How do you define character education?
Many schools have begun to advocate this aspect of the learning experience in the 43 years that Brentwood School has held it as a central idea of who we are.
In order to be an excited, life-long, self-motivated learner and citizen, and do this in the context of "The Golden Rule", a child must understand the concept of being responsible. At Brentwood School, from the youngest ages, children are guided to be mindful of their actions, proud of their actions, and accountable for their actions.
What is covered by the curriculum?
Every class, every day, will study Reading, Writing, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies in ways appropriate to their ages. In addition to this core curriculum, specialists teach Computer Technology Studies, Spanish, Art, Music, Physical Education, and Library Skills.
Since all elementary curricula are similar, what makes Brentwood School different?
It is true that 2+2=4 and Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in 1969. The delivery system is what differentiates schools. Brentwood School studies each student's learning style and pace and tailors assignments accordingly. For instance a second grade writing assignment may include a wide variety of topic choices, small group editing sessions, presentation options including illustrations. Rarely are any two Brentwood School assignments alike upon completion yet every child will have covered the intended group skills. No public or private elementary school in Alachua County allows its teachers more creative freedom to make its curriculum engaging and alive.
Tell me about class sizes, ratios, etc.
Our preschool classes range in size from 15 to 22 students with two teachers per class. From Kindergarten through Grade 5 the maximum number is 26 students with two teachers per most classes. These numbers are based on research exploring optimum learning ratios in preschool and elementary school settings.
Do you give standarized tests? How do you feel about the public school FCAT intensity?
At the end of each year, starting with first grade, we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Many believe this to be the standard of achievement tests. We do not teach the test, fret over it, pressure our students and teachers to perform on it, or otherwise pervert the true intention of the use of this kind of a test. Brentwood School students compare favorably with other public and private elementary schools in Alachua County and Gainesville, Florida and typically average over a year above national norms.
Is there an after school program?
We call it PLAYGROUP, and children may attend as early as 7:30 a.m. and as late as 5:30 p. m. There is an hourly charge, and we keep track of your use so you may pay monthly. You may use PLAYGROUP regularly or spontaneously, meaning no costly contracts or promises. There is a discount for all day/every-day use.
An important note: Brentwood teachers do all before and afterschool supervision. We do not send them home and bring in a lesser trained staff.
Are there after school activities available?
EXPLORER CLASSES are offered in 5 to 6 week blocks, one day per week after school, changing five times per year. Classes have included cooking, science, computer, drama, pottery, tennis, bicycle safety, karaoke, basketball, and more.
What is the cutoff age for Kindergarten and does Brentwood follow that deadline?
The state of Florida requires that children be five years old on or before September 1 to enroll in public kindergarten. Brentwood School will consider early enrollment on a per case basis. Brentwood School, among Alachua County Florida schools, has the most experience helping you make this decision and ensuring its success.
Do you have a gifted program?
Since we maintain low student/teacher ratios, and individualize our teaching, bright, curious students love Brentwood School. Our hands-on philosophy means that in addition to advanced skill work they will go places, plan and create exhibitions, participate in science fairs, plays and events, enjoy guest speakers, and more. Most importantly they will work with teachers who respect their pace and style. Also, keeping in mind the limitations and potential pressure of any label, we believe that Brentwood's whole child environment is the area's best choice for stimulating the bright, eager, discerning child.
Can you accommodate learning disabilities?
This term covers a wide range of learning needs but over the years we have helped many students relax, focus on what makes learning difficult, and then with an individually designed program move forward with skill acquisition, organizational skills, and new confidence.
Can we expect a lot of staff turnover?
Brentwood School is blessed with an incredible and stable staff, and we experience little turnover so consequently little turmoil. We have some of the most sought after teachers in the community and many at Brentwood School have been here more than 20 years. Bob Schackow, school director, has been at the helm for 33 years, Jennifer Morton, assistant director, 19 years, Barbara McFarland, secretary, at the front desk 29 years, etc., etc.
How do you compare to public charter schools?
Charter schools are a fairly new concept that allows a private owner (who isn't necessarily an educator) to use public funding to operate a school. In our opinion they are decidedly not equivalent to a Brentwood School education. Some differences are:
They are typically small, 30 to 60 students meaning a restricted social circle.
They are often highly specialized meaning less social and intellectual diversity. For instance if the emphasis is on arts and crafts or diet and exercise is there a chance the Reading, Science and Math curricula could be compromised?
Funding is often stretched thin.
Facilities and materials are typically smaller, borrowed, leased, etc.
While Brentwood strongly believes in full attention to a full curriculum within a viable, diverse population, a charter school could provide a good education for your child.
Where do Brentwood School graduates typically go to middle school?
Brentwood School students, known for their positive attitudes and good work habits, go to all of Alachua County's middle school choices. Our acceptance rate at invitation programs (Lyceum, etc.) is almost 100%. Some go public, trusting their Brentwood School foundation to leave private school. Charter schools are chosen, as well as parochial and, of course, Brentwood School students are welcomed at all local private schools. Bottom line: A Brentwood School education, and advice and support from Brentwood School staff, is a successful path to the middle school of your choice.
May I volunteer, visit, or drop in?
You are welcome anytime, for any reason. All visitors must come through the office. Volunteer opportunities vary from helping as needed (field trips, events) or putting together a regular schedule that works for you. Volunteering is never required. If you have the time to help with field trips you will enjoy an incredible range of North Central Florida's best cultural, historical and natural events and venues.
Are there scholarships available?
Brentwood does not have its own scholarship program. We work with The Mckay Scholarship and Step Up for Students. Information on both is available online or ask us. The Brentwood office will however work with families needing a specific payment plan and all of our extended payment plans are interest free.