Okay, I admit the title is intended to be an eye catcher; but I know many Walker families are often asked why they pay tuition to send their children to an independent school in a county where public schools are considered a good option. While the question is completely reasonable, the answer is relatively straightforward – families that choose The Walker School are looking for a remarkably different educational experience.
How is Walker remarkably different? If you were to look at our school’s Core Values, you would find the answer articulated in the second, third and fourth core values:
- Student learning is the chief priority of the school.
- The school should provide a safe, supportive, and challenging environment for learning with clear goals and high expectations for student achievement.
- The school’s curriculum should develop creative and analytical thinking.
Anecdotally, if you were to talk to a new parent, you might hear this answer:
“My wife and I examined at least nine different school options for our daughter. Walker was the one school where the light was on behind the students’ eyes; in the other schools, it was as if the students were going through the motions.”
Or, this answer from a parent of three alumni:
“Like many parents, I am amazed at the difference in my children’s interests and personalities. So I am even more amazed at the ability of the Walker teachers to instill in all three of them a love of learning which has been the foundation for their success in college and beyond. Not only do my children attribute their success to what they learned at Walker, but they cherish the relationships they built, and continue to stay in touch with friends and faculty.”
Perhaps, you believe that statistical evidence provides the answer. These facts provide great comfort:
- Walker offers 26 Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings and Walker students average taking between five and six AP courses during their educational career at Walker – the highest average in the county in each of the last two years (Based on the Washington Post’s Challenge Index)
- Walker also boasts a five-year average SAT score of 1801 and an average ACT score of 27 – each the highest among both public and private schools in Cobb County.
- Walker’s award-winning college counseling office partners with families the second a student steps foot in our Upper School, ensuring that 100% of Walker’s graduates find the four-year college or university that is his or her “best fit.”
For the overwhelming majority of Walker families, the reason is Walker’s faculty. A Lower School parent put it in these terms when writing their son’s science teacher this month, “Thanks for the positive influence you are having on Ian’s love of learning and freedom to always wonder and ask “how/why.” We love watching his little gears turning.” Among independent (private) schools in the metro area, Walker maintains the highest percentage of experienced teachers (more than 16 years teaching experience) and the smallest percentage of teachers with less than six years experience (based on NAIS survey data).
The truth is that there are many reasons a family invests in a Walker education. In an educational culture where, all too often, the bar is lowered so that everyone can get over it, Walker clearly goes against the grain. Here, teachers hold the bar high and work diligently with students who aspire to clear the bar and then some. As a result, Walker graduates matriculate to college with a level of self-confidence that comes from being in a unique educational environment that is both nurturing and challenging. Walker is remarkably different.