfold with many “firsts” instead of focusing on all the “lasts”.

Atlanta Private School Admission Letters Mailed April 5th

I remember this day well when my own children were waiting to see if they had been accepted to their school of choice.  The letters typically arrive on Saturday after being mailed on Friday.  After many months of visiting schools, completing applications, and going for interviews, the decision day finally comes.  From my experience with my children and their friends, everyone got into a school that was a good fit for them academically and socially. Best of luck to everyone that is waiting!

Go to this site: to keep up with different schools open houses and deadlines.

The Wood Acres School – Academic Excellence in East Cobb

Quick Facts about the Woods

  • Wood Acres was founded in 1969 as the Wood Acres Country Day School. Originally located on the corner of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads in East Cobb County (yes, it was once just a beautiful forest!), the school provided unprecedented educational programs for Early Childhood students.
  • Wood Acres moved to its present location in 1983. A multi-million dollar campus renovation was completed in 2007 in preparation for program expansion and growth into the middle school years.
  • The Wood Acres logo, the oak leaf and acorn, comes from the original campus oak still seen on Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb. With the addition of Turner Hall, Wood Acres adopted its mascot, Navi-Gator. The compass rose, found in the school plaza, provides the school community a daily reminder of the importance of direction and purpose in all that we do.
  • Many schools, both public and private, tout low teacher-pupil ratios (TPR) but embedded in the numbers are additional non-homeroom teachers and support staff. Wood Acres’ TPR is a true representation of the importance we place on small class size and personal attention to a student’s learning. The Twos average TPR is 7:1, Threes, Fours, and Kindergarten average is 8:1, Grammar School (first through 4th grades is 16:1 and Upper School (5th through 8th grades) is 18:1. These TPR averages include applicable teaching assistants as they directly impact instruction. Toss in all our specials teachers (i.e. music, art, etc) and our TPR drops to an amazing 5:1 in the Early School, 8:1 in the Grammar School, and 8:1 in the Upper School!
  • For the discerning family who compares both educational value and expense, The Wood Acres School has no competition. Our tuition is not just competitive; it consistently ranks on the top of lists comparing quality vs. tuition. Wood Acres firmly believes that a first class private school education should not cost more that college tuition! Specifics concerning tuition and fees can be obtained during your on-campus tour or by calling the Wood Acres Financial Accounts Manager.
  • Leadership at Wood Acres ascribes to the tenets of 30 years of research on effective schools. Hence, The Wood Acres School focuses on a clear and focused vision, high expectations for student achievement, strong instructional leadership, a safe learning environment, close monitoring of instruction and time on task, a positive school climate, and close home-school-community partnerships. Through these lenses leadership and teaching teams constantly evaluate themselves for continuous improvement.
  • Wood Acres is accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Founded in 1901 this commission accredits both private and public schools in the state.
  • Wood Acres does not ascribe to any one teaching methodology, any one curriculum approach, or any one academic mindset. The programs and adopted curriculum are strongly research-based, geared to national standards, and represent myriad approaches that have proven successful for student achievement and academic success.
  • Although an independent school, Wood Acres students do not wear school uniforms at this time, although a smile is a prerequisite throughout the school day! Spirit wear is popular and available through this website.
  • Choice in education can be both an invigorating experience as well as a challenging one to implement. The Wood Acres School works closely with prospective families in hopes of making a great educational match between student and school. One visit to our campus will help you shape your child’s educational journey.

Real Estate Recovery Run around The Westminster Schools

Last weekends Real Estate Recovery Run was an 8 mile run to gear up for the upcoming half marathon season that took place with my friend Julie through the neighborhoods along West Paces Ferry at I-75 and behind The Westminster Schools.  As a loan officer in a bank, Julie can certainly relate to the downfall of the real estate market and upheaval of the financial system.  She’s logged in hundreds, maybe thousands of miles on foot and her bike in search of sanity over the last few years.

Sunday was a beautiful morning with a touch of fall in the air.  We met at the West Paces Ferry shopping center near Starbucks, which is a popular hangout place for the students that attend the private schools in the area.  Passing the beautiful estates mixed with more modest homes that possess the blue chip addresses on West Paces Ferry took our mind off of the long gradual incline. The sharing of war stories of the market and hopeful recovery we are seeing kept our adrenaline flowing.

