This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted August 29, 2014
- a parent
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
Our mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at
school, at home and in their community. We are a national non-profit with offices and programs
in Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.