School Profile: Cedarwood School

Note: to complete this profile Elise spoke with both the school President, Kathy LeBlanc and the Admissions Director, Cindy Braud. You will see both of their responses to some questions below.

Location: 607 Heavens Drive, Mandeville, LA  70471

Contact Info: Phone Number: 985-845-7111  

President: Kathryn S. LeBlanc  – kleblanc@cedarwoodschool.com 

Admissions: Cindy Braud – cbraud@cedarwoodschool.com

Website: www.cedarwoodschool.com

Grades/Ages of Students: Preschool Infants – 7th Grade

Public or Private? Private

Tuition Info: From $8,000-$9,600  (For full time positions) 

Religious Affiliation: Non-denominational

Student/Teacher Ratio: Varies for every age and grade   

School Mission: Cedarwood School is a place where children experience the joy of learning. 

Educational Philosophy?

The primary purpose of Cedarwood School is to promote academic excellence in education and to instill a love of learning in each individual child. Cedarwood School provides a nurturing, positive, child-centered environment that fosters self-confidence and challenges learning, growth, creativity, and personal achievement. This is accomplished by attending to the academic, social, and emotional needs of each student through involvement in the community. Continuous commitment to innovative programs is a hallmark of Cedarwood School. No two children are exactly alike. Individual differences among students are respected and valued at Cedarwood because we understand that both children and adults have a multiplicity of learning styles. Faculty members teach to a variety of levels and use many different techniques to create a classroom environment that promotes success for all kinds of learners. At every level, our academic and social programs are carefully crafted to take advantage of children’s natural strengths and interests during the many developmental stages that span the Cedarwood years.

What sets your school apart?

Kathy LeBlanc: Our small school is our strength. We can do our best job as a small school because the teachers can individualize curriculum, get to know students personally and evaluate their needs on an individual basis.  We are able to respond immediately when something happens or something is needed.  When parents asked for a chess club based on interest inventory sent to them, Cedarwood was able to respond quickly. Teachers also have academic independence which allows them to meet the needs of students that day, that week, and that year. If a child is reading above their grade level, the teachers will facilitate that.   

Cindy Braud:  We are different in the admissions process because it is not just about filling seats. The question we ask is whether your child will be successful in that class with those students in that classroom with that teacher and environment.  We want to make sure every student’s needs are met and optimized in the classroom.  If we can’t answer that question with a yes, we can’t offer that child a spot. We don’t gamble on kids and we cannot be all things to all people.  

The curriculum is not taught in a box and while Cedarwood brings the basic Louisiana state curriculum, we expand it if a student is more advanced or learns a different way. We take into account the child’s learning style and perform which is also why assessments on a regular basis to determine those levels.  

Kathy LeBlanc: Academic independence means that we use the Louisiana minimum standards as a guide to assure that students are achieving the minimum standards, but also allows our students to go well beyond. If a 4th grade student is ready for 5th grade math, they will be allowed to do it. Cedarwood allows children to progress at their rate and is committed to teaching the whole child. 

Cedarwood is state approved and licensed and nationally accredited by COGNIA for parents and for the professionals that work there.  

What extracurricular activities exist for students?

During the school day as part of the regular curriculum, Cedarwood has extracurricular enrichment programs including art, music, physical education, Spanish, and Innovation Lab (STEM) to pique interest at an early age. There are also optional after school programs called Snapper Specials which change from quarter to quarter depending on interest. In 2021-2022, Cedarwood offered drama, robotics club, robotics team, chess club, swimming, soccer shots, Snappers on the run, art club, basketball clinic, Tots and Pots Cooking, Wilderness Club, Pep Squad, Girls on the run and organic soap making. Many of these choices are based on parental interest as provided in annual surveys.  

What advice do you have for parents looking for a school for their child?

Kathy LeBlanc: Shop around and bring your child with you because children see things that parents don’t and feel things that parents don’t. It is very important for the child to take a look at where they may be going to school and Cedarwood is truly a child’s place. Also, parents should not expect school to look like it did when they were a child because schools have changed.  

Cindy Braud: Visiting the school during the school day is a necessity because it gives you a sense of the community.  Cedarwood also encourages a sense of belonging where parents want to go to a school where there is a support group and network. It is also important for parents  to ask questions even after school starts.   

Describe your admissions process:

First, parents are able to inquire through the website.  From that inquiry, Ms. Braud will invite the parents to an information session or for a private tour.  Applications can be made before or after the tour. Once a parent has applied for their child, a student visit will be set up for the child based on their age and grade.  Pre-school students will have a one-hour play visit.  Kindergarten children will have a half-day visit in a pre-K class and students in first through seventh grade will spend a whole day in the class.  This is a great opportunity for students to try us on and to see how they fit.  Cedarwood will conduct some assessments in the older grades while the children are there.  Administrators will also observe the child to make sure they know what the child needs and the teacher will provide a written summary to them.  Cedarwood will request records from the child’s previous school in the elementary grades and there is an entrance test for kindergarten through second grade.  Once everything is compiled, the administration will determine if the child will be successful in the class the next year if there is space available.  If the administration does not feel that they can meet the needs of that student, they will be honest and advise the parents.  

Parent’s Perspective

My daughter has been going to Cedarwood for the past two years (second and third grade) and I found myself nodding in agreement with all that Ms. Braud and Ms. LeBlanc said about Cedarwood.  In both years, my daughter has been carefully monitored for progress and gently encouraged to push her boundaries by caring and extremely competent teachers.  She has grown as a reader and as an overall student.  Her teachers have recognized her strengths and celebrated them while also helping her to improve on her weaknesses.  She has particularly enjoyed the Innovation Lab (as evidenced by the elaborate pulley system she installed in her closet) and routinely comes home with beautiful works of art that she has created.  She has made many friends and has really just grown so much in the short time she has been there. 

I remember very well that I was given the same information by Ms. Braud when I went to enroll her in second grade that they would be mindful to see if Cedarwood would be a good fit for my child and vice versa.  I appreciated the clarity and honesty with which the process was conducted and really felt that they had done their homework in deciding whether they could best serve the needs of my child.  

In the time that she has been there, the administration has been open and accommodating with information and her teachers have been incredibly helpful and honest in her progress.  I have always had the impression that everyone is committed to helping my daughter succeed and kept me in the loop on how they plan to do that.  She has done beautifully and I know that even with just two years, Cedarwood has helped to make her the amazing person she is today. 

This profile is provided as a service to our readers. We aim to profile most schools in our area. Think yours should be next? Email aimee@northshoreparent.com

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