Crowden music school?

Hello neighbors,

I understand Crowden had major issues a few years ago with the firing of the principal, prompting teachers/students leaving etc. I also understand that there has been attempts to rebuild of the school since. My child is interested in music and we thought of Crowden but I have concerns given the current state (very small enrollment) of the school and particularly the academics aspect and new faculty.  If there are current parents or recent parents who has/had any experience, could you share, either on this forum or privately?

Thanks very much.

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RE: Crowden music school? ()

My son is going to Crowden for 6th grade. He absolutely loves it. The academics are strong and the small class size is excellent. The students are kind and bright. The teachers are all caring and personable. We don't know exactly how the school was before but he did attend camps there. It seems like a bit smaller population. It is a wonderful school.

RE: Crowden music school? ()

Hi, I'm the parent of a 5th grader who has been going there since 3rd grade.  They love Crowden, and so do we.  Great community and great teachers.  I encourage you to check it out!



RE: Crowden music school? ()

I have two very happy kids at Crowden. One in 7th grade and one in 5th. Both have been there for three years now and have received an excellent education.

It is true that the outgoing executive director made a number of regrettable decisions in 2021. Several families left because of her. We and other parents decided to stay and get more involved. Changes have been made and the new leadership team is wonderful. The musical directory is a force of nature and adored by our children. The academic director is caring, competent and extremely hard working.

My family is very glad that we are part of the Crowden school. It is a magical place full of learning and music!

RE: Crowden music school? ()

My daughter started at Crowden this year in 7th grade. She has had very little previous experience with violin (only a few months of community lessons) and she was a bit behind academically.  In two months since she started, she has been making more progress in math and reading than she made in an entire year of 6th grade. She caught up to her grade level and is exceeding it in both math and science.  The small class size allows teachers to pay individual attention to all kids. As for the music part, because she is a beginner, she practices with kids of the same level. It doesn't bother her a bit and the entire music faculty is very supportive. 

We had the same concerns when we started, but honestly, I think the school learned its lesson and took measures to be much more inclusive and oriented towards students' socioemotional learning.  My kid was very stressed at her previous school, but now she is really thriving. What I love the most about Crowden is that their students appreciate knowledge for its intrinsic value and not because they need to get a grade.  

RE: Crowden music school? ()

I would highly recommend Crowden. Yes, the school has been through a rough patch, but personnel changes in the schools administration, together with a real desire to correct past missteps and concerted effort to make real change, is resulting in a renewed (and renovated) version of Anne Crowden's commitments to kids learning and playing together. The problems that occurred last year sprung from disharmony between the certain members of staff/faculty and the executive branch rather than the day-to-day of school life. The specific events that triggered the crisis were very much confined to one year of the school. Our child is in the lower school and so was pretty isolated from the fallout. Things seem to have settled down. So, what is there to recommend? The school prides itself, and the evidence bears this out, on providing excellent academics, buttressed by a really thorough-going music performance education. Ensemble playing and ensemble classroom learning are core aspects of its distinct offering. Kids have technique and ensemble classes every day, and are really challenged by the anticipation of several concerts throughout the year. The academic teaching is generally excellent, particularly in the lower grades. By the way, only 4% of students who pass through Crowden end up becoming professional musicians (alumni go on to study a range of subjects at college), but saying that, you'll be really quite amazed at the standard of the musicians that graduate from Crowden. There's quite a bit of homework and practice, so you'd need to be prepared for that. Let me know if you'd like a chat about it all. 

RE: Crowden music school? ()

Crowden is doing well. My son is there now and new students are enrolling in several different grades throughout the year. The parents are involved, the faculty is passionate, and the kids are engaged in school. Even in the smallest classes, the students have a great experience because they work with students across several grades.

As for academics, I feel like Crowden has offered the best education of any school my son has attended. The smaller class sizes have meant that the teachers have been able to focus on each students' interests and capabilities. 

RE: Crowden music school? ()

Our family has enjoyed more than a decade (cumulative) of schooling at Crowden. The music opportunities woven into the school day are second to none. Our eldest child graduated 8th grade essentially a whole year ahead of their BUSD peers in both Math and Sciences and the grounding in “meta cognition” at the 3rd & 4th grade is a fabulous foundation for learning with agency.

Starting each day with 2 hours of world class music instruction & chamber ensemble is such a lifelong gift. The class sizes are small and while we’d wish for a more extensive social cohort, the staff’s attention & connection to each child at the school is outstanding. School counselor is also an asset for families to stay connected with their child’s social / emotional development.

We love the school and our children do, too.

RE: Crowden music school? ()

We enrolled our daughter in 3rd grade at Crowden last January. What a special place! We didn’t know the old Crowden, but what we’ve seen is a school committed to self-reflection and continuous improvement, using the “crisis” as an opportunity to make the school better, more inclusive, more open, more responsive, more communicative, etc. 

Our daughter has been absolutely thriving at Crowden. She is so happy… all the kids seem happy. She’s learning so much, not only musically and academically but also socially and emotionally. She’s always singing or humming. Crowden is a special place and unique in the country. If your child loves music and can handle some academic rigor, and you have the opportunity to send them to Crowden, I don’t think you’d regret it. We were uncertain at first, but after 3 days of her being there, it was so obviously the right decision, we’ve never looked back.