Parent and Guardian Testimonials

“I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of Four Winds School! My son has come so far – both academically and socially, in the years he’s attended Four Winds. Executive function is bolstered like no other school I know of, academics are geared to your child’s personal abilities (there’s no such thing as ‘grade level’), there is kindness and understanding, but also a lot of personal accountability. And maybe most importantly, the students are happy. Imagine that… really happy middle schoolers! It was absolutely the very best choice for my kid; I don’t have a single regret about sending him here. 5 stars!

Four Winds is a remarkable school that has changed the course of my son’s life, both academically and socially. I almost don’t have the words to express how grateful I am for this wonderful middle school!”

~Julie Steinberg, parent of graduate Ben

“If you’ve had a child struggling in another school, Four Winds will allow them to soar in their learning and to be and feel successful! Sent my son here for one year and it was the best thing we ever could have done for him! This is a wonderful school!

~Betsy Hale Sicard, parent

“I just have to say thank you. For the first time I think ever, Henley said she loves school and she is very grateful that she is able to attend Four Winds. As a parent, having to deal with all we went through last year in the public school system, it is so amazing to have the trust and confidence that my child feels safe and happy, all while in a learning environment. And that is only happening because of you all. Thank you.”

~Shana Gilstrap, parent of graduate Henley

Four Winds has given my middle schooler the opportunity to work at his own pace in a supportive and caring environment. He is not being pushed ahead or left behind with any curriculum. He is also developing critical management and executive functioning skills which will serve him well in high school and beyond. We are absolutely positive we made the right choice to bring him to Four Winds.”

A wonderful student-centered school and community. Students can work and learn at their own pace, and also practice valuable time management skills. Teachers do an amazing job communicating with families and dealing with issues big and small. A+++

Best decision we ever made for our son, so glad we took the leap and didn’t wait. The middle school years are too important!”

~Judy Bennett, parent of graduate Emmett

“This is the first year Lucas has ever gotten up and wanted to go to school. This is a huge thing for us.”

~Ed Streeter-Gelineau, father of graduate Lucas

“The time Phillipa spent at Four Winds has shaped her life. She learned how to learn, and she was affirmed and lifted up in her love of learning. Four Winds School fills a huge gap in the educational system.”

~Andrea La Sonde Anastos, Mother of graduate Phillipa

The care taken by all students and staff at this school is remarkable, as is their approach to learning. It is student-centered, allowing middle-school-aged citizens to make their own decisions and to be held accountable for their own progress. The students are supported with knowledge, guidance, and care, and the community that is built within the school is intentional and supportive. We love it.”

“Our family started looking at private schools when we moved, leaving the school district our rising fifth grader had been in since preschool. It was very stressful, because elementary school concluded in sixth grade in that district, while in our new district, middle school started in fifth. The idea of him starting in a middle school, as what we would consider a VERY young ten was almost unimaginable – especially in a pandemic, where our child had spent an entire year attending school virtually. We found Four Winds on social media, and attended a virtual private school fair where the school was represented.

“Right away, Becca, one of the co-directors, put us at ease. She was friendly, knowledgeable and so obviously passionate about her job. When I expressed my concerns about my 10 year old starting middle school, she spoke about the Four Winds curriculum and how it might suit him better, given his strengths and weaknesses. We decided that night it was the right fit for us.

“The application/interview/visiting/admissions process was seamless. The entire school welcomed our prospective student as if he already went there. Welcoming him the way they did as a school made the sting of leaving his beloved elementary school so much easier. He has now been attending Four Winds almost two months, and we are so happy with our decision to choose this school. Our child is learning time management, actively participating in planning his own academic schedule, and learning in a way that he is actually retaining information and enjoying himself while doing so. Communication from his teachers has been outstanding and there hasn’t been a time since being in school where his mind has been active and engaged in such a profound way. This is exactly what he needed, especially in a pandemic.

“Additionally, Four Winds’ attention to CDC protocols have been followed meticulously and it is such a relief knowing that we are sending him somewhere that he is safe and able to learn while remaining as healthy as possible.”

“Four Winds might feel like a leap of faith for parents. Such a small school, such a different way of teaching — I get it. We had those same thoughts when we were considering sending our son there. But he had dyslexia and his middle school couldn’t figure out how to teach a smart kid with a reading disability. Four Winds knew exactly what to do! What a little island of creativity, welcome, compassion and learning! This is the way all schools should teach (btw, our son went on to have a successful high school, college and graduate school experience).”

~Valle Dwight, parent of an alum

“I always remember Lydia coming home from school and saying, ‘school is fun and I’m learning.’ As a former public school teacher, this is how it should be.”

~Donna Prentiss, grandmother of graduate Lydia

Four Winds was the best place we ever could have found for our son. The 3 years he spent there helped him gain confidence and competence, they gave a quieter, less overwhelming middle school experience focused on allowing his own talents to emerge. He set his own academic pace and learned self-discipline and time management all under the expert guidance of some of the finest teachers in the Valley. The program includes much-needed time for art, music, physical activity, and the essential downtime kids need to refresh and reset. I wish we’d found it sooner so our other two kids could have gone there!”

Four Winds is innovative in its attention to each individual, and it is traditional in the quality and rigor of the education. It is the best of both worlds.”

~Ellen Rainville, mother of graduate David

“Four Winds isn’t a school for exceptional children. It is an exceptional school for children. Byron, Hud, and I couldn’t be happier with our experience at Four Winds.”

