When we found Rainard in 2001, it was a small and simple school which allowed our older son to be with other intellectually advanced students who were curious and interested in learning new things. Our son was quiet and soft-spoken. After four years, he grew into a confident child who understood his capabilities and limitations. Rainard allowed him to be comfortable with who he was and to believe that he could take on whatever challenges he encountered. We think this school contributed a lot to who and where he is today.
When we returned to Rainard in 2011 with our younger son, we found the same school—only this time it was more organized, more structured, and possessed the sought-after certifications. It still provided an environment that allows students to experience the joy of learning and to be around other students who enjoy learning. Students are challenged. Learning becomes a positive experience that ends up being with them throughout their lives as students. I think this is the most important aspect of the Rainard experience. Rainard creates and establishes a solid foundation during the early years.
The day our child visited Rainard was like a gift from heaven. The next morning as he headed back to his school, he said, “I wish I could build a time machine so that I could make today yesterday and go back to Rainard.” At Rainard, our happy child is back. We see the joy of learning in his eyes that had faded away. He loves school now. His complaints of stomach aches vanished and he has made good friends. He is challanged intellectually, participating in peer groups and is thriving!
Every day, he talks nonstop about his school day, the projects they are working on and what new work he has been assigned by his teacher. We cannot say enough positive things about Rainard!
Two of our children enjoyed several years at Rainard. Their stories are very different:
Our daughter is bright but also has severe dyslexia. At the end of elementary school, she joined Rainard. Her middle school years at Rainard revived her curiosity and interest in learning that had been plummeting in the public school environment. The relaxed atmosphere coupled with authentic, in-depth learning and emphasis on both big concepts and details was a truly life-changing experience!
For our son, Rainard was both flexible and welcoming. The connection to the outdoor environment on campus was an important feature of the school for him, as were projects and field trips. In general, the hands-on learning was fantastic! To make it all complete, he started computer programming under the enthusiastic leadership of a high school teacher and is now pursuing a career in programming.
Through a very fortunate series of events, our child ended up at Rainard. What a difference. Our son knows everyone in his class; he can name all their interests and, in return, they “get” him. They sing songs about the periodic table. He is encouraged to do science experiments at home and present his work to the class. He has gone from tolerating writing in his journal to almost enjoying it. He now has playdates!
The teachers at Rainard are remarkable. They understand these students, know how to keep them engaged and make learning fun—and they don’t limit the depth of the topics, which has led to some fascinating dinner conversations for our family. I have to keep my iPad close by so I can fact-check.
Rainard is the right place for us. The small classes and character of the school encourage daily contact with our daughters’ excellent and caring teachers. Any classroom or educational issues are dealt with promptly; goals can be made and adjusted easily this way. The administration is very open and interested in dialogue—there is no bureaucracy, tenure problems, or red tape. We feel the parents are true partners with the school. Very refreshing.
Our daughters have been high-performers and we feel we could send them to any public or private school in Houston. We chose Rainard. Other schools may promise differentiated curriculum for the gifted student, but Rainard actually delivers. Our daughters wake up eager to go and are sorry to have the summer off!”
As a former public school teacher for gifted children I never thought I would send my child to a private school. Yet, the experience of having my own highly gifted child changed everything I thought to be true about education. As a teacher, I knew gifted children were sensitive. Yet as a parent, I saw this sensitivity permeate through all aspects of my child’s life. I knew that the chaotic environment of a large school would be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, so I sought an alternative environment.
The peaceful natural environment of Rainard is calming and my child thrives with the unstructured outdoor time that is allowed. My child is very happy at school — so much so that he loathes summer break because he longs to be back at Rainard. I don’t think this would be true elsewhere.