About Us

Birchwood School of Hawken is a preschool through eighth grade private, independent school for students of all abilities. Its focus is academic. Birchwood provides a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes habits of industry within small classrooms that offer individual attention to each student. In addition, Birchwood provides programs for gifted and profoundly gifted students that are endorsed by the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. Parents exploring education options for their children will want to be familiar with the five distinguishing features that make Birchwood School of Hawken unique in Northeast Ohio.

Highest Academic Standards for Primary, Elementary and Middle Schools

At Birchwood parents will find academic standards that are benchmarked at state, national and, where appropriate, international levels. The impact on student achievement is evident. Our students consistently gain local, state and national recognition for their academic achievements. In addition, our graduates are considered some of the “best prepared” among elite high schools in Greater Cleveland. Our school environment nurtures, supports and honors high academic achievement. At Birchwood, it is “cool” to study hard and excel.

Exceptional Education for Gifted Learners

High academic standards extend to gifted students. For almost 30 years Birchwood has been working with this special population to meet their cognitive, affective and social needs. While some schools offer “gifted” programs, Birchwood relies on teaching specialists in each subject at all grade levels so that gifted learners may advance as far their intellect and interest allow. There are no academic ceilings at Birchwood. Hence, we do not merely implement a gifted program, we develop talent. Such a challenging and rigorous environment simultaneously develops sturdy work habits and productive attitudes toward academics enabling gifted learners to reach their highest potential.

Systematic Approach to Teaching and Training the Habits of Industry

Knowing that work habits and achievement ethics are just as important to success as a strong intellect, Birchwood has developed a systematic approach to teaching and training good habits. We recognize that many schools teach children about good character. But very few have a detailed training program that compliments teaching and empowers lessons so that they become habits. The effort runs throughout grade levels and is reinforced with special classes and supplementary programs that focus specifically on the development of good habits.

Individual Attention from Subject Specialists

At Birchwood individual attention has unique meaning. Since we departmentalize beginning in the first grade, our teachers are responsible for only one subject (sometimes two in the primary grades) and they teach that subject at several grade levels. Consequently individual attention from these specialists not only meets affective needs, but their personal efforts translate into robust, content-specific, timely guidance and instruction for each student.

A Globally Diverse Environment

A day at Birchwood is like a day at the United Nations. Our community is one of the most diverse in Northeast Ohio. Seventy percent of our students are children of immigrants from around the world. Each day our students live and study with Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans, South Americans and Americans of all races. Their daily experience enables them to connect real people – their friends and classmates – to religious designations like Hindu, Moslem, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox. They learn about diversity and multiculturalism, and they discover, embrace and learn to appreciate the common threads in all humanity.

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“Birchwood is a school that trains ordinary kids to be great people.”

Pheby Liu –
2013 Birchwood Graduate