Individual, Joyful, Creative: The Andreoli-Culver Family's Shipley Story

Kathryn Smith
Katie Culver works in education. When it came time to look for a school for her own children, Collin ’23, Mae ’25 and Tanner ’28 Andreoli, she knew exactly what she wanted. “I had heard that Shipley was a progressive school and I had been working in the city studying progressive schools,” she says. “When we visited, we loved everything about it.” The family was particularly taken with the Middle School. “We loved the space! There was natural light and creativity everywhere. There were beautiful collages on the wall that have to do with values and identity. I’m very involved in race and equity work, and I was thrilled that Shipley had committed to that.”
Shipley’s emphasis on academic rigor with support was particularly appealing. “Shipley’s academics are unparalleled and the teachers are the heart of it. They are qualified, personable, and hard-working. Both of my kids are so different and they both thrive in the environment,” says Katie. She particularly appreciates the creative nature of the assignments. “Everything is so interactive. In STEAM classes they get to use the Maker Space. It’s not just one-size-fits-all. That’s definitely the major reason why we chose private over public.”
Katie is also a huge fan of Shipley’s advisory program. “I love the model – you need to have a small group of kids who all connect with one adult. My children have their ‘person.’ In the beginning of the year, they each sat with their advisory for lunch. Shipley builds community that way. For new kids coming in, it’s so key.”
Each sporting season during middle school, students rotate through the various sporting options before they get to choose where they’d like to focus. “All of the coaches are terrific,” says Katie. “They make the kids feel comfortable and welcome. You really feel like you’re part of the family there.”
“I guess I just keep going back to this,” says Katie. “The learning is rigorous, creative, hands-on, joyful, and fun in the middle school. Simply put, it feels magical.”
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.