Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Four Winds different from other schools?

What is Four Wind's daily schedule?

Where are you located?

What is the academic calendar?

What do the students do for physical activity?

What is the school like socially?

What size is the school?

Who are the instructors?

Does Four Winds assign homework?

Where do Four Winds students go after they graduate?

How do I apply?

After I apply, when will I learn of the school's decision?

Financing a Four Winds Education:

What is the cost of the program?

Is this a fair price?

Is it the right time to spend money on my child's education?

Do you offer financial aid?

at the river

What makes Four Winds different from other schools?

Four Winds truly offers an individualized education. Students work at their own level of achievement in all subjects, receiving individual help from teachers, and making progress daily. Working at their own pace and their own level means that students are challenged every day. Students at Four Winds quickly gain academic confidence, knowing that they can meet these daily challenges and that they will never be behind or lost.

Four Winds is a safe, nurturing environment where students will never feel like they are failing. At the same time Four Winds offers challenging academics. Students leave ready for high-school math, in fact some will have already completed Algebra and Geometry. They will have strong writing skills and a sense of their own voices as writers. Four Winds students graduate with a solid foundation in Latin. Most important, Four Winds students will have learned how to learn. They will have gained confidence and begun to enjoy learning. With these skills, they will be able to get the most out of any high school or college they attend in the future.

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What is Four Wind's daily schedule?

The academic day begins at 8:30, pick-up is at 3:30.

Mornings
8:30-9:30 Writing
Together students and teachers read a poem and share what they noticed about it. Then students and teachers do creative writing silently for roughly fifteen minutes, and afterwards share what they wrote if they so choose.
9:30-10:30 Academic Work
Students work at their own pace on accademic work they've selected for themselves. Teachers are available for help and guidance.
10:30-10:50 Break
Students may play games, go out side, eat, and otherwise enjoy themselves.
10:50-12:30 Academic Work
Students continue their academic work with teachers' assistance.
12:30-1:30 Lunch
Students may play games, go out side, eat, and otherwise enjoy themselves.

Afternoons (vary depending on day)
Monday-Thursday 1:30-2:30: Class Discussion
Students and teachers work together on projects, read books, complete lab reports, and participate in discussions in the subjects of Humanities, Science or Music.

Monday-Wednesday 2:30-2:40 Art
Students and teachers do ten minutes of visual art together.
Monday-Wednesday 2:40-3:15 Project Time
Students and teachers may either continue their visual art project or do another project that is educational, including: playing piano, fiber arts, working with clay, Dungeons and Dragons, chess, using Scratch or creative Minecraft, and many other projects.

Thursdays 2:30-3:00: Cleaning Day
Students and teachers work together to clean the school.

Fridays
Every other Friday at Four Winds School is either a field trip to a local museum or, in the winter, an educational video.
The other Friday afternoons (the ends of the biweeklies) are free time if the student has completed their biweekly, or else they should be finishing their biweekly work.

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building

Where are you located?

Four Winds operates out of two classrooms in the old Gill elementary school building on Route 2 just west of the public boat landing. This building also houses the Gill Historical Society. Click here for Mapquest or Google Maps directions.

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What is the academic calendar?

The academic year runs from September to June, meeting for a total of 165 days to end the academic yearWe observe most legal holidays excepting Colombus Day; take a full week break at Thanksgiving, two full weeks for the winter holidays, and one week breaks in February and April, corresponding with the vacations of the public schools. Click here to view our calendar.

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kids dancing

What do the students do for physical activity?

At Four Winds, we place a high value on both work and play. For that reason, our daily lunch break is an hour. During that time, many students choose to take advantage of the school's huge field and basketball courts. The school always has a collection of basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs and Frisbees on hand for everyone's use. Students also bring their own sporting equipment for break time. Lacrosse sticks, street hockey gear, and roller blades have all found their way inside Four Winds' doors at one time or another.

Many of our students maintain their ties to their community by participating on local sports teams. At Four Winds, we recognize the importance of such activities and are flexible in allowing students time to make such commitments.

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cold day

What is the school like socially?

At Four Winds, we take advantage of the school's size by emphasizing the common ground students find with their classmates and discovering the strength in each other. Students form strong friendships at the school every day, but what is especially important is how our students relate to everyone-- their peers, their instructors, and their communities. Our emphasis on the uniqueness of all individuals gives our students a greater appreciation of their own gifts and the gifts of others.

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What size is the school?

Because individualized instruction in basic skills is a foundational commitment of Four Winds, the school enrolls a maximum of fourteen (14) pupils.

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Who are the instructors?

Four Winds has two full-time teachers, Eloise Michael and Becca Lipton; and a part-time Latin teacher, Hattie Adastra. Click here to meet them and learn about the founder of the school, Steve Hussy.

Throughout the year, the students of Four Winds have many opportunities to meet with, and learn from, people in the larger community. In addition, guest scholars work with the students in arts, sciences, health, and local history.

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Does Four Winds assign homework?

No! Four Winds School does not believe in assigning homework for students. We would prefer students use their after-school time to spend time with their families, participate in extra curricular activities, or relax!

The only times that students have homework is if they did not finish their biweekly work during the appointed time (due to poor time management). We do not have students make up work that they missed due to sickness or snow days).

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Where do Four Winds students go after they graduate?

Anywhere they want to!

Many of our students go back to their community's high schools, and are eager for the challenges they will find there. Four Winds graduates have attended Amherst Regional High School, Franklin County Technical School, Northampton High School, Pioneer Regional High School, and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Others opt for continuing their private school experience, going to schools such as The Cambridge School of Weston, Charlemont Academy, Deerfield Academy, High Mowing School, Northfield-Mount Hermon, North Star, Stoneleigh-Burnham, and Williston-Northampton. Graduates have taken advantage of a unique partnership Four Winds has developed with Greenfield Community College, where students take college level courses, and work towards getting a high school diploma from Four Winds as well as entering college with advanced standing.

The school's graduates have gone on to study at Earlham College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Longy School of Music, Macalester College, Paul Smith's College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College, Tulane University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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How do I apply?

Complete both Student Application and Parent Information forms and send them in prior to your interview. Click here to download an application and find out how to set up a visit!

Call the school's director, Eloise Michael at (413) 863-8055 to schedule an interview.

We recommend that your child spend a day with us at Four Winds as well. A full day visit can be scheduled at the time of the interview.

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After I apply, when will I learn of the school's decision?

Four Winds has a rolling admissions program. After the re-enrollment of our current students is complete, you will be notified of the status of your application.

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Financing a Four Winds Education:
Some FAQs

Tim in Waterfall

What is the cost of the program?

For the school year, September 2017 to May 2018, tuition and all additional fees total $11,300. This includes textbooks and fees for materials and events.

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Is this a fair price?

The cost of most other private middle school programs in the Valley is substantially greater than ours. While they all have excellent programs, the program at Four Winds stands out among them in its ability to foster each child's education individually, and to do so for many thousands of dollars less each year.

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Is it the right time to spend money on my child's education?

Playing Outside Many educators recognize the middle school years as the pivotal point of a child's educational career. In the transition from elementary school to high school, many children lose the openness and willingness to engage that characterizes the earlier years of their education. Finding a middle school setting that genuinely engages your child and actively builds on his or her sense of academic accomplishment significantly improves the likelihood of success for your child in high school and beyond. While the exorbitant costs of college might seem to preclude paying any tuition now, remember that success in high school is critical to the success of your child in the college admissions process.

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Do you offer financial aid?

Financial aid is available for familes who need it. We encourage you to apply if you feel you may qualify.

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Four Winds School