An excellent school with students, teachers and parents who care. The diversity of the school is not merely about ethnic diversity. The school reflects diversity in many areas: socio-economic background, religions, cultures and languages. This is a school that where my children know that diversity is not about the color of their skin. For parents looking to classify kids and families in one of two categories, black or white, MPA may not be for them. I love that my children are getting an education that includes all the core subjects plus art, music, physical education and world languages. This is a school that is not stuck on stereotypes about diversity and does a better job than many schools in teaching children to be accepting and understanding of others. MPA is a great school!
Here are my suggestions for making MPA a better school. 1) MPA should have full time Deans of the Lower, Middle and High school whose sole jobs are to provide leadership rather than having teachers serving in a a dual capacity. 2) The school needs to better define and explain the vision of the school to parents rather than assuming everyone understands the vision. 3) The school needs to better define what type of students and families they intend to serve and what academic outcomes they would like the students to achieve. Currently, the lower school is not diverse, currently serving mostly African American kids. The school recognizes that this will be a problem attracting kids from different backgrounds. To lower the number of African American families at the school, some teachers and administrators seem to be deliberately unresponsive to the concerns of African American families, hoping that many of them will not return, as a means of achieving better diversity.This is not a sensible way to run a school. 5) Finally, technology needs to introduced in the early grades starting in the lower school. MPA is a good school, but is short of being a great school.
I love the Academy! I chose to pay my tuition each year because I believed that my child was getting a well-rounded education. Show me a school where the students get P.E. classes every day, art & music classes twice a week, & foreign language classes 4 times a week, all with content-specialist teachers, not their homeroom teachers. I didn't want my child to go to my neighborhood gifted school, because I don't believe that test scores & tons of homework are everything. I want a child who is truly well-rounded, can think creatively, & can get along with others who don't have the same cultural or economic background. My child has attended this school for years. Is it perfect? No. No school is. However, I believe it is worth every penny. The teachers in the Lower School are very nurturing & know how to differentiate learning for each child. Having a small class size of about 15 to 18 is priceless. The free co-curricular classes after school are exciting & give me more for my money. My child even begs to go to the Academy's summer camp, which has even more fun choices. My opinion? It's the perfect place for my child, even if I don't always get my way. My child will graduate from there!
MPA is a jewel in the Morgan Park/Beverly area. We are so grateful for this caliber of education! I believe there was a Chicago Magazine article about the school. From our perspective, we don't know of a single student who did not get into the college of their choice. Bottom line, isn't that really what we want for our children?
It looks like some disillusioned parents have been posting on the site after leaving the school. MPA is a great school with dedicated teachers. I don't always agree with all the decisions from the administration, yet I understand the need to make changes sometimes. To respond to one of the reviewer, there is a new Parents Associations which resulted in the merger of the mothers and fathers clubs. I strongly support the merger and believe it will make an even stronger and inclusive parent community. To respond to another reviewer, 8th graders got a wonderful end of the year party hosted by the Mothers Club. Diversity is part of school, just watch the video the created for their fundraiser. As for graduation being outside, well after the major thunderstorm in June 2011, it seems pretty obvious that having inside would be a dryer option. I was at commencement this year and I was blown away by the quality of the class of 2012 and envy the bright future that awaits them. It's funny how these review sites become forums to rant. MPA is a great school and it has 140 years of excellence in education to prove it.
I am sure that most parents want to see results. Logically, that is why so many parents make the sacrifice to send their child to such an expensive school. It is not about "paying into an opportunity", it is about getting your (17-23 grand a year) money worth. I believe a child who has spent years at MPA should be able to test into any school. If a parent decides to stay and pay...fine. But if a parent decides to leave-let's say after eighth grade- that child should be able to test into a top Chicago high school with no problem. You can pay less at neighboring schools and your child will be just as happy and testing way above average. I will be paying at one of those neighboring schools in the fall. I agree with the parent who posted that MPA is not a five star school. Not even close.
I don t understand how anyone could say Morgan Park Academy is a great school, unless they have no other schools to use for comparison. MPA has a complete lack of diversity, antiquated classroom technology, an uninspiring teaching staff, and a weak administration. Academically, it is not on level with other schools (even public schools) in the community. The one positive that I can say is that it has/had a strong parent community, though from what I understand, they are getting rid of the parents clubs in the Fall of 2012-2013 school year.
MPA is an excellent school with teachers that are dedicated to children. MPA's curriculm is designed to encourage children to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Paying tuition at any range doesn't guarantee test scores or acceptance into a classical or gifted program. Those programs are designed for children that are actually "gifted" . You don't learn or teach "gifted". Or for children who that learn at a faster paces, like a "classical" school. Which is why education at MPA should not be used as a baraometer for acceptance into these schools. Learning faster doesn't mean learning better. My children ( in the lower school) love MPA and are thriving and as parents we understand, value and appreciate a quality experience! If you are looking a school where your children will have a nuturing educational experience, then consider MPA. However, if you are interested in paying into an opportunity for your kids to test into another school then MPA is not the best choice for you.
