Positives-Majority of the teachers are great, our children have been happy there and the community is great. Negatives-Resources available originally are no longer there, for example an art teacher. The school is behind in implementing common core and the math program is substandard. This will negatively impact those students who will move on to a public school, except for the exceptionally bright ones or those whose parents can afford private school tuition and tutoring. There is a lack of directional leadership. Parents who try to voice concerns end up leaving out of frustration. There has been a great turnover of staff recently as well as families not returning this fall. It is not surprising that parents are unaware of the deficiencies until later grades. Our child received straight A s and a 99% overall in testing at Courtyard. Same child struggles to barely maintain a B average in middle school, as have other peers from Courtyard that are unable to afford tutoring or get additional educational support at home. Summary: Great teachers if they can keep them and poor leadership with no future of improvement unless changes are made. Small school that keeps getting smaller...
We were at Courtyard for 6 years, and your kids will love it. But, from a parent perspective, save your money and get a nanny. After being here, you will probably need a tutor anyway or need to catch your children up due to the upswing of children with disruptive behaviors in the class. It takes a while for the lack of leadership and politics to show because it's seemingly a nice community. However, if you look at the turnover rate, you are paying for daycare. The longer you are there and if you start to question the administration of why your class had three teachers in one year, or why is your child doing math learned the previous year, or why you cannot receive your child's homework back in a timely manner, you hit a brick wall. We received homework from October in March. My child's report card was signed by three different teachers. After 6 years, our child cannot conjugate simple Spanish verbs - they have had four Spanish teachers over this time span. Parents expect more as their kids age and we weren't seeing progression. We were willing to 'wait it out' but after looking at the price and what we were getting, we hired a nanny and took a family trip.
Why does it take 6 years to come to the conclusion that this school is lacking? It seems to me to have an amazing staff and board. The students seem happy and are a community. I really would like to know what the problem is?
Fifth grade was the most disappointing of the seven years we have been at the school. By the time you realize the education at Courtyard is so lacking, it's too late. You can't get those years back for your children. Most parent eventually come to this realization. Next year's sixth grade class will have at most nine. The class would hold 24. It's a small class not by design, but because so many parents "get it" by the sixth grade and leave. If you are still seriously considering this school, ask to see the complete parent surveys. Ask to see the complete teacher surveys. You can really see the "Courtyard difference." I wish we could get some of the time back, but we can't.
As the parent of a Courtyard alumnus, I continue to be grateful for the unique educational and social experience this school provided for our son and prepared him well for his academic and social life beyond Courtyard. While the school participates in standardized testing, we saw no evidence of teachers teaching to the test. Our bright and very energetic child enthusiastically welcomed every day at Courtyard, asking to arrive earlier and wanting to stay late to play with his friends and participate in the after-school clubs. This community of teachers, administration and Extended Day staff helped to shape his character through the school s character education curriculum and in their fostering of mutual respect as a means of addressing behavioral issues. While the facilities at Courtyard have continued to improve, its greatest asset is perhaps its staff of uniquely committed teachers who all seem to embrace different learning styles and the belief that all students deserve an engaging educational experience and the support to reach their potential. Our alumni are flourishing and attribute their success to the preparation they received from their Courtyard experience.
Would I send my child there again? Probably not. The school seems to be run by a select few who have no intention of hearing what others have to say. The math and science program are minimal at best, and I have found that most students who struggle at math go out and hire a tutor. The administration is unresponsive to parents who have questions that they can't seem to answer. I also haven't seen any leadership by the principal. Teachers seemed to be isolated and doing there own thing with little academic continuity between the classes.
Courtyard is a small school with a wonderful learning environment that is safe, creative, attentive and academically challenging and diverse. The single greatest attribute are the teachers all of whom are exceptional, creative, engaged and wonderfully dedicated to the students and to the learning process. Courtyard prides itself on developing scholars who can think, communicate, learn and explore. The school does not focus on test taking it focusses on learning, exploration and creativity. The parents at Courtyard are wonderful, intelligent, open minded and involved and this creates a sense of community that is truly exceptional. For example, we know and interact socially with nearly all of the parents in my daughters grade, fellow parents help each other out whenever it is needed from a late pickup to a soccer team run, to homework clubs and shared projects. Courtyard is way more than a school it is a community of learning.
