The teachers and staff are always welcoming to parents and children, and my daughter loves going to school here. There is a great community of involved parents who are dedicated to making this school a better place. The more parents get involved, the better the school will be. It is already a good school, so it will just keep getting better and better.
After mixed results from our first year at Parkside, I was skeptical about what to expect from first grade. I'm pleased to report a much more positive experience all around. Despite some challenges that come from a very diverse population (culturally and economically), we have benefited from a wonderfully supportive staff and engaged parent base. Our son is developing the academic, social and personal skills he'll need to be successful, and we feel very grateful that Parkside is our school. Go Pandas!
We moved to this neighborhood after all the charter school lottery dates passed. We were led to believe that our kids would get a sub-par education at Parkside. We planned to "stick it out" for the year and possibly enter the charter lotteries the following year.
Within a matter of weeks of kindergarten starting, we knew he was in a great place. We realized it was charter school families who often said those negative things, without having any evidence to support their claims. Our sensitive kid got a teacher who encouraged and supported him, and he made friends we adore. The families who choose Parkside are committed to its success, and there is so much energy surrounding the school. Two years later, we have never been given any reason to look elsewhere when we have such a great public school right here. Our son is excelling in math and science and reading on grade level. We love that he attends a diverse school that is representative of our neighborhood and city.
Parkside is in the process of applying to be an International Baccaluareate school, which means we value and uplift all these traits. My son's lessons often tie back to past and present individuals and how they exhibited honesty, perseverance and bravery. Kids are taught about diversity and how many different types of people make up a community.
When my eldest was entering kindergarten, we were overwhelmed by the choices in the neighborhood and assumed we would end up at one of the charter schools eventually. When we started at Parkside, however, we were so impressed with the quality education and the fun and loving atmosphere that we were quickly converted. Over the course of our first year, we happily turned down spots at both the charter schools in the neighborhood and were excited for our second child to start kindergarten at Parkside this year. We really appreciate that Parkside has the resources and talent to teach all of our children (not just our three, but the entire neighborhood) - whether they are excelling and in the gifted program, are passing but need that extra push to excel, or are struggling and need help to reach the grade level milestones. While Parkside is providing my children with an excellent and challenging academic experience, the teachers also understand how important it is to make learning fun. Both of my children love school and learning and we largely attribute this to Parkside's wonderful atmosphere.
I was firmly in the "if we have to go to Parkside then we are going to move" camp. Then I became educated. There is a huge neighborhood surge of support for Parkside right now, and it is making it the true neighborhood school that everyone wants it to be. A school isn't going to thrive if parents check out and send their kids to private school because they are afraid of some test scores. I can only speak to my experience, and I do have a bright kid without any issues or IEP, etc. I have NOT found that they teach to the bottom - they divide the kids into appropriate learning groups, and each group's homework is appropriate to their level. The teachers are all over identifying gifted students and they seem to have a very dedicated gifted program. The PTA is awesome and very involved - and the administration really seems to listen and respond immediately to any concerns. Communication is great, and my daughter is happy. What else can I say? Oh, also - facilities. Parkside has by FAR the nicest building of any elementary school in our neighborhood. Clean, bright - lots of windows, and bright colors.... things that are important to a kid who has to spend most of the day in the same room.
Parkside is full of warmth for the children and the parents, too. My two boys have had a great experience there, and have had amazing teachers. Strong community support, and lots of parental involvement make this school a great part of our neighborhood. Being a candy-free school promotes health and wellness to the students, plus the uniforms show respect and high standards for one another.
This year will be our second year at Parkside and we LOVE it! The teachers and the leadership at the school are better than any school we have been to in APS. We started in the NE Grady Cluster and have found home at Parkside/Jackson Cluster. Principal Sims has been an amazing leader. She is quick to address questions and attends to every student/family as if they were her own. We are truly lucky to have found and the Parkside community and my son has come home discussing what he's learned almost everyday! Very grateful to the quality of the teachers at this school. I was thrilled, as a parent, to come into a community of engaged parents with so much enthusiasm for EVERY student at Parkside. It's a true community effort and there are great opportunities to get involved. Looking forward to the great things happening at King Middle too :)
We just finished our Georgia funded Pre-K at Parkside. Our Pre-K tearchers were Ms Fangmann and Ms Andrews and we could not have been happier. We came from private pre-schools since our child was 1 year old so the free public school was a huge welcom! Our son has a late birthday so he has always been the youngest in the class. I debated whether to red-shirt him or not and we are happy to say we will not! We start Kindergarden at Parkside this year with Ms Williams who is highly recommended. The school def has a few kinks to solve but has a rock star prinicipal, Caitlyn Sims, and a phenomenal PTA. This school has free breakfast and lunch for all children. It is on it's way to be an IB accredited Charter System school. Academically this school is far superior to other "lottery" schools in the neighborhood and this comes from parents who have left Wesley Charter and ANCS Charter to come to Parkside. Also every morning the enitre school is greeted by the Principal and all the teaching staff to welcome the parents and children. In terms of the Preferred School Care for the After Care program, there needs to be some improvements. The enrichments are paid per program. Some enrichments are excellent (Tennis, Gymnastics) while others need some work. This year we have an amazing team of parents in the PTA to make that last step up to change Parkside to be the coveted school it should be in our neighborhood!!! Def sign up and register while there is still space. The secret will soon be let out!