My 3rd child is leaving Foote School, and I have to say this school has really changed and lost its passion for "out of the box'" "creative" thinking/teaching . It seems that teachers ( especially in the middle school) are unhappy and this effects their classroom environment. They do the same projects, activities over and over again- it gets boring. As a parent of three I have seen many of the same projects ( humanities, art, language,math)for years- and it is unfortunate that the curriculum has no evolved.
My son was frustrated all year and felt that the teachers have "given up" and as a result ,there is lack of enthusiasm in class. He was not excited to stay for 9th grade and we made the decision to have him leave. My son wanted a more diverse education, a school where teachers are comfortable talking about current issues and will foster exciting discussions in the classroom. It seems that so much emphasis is placed on the 9th grade program and encouraging kids to stay, but 6-8th grade is not appealing enough to keep the majority of students. It would be great if administration looked at the other grades and made them more appealing for students.
Overall, the school has a sense of elitism and it is hard to have these conversations with faculty, staff, administration and parents. The school does promote and talk about a strong sense of community, and I wish it was true. The parent body is very cliquey and fake. It was disheartening to hear this from parents in the lower as well as middle school, feeling disconnected. It seems that admissions does a lot to get families in but the lack of community feeling on a daily basis is strong and parents feel left out or uncomfortable on campus.
Typically developing children seem to thrive at Edgewood. However, my son has a major disability and has not been given the tools he needs to succeed. I do not believe his IEP is being fully implemented, but I would need a team of lawyers and experts to prove this since my son cannot communicate what is going on. The school does not have students getting reading support from a reading specialist until 3rd grade even if they know of a disability. They also do not support having a 1:1 paraprofessional even if it is recommended by doctors and other experts. They ignore outside recommendations and rely on their own experts in order to save money. My son's IEP states that he will learn to play and gain social skills with other kids, but no adults are encouraging him and helping him to play at recess. Sadly, he is not gaining academic or social skills at Edgewood--a school that seems to have so much potential. I wish I could afford more for my son so that I could get him better resources. The teachers and school system are simply not doing all they can to help him despite my best efforts. I would not recommend Edgewood for children with special needs!
Our daughter recently started kindergarten at Edgewood and we have been very happy with how it's going. There are two kindergarten classes and both teachers are excellent. Parents are very involved and the school is truly a community school. We considered several options for our daughter, including one of the many private schools in the area, but we chose Edgewood (and were able to get in through the lottery, with preference since we live in the neighborhood) because it seemed like a place that our daughter could 1) learn and play in balance, 2) grow with children in the neighborhood - truly feel like she's part of a community and a village, and 3) go to school in a diverse environment reflective of the real world, which would prepare her for living as a citizen of the world.
Let me start by saying that recently, there was a change in leadership at Edgewood. This change was met with optimism, at first. I returned a year later to find that Project Pride, the Eighth Grade gym program, had been discontinued, despite teaching about good ideals such as teamwork, and huge success on the overnight trip to Camp Cedarcrest, to name one. As for the new administrators themselves, they'd added the referral system, which took trips for every referral. I am not exaggerating when I say that the administrators went trigger happy with this system. For example, a friend of mine exhaled, and received punishment. She inquired if she should stop breathing, and got another referral. When she told us, she got a third. One of the administrators overheard HALF of a conversation, and the students participating received referrals. A more notable incident: an Islamic student took major prejudice from a self proclaimed priest substituting for a teacher, and when the student got in trouble, the sub called in an administrator, and the student got a referral. I'm saying that Edgewood was a great school under the old principal, but is now a sinking ship of a school, at this point.
We have been very impressed with Edgewood School. We had concerns coming from a small private school, but Edgewood has got to be one of the district's (if not state's) best-kept secrets. The teachers go above and beyond, the parent involvement is strong without feeling exclusive, and the leadership seems experienced and capable. Other highlights include the art program (the kindergarteners replicated Matisse, for example!), the music/band program, and the volunteer-run elective enrichment offered to the 7th-8th graders. The free breakfast and lunch - provided to every child - with whole grain breads and low sugar cereals and local produce, also stands out. Okay, no school is perfect - no child, class or teacher is either. But Edgewood's a wonderful example of a school that is soundly beating the odds in New Haven.
Edgewood is a very high quality school. I care about my daughter's education, and I'm glad she's going to Edgewood. The parental involvement provides students AND parents with a wonderful way to be included, involved, and social. Students can participate in the school play, the school garden run by parents, one of a great many afterschool programs and classes run by parents, jazz band, Soccer, and so many other avenues of participation. Parents can volunteer to help with many of the aforementioned programs (there's also a great many social events that take place that are usually planned by parents). And every other Friday morning, there's even Cafe' Edgewood, where students and parents play music while parents and staff socialize. One concept that has always struck me is the admin and teachers really care about the students and the Principal provides good leadership and is responsive to parental concerns.