We learned about this school during my daughter's sophomore year. She was bored and sleeping in the large classes of a public school and not motivated. The arts emphasis interested her, and after visiting we decided this was a good choice for her, with small classes the other main draw. She finished her junior year with grades in the high 80's and 90's, and is now starting her senior year and already has applied to a 4-year college.
The Adirondack School is the only place I would consider having my daughter attend. She was brutalized by bullying in the public school. Even though she is gifted she only recieved acceptable grades because she wasn't appropriately challenged and was immobilized by public school techniques because she learns differently then a typical public school student. At TAS she is supported in the areas she is challenged with so she can freely learn in her own way. She is recieving an individualized education at TAS which public schools don't provide. The TAS is fostering her growth and preparing her to be a contributer to society.
Overall the school is great for people who want to take charge in their own lives and do things THEY are interested in. You have freedoms you deserve, and you get attention you need. Sometimes the school can coddle people who need to get pushed forward in life, but that is mainly due to peers and situations within everyone's own lives. It truly is a different experience. It teaches you to work hard and experience life. It helped me spread my own wings.
I have been associated with the Adirondack School for about 5 years, first as a parent volunteer, and, for the past three years, as a board member. My personal story: My daughter did fairly well in public school until middle school. She attended summer programs through a Johns Hopkins program called the Center for Talented Youth two summers in a row. Then she went to eighth grade and failed. She failed because she hated going to school because of all the "stuff" that comes with the pre-teen to teenage years. My wife had been advocating for a year to check out private schools. I resisted at first, but after the failure, I agreed. We checked out a couple schools in the area, but decided they wouldn't work. Then, we checked out The Adirondack School. We spoke with Marlene Bissell, who asked us questins about our daughter, and, after a few answers, started to tell us about our child, whom she had never met. We were amazed. Marlene agreed that our daughter might be a good candidate for the school, and said the next step would be for her to attend a day there. At that point, her failure in eigth grade was guaranteed, so we sent her to TAS for a day. She came out of that day saying, "I have to go to this school." Marlene has moved on, but is still a friend of the school. The folks who run TAS genuinely care about the students, most of whom just don't fit the public school mold. Most of the kids are genuinely brilliant, but can't function in the public school environment. The teachers are amazing. As for my daughter, she graduated last June, and is now a Freshman in college. I'm not sure she would have made it without the Adirondack School.