Courtyard continues to be a great school for my daughter. The small class sizes, academic success rates and community spirit are complimented by a well rounded curriculum (music, phy ed, drama and lots of art projects). I don't know how such a small school is able to accomplish all that....but we are happy to be a part of it.
I'm a proud parent of a Cougar. I'm a bit surprised to see some of the posting by parents being critical of staff. We got off to a bit of a rocky start when we came in 3rd grade however Mr. Molnar, Ms. Kristi and Ms. Krause are HUGE advocates of ALL of our children. Communication is key and we are fully engaged in school. Mr. Molnar makes the hard decisions and does NOT allow the parents to dictate how the school is run - contrary to previous posts. In my opinion the entire team exceeds our expectations. We highly recommend Courtyard to any family that wants a holistic education for their child. We may be a private school, but we're not snooty. Our personal experience is that Mr. Molnar demonstrates fair and consistent consequences. Trust me, we've gotten called into the principal's office more than once. Mr. Molnar treats the child with respect and uses the experience as a teachable moment and does not just "brush it off". I can assure you that he takes all issues serious. He handles them in a mature, professional and nurturing manner. Regarding diversity - ridiculously diverse, people just need to open their minds. It is not just the color of your skin.Go Cougars!
Courtyard has been a great place so far for our child. The teachers are very friendly as well as the edc leader and staff. We are happy with all the extra curricular actitvities that the school offers, things that our previous school did not have. The school is a little cluttered right know but that seems to be because they are building a kitchen and re-doing the gym. The principal is always available when we have questions or even just comments, And the EDC leader takes time to make sure our child is always taken care of and lets us know of any minor issue. We feel very comfortable with leaving our child there. But like any school there are a few cliques. And its not the children or the staff who have these cliques, it seems to be the same 5 or 6 parents that try to pull you into a negative conversation about this or that. But the majority of the parents are happy and friendly and support this great school. we are excited for the new changes to the campus and like i said the most important factor for us is that our child is safe and happy
You will pay for it...and so will your child. Two major weaknesses of Courtyard are math and accountability. We (and many other families) have approached the administration numerous times about the problems with third grade math. We had to obtain outside tutoring, like others, just to bring our child to grade-level. When confronted, it was suggested that there was a problem with our child specifically. The administration has persisted to deny there are any problems; the teacher is still not course-corrected. All the while, we re out more money, and our child is left defeated and frustrated. But, the math just doesn t add up: the standardized test scores (across and within grades) show the disparities and illuminate the curriculum weaknesses. Also, when we taught our child what should have been taught (and that we paid for), our child now is performing at and above grade-level, despite the actions of Courtyard.
Courtyard is a great community and a great school. This is a small school with an amazing community spirit. Students are treated individually and my experience with teachers (6 different teachers over 5+ years) is that they are all dedicated, competent and great educators. Kids get amazing field trip experiences and the before/after care has a wide range of good programs with great staff. We stay -- and support the school -- because of the strong programs, caring leadership, safe environment and supportive community. The campus is making some much needed investments in the physical facilities, but the physical enviornment is not why we keep our kids at Courtyard.
As a parent of a former student and after reading over recent comments, I think the issue for Courtyard is that it excels in some areas--great teachers and EDC staff, small class size allowing for individual attention, superior parent involvement, etc.--but falls far short in other areas that aren't obvious to all students and their families. Unless you are a family that had experienced issues with bullying, for example, (as we did) it is easy to assume all is wonderful at this school. But one way a great school distinguishes itself from a merely good school is how it responds to issues and conflicts and the steps it takes to resolve them. If it doesn't seriously acknowledge that a problem exists, or if it only offers lip service in addressing the problem, it will never evolve to be a great school. I don't disagree with comments that tout Courtyard's excellence in some areas, but a truly fair assessment must include recognition of its shortcomings. It would serve Courtyard well to reexamine how it addresses and resolves concerns/problems so that parents and students who don't have the mainstream Courtyard experience aren't marginalized.