After a refreshing downhill break we crossed Northside Parkway toward The Westminster Schools.  Years of carpooling memories came back to me, warming my heart as we plodded deeper into the quiet neighborhoods with estate sized properties and rolling lawns surrounding the campus.  The few For Sale signs along the way were a reminder of the declining inventory of available homes. Eight miles seemed to pass rather quickly as we soaked in the serenity of our peaceful surroundings.

See below the available homes for sale within close proximity to The Westminster Schools and other Buckhead private schools.

[idx-listings zip=”30327″ minprice=”500″ maxprice=”10000000″ propertytypes=”230″ orderby=”DateAdded” orderdir=”DESC” count=”488″]

Woodward Academy to do random drug tests

This should stir some interesting debates…….

Woodward Academy to test students for drug use

Atlanta Business Chronicle    

by Carla Caldwell, Morning Call Editor

Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 6:40am EDT

Woodward Academy plans to perform random drug testing for grades 9-12 beginning next year.

Woodward Academy plans to perform random drug testing for grades 9-12 beginning next year.

Woodward Academy in College Park will next year become the second school in  Georgia to enforce random drug testing on its students, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV.

The station reports that the decision comes on the heels of a new national study from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University that says drug use among teens is as prevalent as ever – and has increased at private schools.

The study says 60 percent of teens believe their high school is “drug-infected” – which is relatively consistent with previous years, WXIA said. But in private schools, the number has increased from 36 percent to 54 percent, the report said.

Click here to read more about Woodward’s plans for testing students in grades 9 to 12, and to read comments from Dr. Stuart Gulley, president at Woodward Academy.

High School Football begins in Atlanta

Football season is upon us.  As the mother of ball loving sons, I often feel like my life can be categorized by what ball was being played with at that particular time.  We sold our house during baseball season, my grandmother passed away during football season, etc.  I confess I prefer the beautiful spring days of baseball season and the fast paced roar in the gym of basketball season to the late and often cold Friday nights of high school football season. My long lean sons don’t possess the stature required for an injury free football season so the sound of crashing helmets can cause me great stress.  I’ve learned to watch the game by just scanning the field so as not to focus on the intricacies of each play or see which player ends up on the bottom of the heap.

Growing up in small town Georgia I do get the enthusiasm and pride that goes along with supporting the local team.   The star players in those small towns often go on to run for mayor, own the local sporting goods store, or coach a team of their own and continue to relive their championship season and the play by play of each game well into their senior years.  The marching band, twirling majorettes, and pom- pom shaking cheerleaders set the tone each Friday night as the town fills the stadium.  My enthusiasm for high school football waned when I attended my children’s Buckhead private school games.  High school football without a marching band is like the Dallas Cowboys without the cheerleaders.  With the private schools priority being placed on academics and other extra-curricular activities like chess club or debate team, the marching band slowly became extinct.   I’m sorry, but a few beatnik type musicians playing their instruments in the stands does not compare to the stadium rocking sensation of the marching band.

Since my younger son has decided to retire his cleats and shoulder pads this year, I will no longer be regularly attending Friday night games.  My husband on the other hand will still be in the stands so I will look forward to a season of girl’s nights with Georgia, our chocolate lab.  Someone was looking out for me when we happened upon a lab that cares nothing about a ball.

Go Team!

Lovett Boys Baseball Advances to the Semi-Finals


The regular season is a little slow for me, but the playoffs are when I really feel like a fan. As we arrived for our first game at Calhoun High School, ready for our first two games out of a three game series, the port-a-potty clean out truck parked within reach of the stands was a reminder that we were not in Buckhead anymore. As the stench filled the air, the mood was lightened and the first pitch was thrown.  Country or city, the love of the game is evident wherever we go.  Having warmed many baseball stands over many years, the monotony of the regular season can seem long and oh so routine.  My husband and I seem to spend more time passing each other in the garage than we do in any other area of the house. Practices here, games there, some work in between, fast food, late nights and early mornings, and I’m ready for the playoffs.

A friend of mine with non-sports playing children recently commented to me that she wished she and her husband shared in the sports comaraderie of watching their children play. I quickly corrected her and said, “Oh, do not be fooled by thinking this is something we do together.” My husband sees a completely different game than I do as he leans in the mens corner on the edge of the stands, and I join mom friends in the bleachers.  As we later reminisce, he oftens asks if I was at the same game he was.