~Lili Dwight, former Four Winds parent

Four Winds is one of the best things that happened to my son. Our mornings shifted from dragging him out of bed and long faces and sighs, to a perfectly content teenager getting up and happily going to school. The smaller and quieter environment let him explore his interests, get to know his fellow students, and gain confidence. The staff was amazing and we could tell they knew him so well. I cannot rate this school highly enough.

Four Winds is a fabulous small private (but affordable!) middle school. On one hand, we’re a little heartbroken that it’s our last year, but on the other hand, this school has given my son the academic backbone, the executive function skills, and the self-confidence to move on to high school. Here is an abbreviated list of what I appreciate so much about their educational philosophy: 1) Students learn at their own pace. i.e. There is no such thing as ‘grade level’ math. Each kid works individually at their own speed and level. This means that a 13-year-old could be studying calculus, and their 13-year-old peer could still be working on multiplication tables. 2) Students learn to formulate their own academic goals every 2 weeks and then work on a plan to accomplish those goals. Great for executive function. 3) There is no bullying. Students are accepted by both peers and staff for exactly who they are (unless of course, they’re bullies. That’s not tolerated.) 4) There are group projects and collaboration (I think on a weekly basis). 5) There are comfortable places to work (couches, bean bags chairs, etc.) either solo or at community tables. There’s a quiet room for study. There’s a room with more activity happening… Each student picks where they are more comfortable working. 6) Social and civic skills are modeled and taught. They bring in an adolescent specialist (who is loved by students!) to teach middle school health. 7) The staff is thoughtful and respectful – and, they care. We are so appreciative of the support our son has gotten at Four Winds – it has been a game-changer in the trajectory of his life.”

“We have had only positive experiences during our two and a half years (so far) at Four Winds. It is set up specifically to encourage middle school-age students to grow and blossom in a safe and caring environment. Students work at their own pace, manage their own work, and are never pushed ahead or left behind. We felt that the middle school years were too important and have not once regretted our decision to send our son here.”

“My son went to Four Winds for three years and it was such an amazing thing for him. School went from something he dreaded to something he loved. The smaller and quieter environment gave him the time and the focus to discover interests, know his classmates, and find his confidence. The staff there is amazing and they knew him so well by the end and encouraged him every step of the way. I cannot say enough good things about this place.”

“Four Winds was the best 6th grade decision for us. Everything changed for the better.”

~Mother of a 6th grade student

Student and Alumni Testimonials

“I spent all of my middle school years at Four Winds. I deeply enjoyed this time, bonding with my peers and creating lasting relationships.”

~August, graduate, (alumni page)

Amazing school with amazing teachers!

~Katy Friesen, graduate, Facebook, 11/6/2014

“I spent 3 years at Four Winds, and I can say with confidence that my life would be worse if I went anywhere else. I was a very anxious kid, and I struggled greatly with interpersonal relationships, but this school helped me come out of my shell. My confidence was bolstered, and my academic and social success was bolstered along with it. Despite the non-traditional school structure, I was able to smoothly integrate into a more traditional school environment and achieve success there.”

~Tristan M, graduate, Private School Review, 10/20/2021

“Four Winds provides a nurturing learning environment that is perfect for children who don’t feel challenged in their current academic situation. You get to pursue your own academic interests with a lot of personalized help and direction. This was the place that I fell in love with Latin.”

~Wes Mason, graduate

This school is the best! It is small enough that you constantly get one on one time with the teacher, you go at your own pace for most of your work, everyone is really supportive, and there is no bullying. It is like one big family, mainly because it is such a tight-knit community.”

~Tevah R, graduate, 2018, (alumni page)

“When you come to Four Winds, you don’t just come to a school. You come to a place where everyone is welcome, accepted, and loved for being themselves.

~Lydia H, graduate, 2019, (alumni page)

“I like the opportunity for students to choose their own path.”

~Four Winds 7th grader in 2021

“I like how there’s built-in time to catch up if you get behind.”

~Four Winds graduate, 2022

“I like how the teachers are really nice, and I like the independent system where you can plan your own work.”

~Ez, Four Winds graduate, 2022

“I like that you can learn at your own pace, and that we have project time.”

~Ben S., graduate, 2022

“Four Winds allow students to thrive in a way larger academic programs could only dream of. The ‘bi-weekly goals’ model allows students to work at their own pace while gaining skills in time management that most students don’t gain until college. This model also allows gifted students to accelerate as fast as they’d like, while simultaneously supporting students who struggle academically by moving at a pace that doesn’t overwhelm them and lets them feel accomplished, whereas other pedagogical models can hinder their confidence. This is a school that feels academically enriching and emotionally safe for all students.”

“My experience at Four Winds heavily influenced my decision to pursue teaching as a career. At Four Winds, I learned to see myself in a new way, as a learner and as a person. Before, I had always seen myself as ‘stupid’ in certain areas, and Four Winds’ individualized approach put an end to that line of thinking! I hope to do the same for my future students. Four Winds transformed what would have been two miserable years of my life into two of the best years.”

~Lia Ashe-Simmer, graduate, (alumni page)

“Traditional school boxes people in. And guess what? People don’t grow in a box. Four Winds allows students to be who they are. And when you’re in junior high, that’s probably one of the most important things you need.”

~David R, graduate

“I began a math avoider, shifted to a math survivor, became a math performer, and passed GCC college math class in my eighth grade summer.”

~Sam Ness, graduate

“I like how you can plan out how you’d like to learn.”

~Ezra H, Four Winds 5th grader in 2021

“I like how I can plan how much work to do, so I don’t have too much.”

~Four Winds Student (2021)

“I really like practicing time management, because I know it will benefit me later in life.”’

~Vella, Four Winds graduate, 2022

“I like how it’s low stress.

~Lizzy, Four Winds graduate, 2022