This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted November 01, 2014
- a parent
We have been overly pleased with the community at Courtyard. The quality of the teaching staff including the after school staff are excellent. It is a loving environment where my child loves going to school everyday and is coming home with a true love of learning, reading and constant self research and exploration. Each year I am enamored by the way the teachers adapt to the class and are able to teach in various styles by not being dictated by workbook sheets and mandatory pacing to teach to a test. Communication from the teachers have helped us know more about how my child interacts in class and what my child needs to do to be successful. I recommend Courtyard to many parents. I recruited over 5 families this year for various grades and they have been extremely happy. It is a great place for those looking at an education for the whole child. Courtyard offers many field trips that tie into lessons and also Chinese classes, Cooking Club, Piano, Lego Club, Chess Clubs, singing classes and much more - all on campus.
Courtyard is a private school run by parents. The board of directors are all parents some with educational background, many with no educational or business experience unfortunately. Courtyard does *really well* at the social side of a school, especially for parents. The size of the school makes it feel like a family. The kids will be very tight together. But it s not a social club, it s a school. The reality is the school is at best educationally average when compared to other private schools, and below many of the best performing public schools. The school is not accredited. There are certainly some fantastic teachers and like most schools some bad, but overall each teacher is an island. Cohesiveness between teachers and grades appears to be missing, and administration unable to solve this. Without strong leadership, the private school money spent at Courtyard is questionable. Your adult experience will be great, your child s experience will be as good as other schools, but the real question is will the average child accelerate in learning - not sure.
We have been wonderfully happy with Courtyard it has excellent academics and a community of learning and support that is unrivaled in Sacramento. Courtyard's greatest strength is it ability to nurture the student to fully realize their potential. With small classes, great teachers and a community of engaged parents, my child is excelling and, loving her school. To address some of the negative comments posted about Courtyard recently, yes we had some personality conflicts and related challenges last year and yes the school has responded vigorously to the majority of those challenges and is addressing the remainder with a strong action plan. Yes we conducted a survey last year and here are the key results: 96 percent agreed with the statements that (1) My child enjoys school, (2) I value the student community, and (3) My child feels safe at school. 92 percent expressed satisfaction with the school s balance between academics, physical activity, creativity, and community. These are satisfaction numbers to be proud of. You cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time but 92% is pretty damn good!
This school is not accredited. Courtyard was unable to meet the criteria for accreditation a few years back and have not tried again. Knowing this, if you are still interested in your child attending Courtyard School, please request to see the parent surveys. Although the surveys were scrubed, they still bring to light the many problems at the school that are still unaddressed. For example, 26% of respondents were dissatisfied (14% neutral) with the performing arts program. Yet the program remains intact. This is just one example. I repeat, the school has not been able to pass accreditation.
Courtyard is a truly exceptional school with devoted teachers, a committed and thoughtful administration, and dedicated and involved parents who create a warm and accepting atmosphere for each child and family. We have been so impressed with our daughter's 1st grade teacher and how she uses positive discipline techniques to bring out the best in each student. Our daughter comes home each day bursting with excitement over the science experiments she has done, her math class, the books she is reading, and the opportunities she was given to shine. The before and after school programs are beyond exceptional -- whenever we try to pick our daughter up early, she asks us to come back later after the clubs are finished. The lunch program is also amazing. We feel so fortunate to have found this school and joined this group of families.
Our children were very happy. Good teachers, attentive before and after school enrichment, small community, and one price covers tuition, before/after school care, and lunch. There are ample field trips that are superb. Unfortunately, the lack of leadership to have a collaborative teaching environment, the demise of specialized programs such as art and Spanish, and the blatant disrespect for parents who would like to introduce technology, a math club, or suggest ways to make the school 21st Century is unprofessional. We understand the the school claims they educate the 'whole child' but our transition to public school showed that our "A" student is struggling and was not prepared for public school. Due to a lack of direction, progressiveness, and leadership the school's strength is the small class size and good teachers. But, those good teachers spend 80% of their time tending to the disruptive kids and the turnover rate is astonishing which is a reflection of the administration. Overall, this could be a fabulous school if it had direction, vision, and a dynamic leader. The teachers work hard and do the best they can but overall, I would look elsewhere for private school.
Our 5 year old is enjoying Kindergarten at Courtyard. The Kinder teacher and her full time aide have been a dynamic duo for nearly two decades and the students really seem to benefit from their consistency and expertise. I m amazed by our child s social development and growth in reading and spelling just two months into this school year. Our child tends to frustrate easily, so it has been helpful to have the sensitivity and levity that the teacher brings to the classroom. Learning is fun. Our busy family appreciates the teacher s approach to homework, which compared to our public school friends, seems to be assigned in moderation. It s just enough to connect us to what our child is learning and makes us aware of what he needs to work on. Lots of opportunities to get his wiggles out before school, morning, lunch and afternoon recesses and after school , all of which are supervised by their nurturing staff.
The way the school could improve most is for staff to speak to and treat students as if that child's parents were standing right there. That's what I do.That's my opinion. I feel that there is no safe and effective way to lodge a complaint or report inappropriate behavior, whether it be by staff, administration, or by board members.
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.