By Sherry Hansen, Mackintosh Parent
Choosing Mackintosh was, without a doubt, the single best choice we ever made for our son. He was only able to attend for one year (we discovered the school had just moved to Boulder as he was entering 8th grade) and yet that short time was enough the hit the ‘reset ‘ button for him. He is now successfully making the transition to the pre IB and engineering programs at Centaurus, a step I could not have imagined when he began 8th grade.
My son did not flourish in the public school system, and each year he became less motivated and more unhappy. The system simply did not provide the care and attention he needed to thrive. I had always avoided labeling him as gifted, somehow hoping that he could fit in and do well without any special attention. How wrong I was, and by the time we discovered Mackintosh, we felt it was a last resort. When I first talked with Eric and Kate about applying, I worried that he might not be accepted because he was not at the top of his game. However, he was never treated with anything less than kindness, respect, and an understanding of his potential.
We were so thankful as his year unfolded because, for the first time, he felt understood as an individual in a school setting. His teachers challenged him to new levels academically, all the while nurturing him emotionally. If he had only become happier last year I would have been pleased, but he also came away with skills and confidence that are allowing him to be successful in high school. Even after graduating he feels the support of teachers and staff who want to stay in touch and are gratified that he is doing well. That kind of sincere care is not something one finds often.
I am now looking at Mackintosh for my daughter who will be in 6th grade next year and believe it will be an equally wonderful experience for her. We found a more appropriate elementary school for her, having learned from our earlier mistakes, and so she will be starting from a happier place. However, we think she would benefit as much as her brother did from the individual attention and academic nurturing. We want to her to thrive and grow in middle school, not just survive the experience.
My advice to prospective parents would be: If you are like me and have reservations about idea of a school designed for gifted students, suspend disbelief and at least give the school a chance. This might be the opportunity your child needs to flourish.