A few teachers are absolutely wonderful. There is excessive turnover at this school, however. Many children will get a teacher who has just been hired a few weeks before the new school year has started. Good luck with that. These teachers are either clueless about classroom management or burn out from dealing with their oppressive boss. They are not mentored to learn better ways to treat and manage children and they are not supported by their boss via professional development. Result? They leave.
How can this school develop honesty, integrity, and fairness when the principal and some of the teachers do not model these values? These individuals use fear and threats to keep kids in line. Children learn to survive so as not to fall prey.
I agree with the comments from others who believe the school's success has come more as a result of the parents than anything the school has done. The vast majority of the student population are from educated, professional families who are very involved in the daily lives of the students as well as provide many additional enrichment activities (afterschool programs, athletics, music, tutoring, additional language help, etc.). This is naturally going to have an influence on the performance of the kids, and reflect well on the school, regardless of the quality of the school.
- The parent community is great and tries to be very involved. Without them, many of the educational opportunities at the schools (art and science in particular) would suffer
- The kids get a good foundation in Mandarin. (I'm simply looking for my child to be able to converse and communicate in Mandarin, not be completely fluent)
- For a Chinese immersion, there's a fair (not great, but fair) diversity of the student body
- There's not a lot of support for physical activity for the kids. Kids are asked to come to school in the morning and be quiet and stand still while waiting for classes to start, because the noise of their playing will disturb the teachers preparing in the morning.
- During the school tour, we were told about all the great facilities the school has, including the amphitheater, which I don't believe is ever actually used by the kids.
- Parents are asked to perform a large number of activities which I believe should be performed by the teachers. One significant example for me is that the parents are asked to grade the kids' homework.
College Park is just ok. Most of parents who send there kids here is because they want to avoid Chinese schools on weekends. In terms of how fluent they will be, that's anyone's guess. 3rd grade and up, there is no set mandarin curriculum. My understanding is that they're simply translating the common core curriculum and teaching that instead. And I do agree with the other parents that the rising scores is mainly due to the student demographics, and not that the teachers are all that exceptional. Most of the parents here are wealthy with advance degrees and focus heavily on the children's academics. Private tutoring, Kumon, and after school programs are common for the students. My plan is to go all the way up to 5th grade and stop mandarin immersion altogether. The plans for the 6-8th grades are not set in stone and right now it's at Bayside Stem where it is getting very little attention. If you have time and money to donate to this school, this is the school for you. Student to teacher ratio is also on the high side, 24:1. So teachers rely on parents to help correct and grade the homework, be in the room as aids, and of course, help kids outside of class.
We have had our children here from preschool onward. We have no Mandarin at home or in our family. Our kids enjoy school and are doing well with the language all on their own without outside help. I don't see any more afterschool tutors or help at our school than I do all of the local kids at English-only schools who have been going to Kumon since they were 4 years old. Parents will always shape their children's education and provide support. This is a positive factor! And parents definitely need to stay on top of the Mandarin and English workload. All CP students take the same standardized tests as the English-only schools, and you only need to look at the test scores to realize that the kids are doing just fine. But my 4th grader also wrote an essay on American Indians, in Mandarin. Pretty cool.
This is a Mandarin "immersion" school. What does that mean? The school still must meet state and federal guidelines/expectations with respect to language arts, social studies, science, and math in our country's native English. The addition of Mandarin is not simply an add-on separate and distinct language course unrelated to the overall curriculum as is typical in middle, high school, and college level courses. But rather it is integrated with the comparative English requirements. For example, the science of our solar system and elements/structures of life are taught in English and Mandarin. Thus, the Mandarin component learning reinforces the English curriculum while contemporaneously teaching its own elements of grammatical structure, writing skills (i.e. traditional character stroke order), and oratory pronunciation and annunciation. But wouldn t this limit the school-day allocation of English learning? Not necessarily. Some required learning such as Social Studies are taught exclusively in Mandarin. After all, topics such as this are more conceptual in nature. Not to say that the hard sciences are excluded. Far from it. Math is taught in both English & Mandarin.