Our children have attended Courtyard for 6 years, combined, and it has definitely been a positive experience. We love the teaching and EDC staff. The teachers are very knowledgeable and are encouraged to go above and beyond the basic standards curriculum, which they do! We cannot say enough good things about the quality of field trip choices and preparation, and the inclusion of science, history, foreign language and art and performing art as part of the school day. Our children have done very well in advanced programs in public schools, and we think Courtyard prepared them quite well to succeed. Most of their classmates are also in these programs. Our children feel safe at Courtyard, and they can talk to the principal and to the other staff without afraid. We like seeing the building improvements this year. The principal seems to do quite a lot to continue improving the school. The teachers have well equipped classrooms with new technology tools, the buildings have had lots of improvements, and we see him interacting with students, parents and staff every time we go to the school. This school has a strong sense of community and happy students. It is a great place to be!
Would I do it again? Probably not. We've had two children here over multiple grades, & are looking to leave. Private, decent scores....we thought: How could we go wrong? On the up side: half the faculty are solid professionals; convenient before/after care; small classes; centrally located. On the down side: management struggles to keep the other half of the faculty well-supervised and accountable to chronic problems and poor performance; board appears more interested to maintain status quo for a select few; campus climate is less inclusive & welcoming of diversity than talked about; parental involvement is welcomed when it fits into the mainstream agenda. It is really unfortunate that this is the case, when the school could be so much more. We have had this echoed numerous times in conversation with other parents who are also in the minority. After all the advocacy, dismissed offers to volunteer, chastisement by parents of the mainstream, I have been thinking: Is it worth it? If the school produces average results & an average experience, why not attend (any) public school and hire a private tutor & nanny for the money we pay? My time, money, energy, & care could be better used.
After being a Courtyard parent for 6 years, I believed that the smaller class sizes simply afforded our students more attention with regard to their questions during classroom lessons. Recently, we were delighted when our son reported that his teacher took him aside to discuss his tendency to succumb to distractions. Rather than coming down on him in a punitive way, his teacher calmly asked him to simply consider during that moment when the view outside the window seems so inviting, whether it is ultimately worth it to succumb to the distraction if one considers how much one's parents have invested in this education and whether it is worth it to him, given how hard he works at school, to allow himself to be distracted. I am amazed by the work ethic of a teacher who cares enough to have this discussion with a student who will ultimately earn mostly A's and a few B's and does not otherwise disrupt the class. Most of all we are delighted that we got this account from our son, who evidently got the message.
As a parent of a former Courtyard student, I echo previous comments regarding bullying at this school. While the teachers were exceptional, the administration had a blind spot when it came to bullying. There appeared to be no specific plan for intervention and appropriate consequences and I agree with the September 15, 2012, comment that certain students were favored over others, thus making efforts to address bullying challenging. And as may be the case at many private schools, some parents felt that their students were so special that appropriate consequences should not apply to their students....and it seemed that the Principal agreed. Overall, there are many benefits and advantages to this school, but our own experiences with bullying left us so disheartened that I don't recommend this school to others when asked.
All of my children have attended schools that require parent participation, which is important to me, so I'd accept nothing less. Most Courtyard parents go above and beyond the required volunteer time. Field trips are also important to me and Courtyard provides several field trips during the year with transportation (busses) provided for most. The before and after school care is exceptional, not your typical program with high school-age employees that come and go and don't know the kids. We feel safe at Courtyard; the campus is gated and locked at all times. The school is conveniently located in midtown. Most of the faculty and staff are hard-working and dedicated and many have been at Courtyard for many years. I feel my child, who like most children, excels in some areas and is more average in others, is learning at a good pace and enjoys Courtyard. I have concerns about being ready for a transition to a public or private middle/high school. Will math skills be adequate? I think the school would benefit from a math tutor/lab. Art and science could use a boost with more school wide activities in these areas. Performing arts also needs improvement; time and quality are lacking.
BULLYING. Some of the teachers like the Performing Arts teacher favored some specific kids. These kids never got in trouble. When these kids were bullying others they never got in trouble because they would always go to the performing arts teacher and say it was the other kids. This was one example from last year. I hope this year it gets better.
I agree with a previous poster that bullying was overlooked. The administration appeared to be more concerned with appeasing overbearing parents than advocating anti-bullying measures. I too expected more--much, much more-- from a private school that prides itself on its inclusiveness and fostering tolerance and respect within its student body.
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