Having split our first two games against Calhoun, we headed back on day two for a do- or-die third game.  At the game I attended, I joyfully watched the coaches wife with two young daughters and lincoln log bin in tow to postpone boredom, the grown men that left their jobs in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon to drive over an hour to watch high school boys play ball even without a child on the team, the loving grandparents that wouldn’t miss a game, the little sisters that got dragged to a possible final game, the pitcher’s mom that appeared pale and weak, senior moms teary-eyed at the possibility of seeing their son walk off a baseball field for the last time, and the superstitious rituals of where to sit, pace or sit, change clothes or not, cheer or not cheer, etc.  Although these are the scenes and events that seemed to keep my attention for most of the game, I was forced to be consumed by the competition taking place on the field.

Top of the 7th and Lovett is down 4-1.  This is our last chance to advance to the semi-finals or move on to studying for final exams.  After a Lovett rally we go into the bottom of the 7th with Lovett up 6-4 and Calhoun at bat.  As the team mom and I were clenching hands and practicing something like Lamaze breathing to relieve the tension, Calhoun hit a one run homer, 6-5. Our sophomore lefty closed the game with his ever so confident and calm style and a big W.  On to Pierce County Monday.  Go Lions!

Go here for a play-by-play report by the Northside Neighbor

2012 Varsity Baseball Team

Atlanta Private Schools Acceptance Response Deadline April 19th

All member schools of the Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools require students and their families to notify the school of their decision to accept or decline their offer of admission no later than April 19, 2012.

While many students were accepted into the school of their choice, others are anxiously awaiting a spot from the waiting list.  Having been through this with my own children, I know how stressful this time can be. While there doesn’t seem to be any “magic” to getting off a waiting list, I found the points below to be helpful.

You’ve applied to your private school – or schools – of choice and are anxiously awaiting letters from the admissions offices. Receiving a yes or no letter gives you a definitive answer. But what if your child is placed on a waitlist? What does that mean? We answer some common questions about how waitlists are used in the admissions process at private and independent schools.

How do schools decide who to admit in the first place? Many factors go into determining whether or not a child will be offered admission to a school. Additionally, many factors go into creating an entering class of students. A school’s highest priority is to admit students who have the greatest chance at success in their educational environment and who will contribute the most to their school’s community. They also take into account the make-up of the class and will want to strike a balance between criteria that might include gender, birth date, geographic location, and more. Ultimately, the decision to admit – or not admit – a student takes into account individual characteristics as well as potential group dynamics.

Is being placed on a waitlist just a polite way for a school to deny admission? If a school feels strongly that a child will not succeed in their environment, most admissions directors will not offer admission to the student. However, if the admissions director believes that the child could be successful but wasn’t admitted for another reason, perhaps a group factor as described above, the child could very well be placed on a waitlist. Then, if a space becomes available at some point in the future, a student from the waitlist will be offered admission.

If the school believes that my child could fit in well at their school, why was my child placed on the waitlist rather than someone else? Many factors go into admitting students to private schools. For example, let’s say that two students – a boy and a girl – are both seen as potentially successful students at a given school, but the entering class has an overabundance of girls. If all other factors are equal, the school is more likely to admit the boy to better balance the class.

Is there anything I can do to improve my child’s chances of getting off of the waitlist and into the school? If you receive a letter telling you that your child has been placed on a waitlist, you can call the school’s admissions office to affirm your commitment to enroll if your child is ultimately admitted. You may also ask how many children are currently on the waitlist and the likelihood that your child is in a position to move off of the list. If a spot does open up, the school will be more likely to offer admission to a family that is a “sure thing” over a family who might not commit. Be mindful, however, that there is a fine line between letting the school know that you remain interested and stalking the admissions office. One phone call should be sufficient.

What if my child doesn’t make it off of the waitlist but the school is still our first choice? Is there anything we can do to improve our chances in the future? If you know for certain that your child will not be attending a school for the upcoming year, either because you did not make it off of the waitlist or you received a rejection letter, you really have nothing to lose by contacting the admissions officer and politely asking for feedback. Some admissions officers will even go as far as offering advice on how you might improve your child’s chances for admission in the future. For example, if the admissions officer thought there were issues of academic deficiencies, perhaps your child can spend the upcoming year building up the skills that are required to be successful at the school.