This school has a host of problems it seems unwilling to face: ineffective administrators, inferior foreign language classes, huge financial problems and a culture of meanness that prevails among the students. If you think a few tall trees, crumbling brick buildings and staggering tuition costs make a good school, then perhaps this is the place for you. But bear in mind, it is NOT culturally diverse. Your child will need a thick skin to withstand the bullying and meanness that goes on here everyday, especially in the middle school and high school. As recently as a year ago, the school had no formal policy on bullying. Bearing in mind that over 30% of the student body is children of school employees, one can see why behavior that would result in expulsion from other schools is openly tolerated here. A Former Parent
I think that choosing a school for you and your children is a very personal choice. We all have different ideas of what is important for our children and what we find to be valuable. I have two children at Morgan Park Academy and have been very happy. There is no such thing as a perfect school. I love reading the entries about the test scores of preschoolers and questioning if it is your child or the school. Maybe it is you? I am an a veteran teacher with a PHD in Early Childhood Education. Age-appropriate education is what is important. The Lower School is a wonderful and nurturing environment. The teachers are warm and open. My children have scored very well on the Stanford Achievement Test, well above grade level. The children are kind and the teachers are supportive and do not tolerate being mean or bullying. This is a place that feels like an extension of home and your children will do very well in all other areas of life. I notice that my kids are confident and comfortable with adults and children alike. This is a wonderful place to send your children if having a kind, thoughtful, bright, and creative child is important to you, then this is your school!
Well, my kids took the tests for openings in the Chicago Public Schools for three straight years, and did not score high enough. With all the money I pay for MPA, I was hoping for a wide arrangement of skills. I don't want them to teach to the test, but what are they teaching? The curriculum seems too easy, and we have to teach the kids at home. Diversity: The majority of grades K-3 is African American. That's not diversity (despite the fact that such students must feel comfortable there, which is a plus). I think that many kids who otherwise might have gone here are now getting into gifted schools. Why wouldn't you if you could? The tuition is not worth it, and beside, in literature about the high school's Projects Week, what they don't tell you is that those student s who went to Central America and Europe and Africa are paying for those trips themselves. They make it sound like the school takes care of that
My children attend MPA. This school is the best. The teachers are the most caring, kind teachers I have ever met. THE MPA way help to instill a strong ethical core in every student. The acdemics are amazing. Each child is encouraged and challenged to atttain their full potential . The arts program is great... art, music, drama are all awesome. THe PE teachers a re great. I an so glad both of my kids have the opportunity to attend this outstanding school
My three children attend MPA and have done so for the past four school years. We love it! It is incredibly diverse both racially and socio-economically, and kids come from all over the area, including as far as Indiana and downtown. Most of the faculty have been at the school for years, if not decades, and are entirely committed to teaching. Most of them work 60-80 hour weeks! My mother was a principal of a grammar school in Chicago for many years -- she is amazed by the faculty commitment and the level of education here. The very small class sizes (in the middle school 3-13 students per class), the faculty and parent commitment, the excellent curriculum, and the diversity of the student body makes this the best school available for my kids.
As a long time parent, I have seen many things that made me question spending hard earned dollars here. The pros - small class sizes, high parental involvement and beautiful campus. The cons - very limited class offerings, lack of commitment to all foreign languages, bullying tactics of some faculty members. Each year students have relayed stories of being asked by staff where they were planning on going to high school and when they responded they were told they would not be successful. Poor scheduling results in students having to choose between an english class and foreign language. There is a new head of school but most of the old guard is still there, apparently as a buffer. Unfortunately, that means the same problems remain. Big donors still rule the roost for the most part - especially if you make nice with faculty/staff members.
My son was attending a small private south side school and we were very disappointed. He is in his second year at MPA and we are thrilled. He is involved in after school activities and thriving academically, we really could not ask for better results. We are planning on keeping him there through high school.
One step onto the campus and any lover of education will immediately sense that something spectacular happens here. My son has attended since Jr. Preschool (Age 3) where he started learning both Spanish and French. Academics are so strong here, but that's not the whole story. There's the arts, music, chess .... and physical education every day! And, his best friends don't look like him because diversity isn't a program here, it is life. The new leadership has made strong changes in the right direction to keep moving forward. But truthfully, the faculty is so strong that they carried last year beautifully. Perhaps the most important point about this school was said to me by a student, 'Here it is cool to be smart.' Wow. Who doesn't want their kid to feel that way? No longer the choice between achieving and fitting in. I'll pay for that any day.
Excellent school in all respects. Academically. Socially. Very diverse. I would recommend this school to any parent.
My son attended MPA preschool from Jan-Jun 09. I was a bit disappointed with our experience. I struggled with the lack of communication.This was exacerbated by his being in the the before & after care program. Rarely was anything sent home & unless I called or walked into the classroom I had little knowledge of what was going on from day to day. There's a new head of school as of 2009-2010. I was looking forward to being a part of the changes that I thought she might facilitate. Yet through another breakdown in & lack of communication, my son's space was given to another child. He was put on a wait list which I didn't learn until 2 wks before school began! I think the school has potential but we won't be returning when the Wwait is over. I think we deserved more for what we paid.
Staff and faculty cuts have reduced the workforce significantly, which means that the school is messy, has a morale problem, and hardly any course offerings at the upper level. Good faculty are still let go, so be warned that many of your child's teachers won't be the ones to rock the boat. Still quite strong at the lower levels, however. Some bully parents, as the writer below said, have undue influence.
This has to be one of the best college prep. schools in the country. Go and visit MPA. Small enough to be nurturing, large enough to provide foreign exchange programs. It will change your child's life forever...
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