Tag Archives: The Westminster Schools

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: http://www.aaais.org/calendar/2013-04 to keep up with different schools open houses and deadlines.

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″]

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!

Atlanta Fine Homes High-End Home Sales Strong

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.

Tutor Near Buckhead Private Schools

An experienced tutor can be an invaluable resource in helping students prepare for standardized tests.  One of my friends is a very knowlegeable and highly recommended tutor for the SAT, ACT, and PSAT.  Being the mother of two college-aged sons in top colleges, she knows the importance of doing well on these tests and can offer insights into this somewhat arduous process..  Her calm demeanor I’m sure is also an asset when guiding children and parents during this often anxious time.

Susan tutors in the following:

SAT reading, vocabulary, grammar, and the essay

ACT english, reading, science, and the essay

She does not tutor math

Susan graduated from Emory University with a B.S. in Biology and has  4+ years of experience tutoring one-on-one and in group settings.  She personally takes each test three times a year to stay current and tutors with real test material. She is available at two locations: the Northside Parkway Public Library and at her home off Windsor Parkway for $75/hour.  You can reach her at: Susmaz@aol.com or 404-255-4779.

Buckhead Private Schools offer Summer Camps

I can’t think of a better time to start planning for summer than on a rainy Monday in January. Registration is now open for summer camps and activities at the Buckhead private schools.  While summer vacation is meant to offer more freedom and less structure, the sounds of “I’m bored” are heard too often.  Three of the Buckhead private schools offer summer camp programs for all ages appealing to a wide range of educational and recreational interests and are open to all children in the commuity.  See the links below for specifics and registration forms.

The Westminster Schools

The Lovett School

Pace Academy



Atlanta Private Schools hold Open Houses in January and February

While we have many great public schools to choose from in and around Atlanta, many parents choose private schools for a variety of reasons.  In the Buckhead area many children will attend public schools through elementary school then choose to attend private schools beginning in middle school through graduation.  We’re so fortunate to live in a community where we have many great options to choose from allowing parents to find the right “fit” for their children.  When deciding which is best for your family, this article posted on the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) pointed out several good points.

Seven Myths About Independent Schools

By: Patrick F. Bassett
Published: August 2, 2009
November 23, 2011

NAIS President Patrick F. Bassett
NAIS President
Patrick F. Bassett

We know why families choose independent schools. They value what Tony Jarvis, past-head of Roxbury Latin School, called environments where students “are known and loved,” and they believe what the research documents, that independent schools’ intimacy, manageable size, and universally high expectations for behavior and achievement produce graduates who succeed in college and life.

We know as well why families who can afford independent schools don’t choose them (aside from the “confirmation bias” we all have of preferring what we have chosen to other alternatives). Families who reject independent schools tend to believe in one or more myths about independent schools.

Myth #1:
Independent schools are only for the rich.
While it’s true that independent schools are chosen more often by families from higher income brackets, it’s also true that a significant proportion of independent
schools’ population is comprised of the three lowest socioeconomic quintiles
(students who often receive financial aid) and the fourth quintile, the middle to upper middle class families who find a way (including grandparent contributions) to afford a quality education for their children, seeing it as the best investment they can make in their children’s future, whatever the cost and sacrifice.

Myth #2: Independent Schools are “not the real world.”
Of course they are not, thank God. The real world is, sad to say, unsafe, unstructured, and — worse than values-neutral — values bereft. The independent school culture is, ironically, counter-cultural in the sense of establishing a values matrix that runs counter to the child-toxic values of the popular culture and amorality and immorality that surrounds us.

While independent schools are “not the real world” themselves, they prepare students exceedingly well for the real world(s) of college, the workplace, and life in general, as the National Education Longitudinal Study from NCES demonstrates: independent school graduates in disproportionate numbers earn college and graduate degrees, report high career satisfaction, vote and engage in civic activities, exercise, and generally contribute to make the real world a better place.

Myth #3: Independent schools are unaffordable.
Independent schools are expensive but not unaffordable. It’s expensive to hire and support high quality teachers,maintain relatively small classes, offer intimate advisor/advisee counseling groups, provide a full-range of sports and arts programs and activities (and expect everyone to participate, unlike large public schools where only elite athletes and artists are served). With the financial aid packages independent schools offer, the “sticker price” is discounted for a significant proportion of families so that they can afford to send their children to a high quality independent school. Families of even relatively high incomes often qualify for some financial aid.

Myth #4: Independent schools lack diversity.
To belong to NAIS, an independent school must agree to abide by “Principles of Good Practice,” one of which is related to “equity and justice” practices to assure that NAIS schools commit resources and energy to advancing inclusivity and diversity of all kinds in our schools. These principles are grounded in the knowledge that all students benefit from more diverse environments and that, once they leave school for college and the workplace thereafter, the comfort students have with diversity will serve them well. Because public schools are tied to specific neighborhoods and independent schools are not, the facts belie this myth: Most independent schools tend to be more, rather than less, diverse than local public schools, since too often residential housing patterns remain largely segregated by race and ethnicity.

Myth #5:
Independent schools (especially boarding schools) are for kids with social
In large urban areas throughout the United States and on the East and West Coasts, there are large concentrations of families that send their children to independent day schools or boarding schools, so the practice is seen as normal. For more suburban areas and troughout the Midwest and Southwest, however, there is far less density of independent schools (though this is changing as new schools emerge). Sometimes those not familiar with independent schools assume “something is wrong” if a family chooses anything other than the local public schools. While there are very good private therapeutic schools for students with very serious problems (schools that serve that specific population well), none of those schools belong to NAIS, because our schools are all “college-prep” (even the elementary schools, since all families see them as the first step in the journey to being well-prepared for college).

Myth #6: Independent schools are only for really smart kids.
It’s true that “really smart” kids graduate from independent schools, but they don’t all come to us that way, and even the ones that do have much “value added” from their
experience. Fundamentally, NAIS schools believe in the “growth mindset” research
that indicates that success comes largely from hard work and optimal conditions; and that emphasizing one’s “native intelligence” is often counter-productive. So independent schools create the optimal conditions for what Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, describes as formative for highly successful people: they have the capacity for hard work and find themselves in situations that demand hard work. Truth be known, the typical independent school student has average-to-above-average ability, but becomes exceptional from hard work and opportunities to develop multiple intelligences, not just academic and intellectual ones. Truth be known, there is a segment of students with learning differences in many independent schools (and some independent school whose mission is to specifically serve LD children): LD kids in independent schools are virtually all college-bound.

Myth #7: Independent schools are not part of the community.
Independent schools are very conscious of “community impact” issues and opportunities, especially given the commitment as charitable enterprises to demonstrate “the public purpose of private education.” On the most obvious surface level,
independent schools have multi-million dollar budgets and employ local citizens,
so the multiplier effect is a significant contributor to the local economy. On a
programmatic level, virtually every independent school’s programming includes community service, where students and faculty contribute “sweat equity” in the local community, tutoring in schools, assisting at hospitals and nursing homes, cleaning up parks and rivers, and the like. These programs tend to have a “service learning” dimension where the work in the field becomes the subject of classroom research and discussion towards the end of producing lifelong civic engagement. Finally, independent schools are defining being “part of the community” very broadly, seeking to address global challenges by implementing local solutions.

During January and February, the private schools in Atlanta are hosting open houses for prospective parents and/or students to visit and get a feel for the school.  The AAAIS (Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools) offers a calendar on their website for open houses at each of it’s member schools as well as links to schools and other pertinent information.