Atlanta Private School’s Admission Notification Letters Mailed April 6th

Many families become anxious this time of year as they anticipate the private school’s admission notification letters being mailed. Decisions on where to live, carpools, and summer activities can all be on hold based on the information received in those letters. I remember somewhat stalking the mailbox when my children were waiting to hear if they had been accepted to the schools of their choice.  As anxious as this time can be, from my own experiences it seemed that everyone was accepted into a school that ended up being a good fit for them.  We’re so fortunate to have many great schools to choose from and I know many families that have each of their children at different schools, private and public.  The Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools is an informative website to keep up with all of the private school open houses, tours, and dates for various deadlines.

Lovett Girls Basketball Wins State Title

Having attended many games against Buford’s powerhouse sports teams, I know this win is even sweeter as a victory over Buford.


Class AA Girls:  Lovett 52, Buford 42

12:18 am March 11, 2012, by Prep Zone

By  S. Thomas Coleman For the AJC

Who knew Lovett’s Sydney Umeri could shoot threes?

Sydney Umeri did.

The 6-foot-1 junior, a nationally-ranked player who usually does most of her offensive damage on the low block, stepped out and drilled three long range bombs during a 22-point third quarter that propelled the Lions (28-5) to a 52-42 win over Buford (25-8) in the Class AA final, Saturday in Macon.

The win prevented the Wolves from capturing their fourth consecutive state title. For Lovett, it is the first basketball state championship, girls or boys, for the school. Buford had won the two previous meetings this season between the Region 6 rivals, downing the Lions during the regular season (58-44) on Jan. 21 and in the region tournament championship game (45-39) on Feb. 18.

“It just shows how much my game has developed and how much our team has developed this season,” said Umeri. She had just two points in the first half as Lovett held a 15-14 lead at intermission.

“I got in foul trouble in the first half. In the second half I told myself that I had to come out and do something to help our team win this championship,” said Umeri, who finished with 13 points. “Our team deserved it and especially our seniors deserved it.”

Two of those seniors stepped up big time in the second half as well, particularly in the fourth quarter. Guard Tatianna Jackson, who led all scorers with 20 points, scored 12 in the second half with seven coming in the fourth quarter, and forward Christen Johnson scored eight of her 12 points in the final period. Together, they helped stave off a comeback by the Wolves, who trailed by 12 midway through the third quarter.

After applying some full court pressure, Buford trimmed the lead to four, 39-35, with four minutes left after a lay up on a strong move to the basket by junior guard Kaela Davis. The daughter of former NBA veteran Antonio Davis led the Wolves with 14 points, nine in the fourth. Her bucket off of a Buford steal made the score 41-37, Lovett, with just over three minutes left.

The Wolves appeared to have forced another Lovett turnover on the Lions’ next possess when an errant pass looked like it was about to roll out of bounds along the baseline. But Jackson flashed in from the high post, retrieved the ball and banked it in. The bucket started an 8-3 run over the games final two minutes the sealed the deal.

“We just knew this was our game. We knew we could beat them,” said Jackson, who has signed with Chattanooga. “We knew we had a great team and we came out more aggressively in the second half.”

“We have a lot of respect for Buford. They’re a great team,” said Johnson, who has signed with Northwestern. “But we definitely came in fired up. We wanted this game.”

Lovett head coach Liz Kennedy applauded her team’s resolve in withstanding the fourth quarter run by the three-time state champions.

“That is just an amazing team over there, so talented,” Kennedy said. “They have done a phenomenal job building that program. But I just had the feeling that this was our year, and when the ball started bouncing our way, it just all came together.”

The game was the final one in the high school career of Tennessee-bound guard Andraya Carter, who is still battling back from knee surgery and suffered a separated shoulder earlier in the season. Buford’s championship run began during Carter’s freshman year.

“Andraya Carter has been the foundation of this program,” said Buford head coach Gene Durden, who led the Wolves to all three titles. “To see her battle the way she did this season and give everything she had says so much about her and who she is.”

Lovett 52: Tatianna Jackson 20; Sydney Umeri 13; Christen Johnson 12; Julia Selman 3; Taylor Brown 2; Carrie Mutombo 2.

Buford 42: Kaela Davis 14; Kristina Nelson 9; MacKenzie Darrah 5; Kallie Case 4; Andraya Carter 4; Emily Adams 4; Maya Dillard 2.