I want to thank my son's Kindergarten teacher Ms Williams for having so much heart. She really inderstands the needs of each and every student and makes sure they get what they need. She understands and is sensitive to the fact that many of the children come from under privileged homes. The children all adore and her and it is easy to see why. And she got my child to read!!!!
I am so grateful for Mrs. Henderson, the Music Teacher at Parkside. Today was the Holiday program, and the kids did such a great job. The elementary school choir was so impressive! And my daugher only has nice things to say about her. What a true gift of a person for our school.
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.
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!
After our first year, we have noticed myriad issues that either can t or won t be fixed anytime soon. The majority of the students come from public housing. The kids are woefully unprepared and therefore, the teachers have to teach to the bottom, at the expense of the prepared kids who want to learn. The principal seems to focus more on CYA and spinning the issues rather than truly acknowledging or addressing problems. She simply smiles, offers platitudes and focuses on why we should be happy with the status quo. And, the ENTIRE school checks out after Spring Break. The specials like art, music and PE classes, are canceled for the rest of the year. Teachers cancel all homework, so there s no further academic progress. Even going outside to play all but ends, which is crazy and utterly indefensible. The only bright spot for Parkside is the PTA, which is run by a core of very engaged parents. But even that can t offset the lack of real leadership and the detrimental impact of the public housing students. Their predicament is sad, but they re only bringing down the rest of the school.
As a parent of two daughters, I tend to compare the two. My oldest will be 19 in March and my youngest is 10. My oldest daughter attended Parkside and is now in College. Because of the age gap I lost track of the school and chose to put my youngest in a Charter school. Bad choice. The school focused on dicipline, uniforms, and foreign language. If the child is not a teacher's child or part of the click then they will fall by the wastside. Also, for the kids not as socially advanced they are manipulated and portrayed to be a problem or unruly child. Upon registering my baby I came across administrators and teachers that are still there now my oldest was there. They welcomed me and said you can always come back home : ). This made me feel so good . This school wants all their kids to well and learn what is being taught !!!
When my family moved to Atlanta in the summer of last year we had a plan to send our Kindergartener to Parkside until we could land an ever-coveted spot at ANCS or Drew Charter. What we quickly realized was that Parkside is rich in diversity, has an administrative team that is dedicated to the their students and school, and significant parental involvement. Big things are happening at Parkside and I'm excited for next year and the years to come!
School is a warm and caring environment that allows kids to grow and perform,. They are ready to move on to Middle School when they are done here and continue to achieve great things, it has been a pleasure sending our kids here for the last 8 years and we have three more years here. We are looking forward to all the great things that the school does