Bowman International School
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I would love to hear from anyone who has had experience with the Bowman International School in Palo Alto, CA. My child is in a Montessori in Berkeley, but we are considering a move to Palo Alto. Specifically, are all the parents at the school full-time working parents at tech companies? Or is that just one subset? What does the culture of the school feel like? On the spectrum of Montessori schools, does the school strictly or loosely put the philosophy into practice? Do most kids go year round or what percentage choose to take a summer vacation? How do the upper classrooms compare with the lower in numbers and in feel? Montessori Parent
We cannot recommend Bowman for many reasons which is difficult to express here while trying to follow the posting rules.
While there are many 'international' families they tend to be white and there were no black or hispanic (Mexican) families at the school durning our years there.
Also kids come from the entire Peninsula so your children may never see their friends outside of school. We don't remember any kids who actually lived in Palo Alto when we were there. Probably because if you can afford to live in Palo Alto your kids go to Palo Alto schools. Bowman is not even known to many people in Palo Alto. We kept being asked what city the school was in by friends in Palo Alto.
On the other hand, you can drop your kids off at 7:30 and don't have to pick them up until 6pm. You can take vacation any time you want and never have to pay for summer camp again. Most parents are nice at drop off and pick up, but since most are working parents, you don't tend to make friends or see them outside of school activities. These perks are why many tech and international parents send their kids to Bowman.
Just as an aside, Palo Alto is not Berkeley. I lived in both. Palo Alto is not a typical college town. It tends to be a homogenous, often conservative community with few people of color, and is closely tied to Stanford which is great if you have those connections. Their schools, through a lawsuit, bus kids in from East Palo Alto, and they aren't always warmly welcomed. It is a high-income community with some people who could afford to live in Atherton or Woodside but stay for the schools. It has highly rated public schools with many people vying to get their kids into Stanford or Ivy league universities where UC is considered third rate and the fall-back plan (I kid you not). Also because people move in for the schools, there is often a high turn-over in homes, because once the kids graduate, many leave. So you'll always be able to sell her house for more but you'll also pay more for a house when you buy. I would suggest that if you are interested in living there you should check out Palo Alto Online and read the articles and especially the comments. There used to be a 'mothers' group similar to BPN that required a paid membership to get info, which was a good resource for information. It may still exist and may have info on Bowman and other schools as well. Happy Back in the East Bay