North Park's recently opened preschool is a wonderfully energetic environment where the students and the teachers collaborate to learn. From movement to outdoor exploration to quiet time reading to creating beautiful artwork, not a day goes by where my child isn't excited to go to school. The learning takes place in small groups and engages all of his senses. My son's favorite part of the day is when the 8th grade volunteers come in and work on a project together. All of the teachers are hands on, positive role models for the kids. We are so excited that North Park has a preschool now!
As a fellow student, I know that there is a small bullying issue, however it was always overcome and overpowered by the rest of goodness about NPES. The student-teacher relationships that are developed are remarkable. The academics prepare you perfectly for high school, allowing you to test out of some classes most freshman take. My one complaint is that as a boy I felt discriminated against, but besides that it is overall a great school, and I am happy I went there for all 9 years!
This is generally a good school and reasonably priced for a private school . Just...don't disagree with the system...
I urge all parents to compare the costs of every private school when investigating your options. The "bag of money" comment below simply isn't true. Yes, the school built a new, excellent playlot and installed new technology in the classrooms: that's called investment. NPES is still half the price of its nearest non-Catholic competitors.
If you want to attend, be sure you have a bag of money with you. Don't be fooled into thinking this is different from Parker or Latin. They are making huge pushes for very expensive things (like the playlot that cost hundreds of thousands!). It's not what we expected when we came here just a couple years ago. We were presented a more "neighborhood" type of school. All private options now seem to be the same.
I'm sorry, but to the parent who writes, "I can tell you from experience that there is not a bullying problem at NPES." This is YOUR experience and just because you have not had this problem does not mean others have not. The problem does seem to lie in the fact that this DOES happen, but the school does not make it known and does not address it as a full school issue. Trust me, IT HAPPENS. I wish it did not. My whole family wishes it did not. It would make things so much better in our household. And, as we've unfortunately found, this IS NOT one child's issue. Look around and see how many families have left. Ever wonder why? It's not always just about not being able to fund their child's education. This is an issue; it's not just "your kid's problem of not fitting in."
I STRONGLY suspect that the same parent has submitted multiple reviews that deal with the issue of bullying. My youngest child is a 7th grader, and I can tell you from experience that ther is not a bullying problem at NPES. I am actually really, really surprised at how well the 7th grade girls get along. I suspect from the multiple reviews that this bullying issue is personal to this one child. It is true that the school does not have the resources to deal with kids who have significant social, learning, and behavior issues, but no private school does. (this is why one of my older kids went to public school.). The focus of the school is on providing an affordable, excellent education to gifted and mainstream kidss, and they do a good job with this.
I have a love/hate relationship with NPES. Lambasting anyone with the old line of, "if it was so bad, why didn't you leave?" is the exact problem with NPES. When you see the documented educational success rate and know teachers give 110% effort, you want the best for your child(ren). There are some really wonderful parents who do wonders for the school, but at times there is a cruel, unfriendly and cliquish element. When bullying happens at NPES, there is a lot of talking the talk without addressing hard reality. They teach character lessons, but with real situations, the staff fails, especially if parents aren t high financial contributors. Those who comment that bullying is addressed have not been in the principal's office. They have not had to have difficult family meetings about whether to change schools or consider a move. It's a shame to think that maybe NPES believes families with problems can be replaced with others willing to pay tuition. It's time the staff really addresses this national problem in their own backyard. Stop denying and help families who love the teachers and program and just wish their child could get an even break.
Thank you to the previous poster for asserting what has also been my experience. To claim that the school does nothing about bullies is essentially false. I have had two children at the school for many years and any time there was an issue with another child, the teachers responded rapidly. I think people who are claiming this are possibly confusing what they view as dissatisfying outcomes with doing nothing. It is always challenging to verify and document claims of bullying, particularly since bullies are usually smart enough to behave badly out of earshot of adults. It is open to debate whether the school does enough to document or verify claims, but that is not the same as doing nothing. I believe they are strongest at handling physical complaints, verbal abuse is much harder to establish, since often it is only the victim or one other child who hears something. Having said that, I believe they are doing their best with the utmost good intentions. And I have to say, just because people defend their school based on a good experience (just as some slam it due to a bad one), it doesn't mean we're all in a cult, that is, frankly an offensive generalization.
In response to the parent who alledged that North Park did not take action in the matter of bullying, it is not true. North Park is a strong community where the children always come first. This is the attitude of the parents, staff and administration. In a situation where your child accuses or is accused of bullying, the staff and prinicipal step in immediately and try to work with the families, the first step being the families communicate together to try and resolve the issue. I feel my children are exceptionally safe from bullying and are being taught in a safe, caring, very nurturing and highly academeic environment
I am the parent of a North Park Elementary School Graduate and a current middle school child. We have been associated with the school for eleven years and counting. It is a wonderful, nurturing place which has given my children an excellent education. I think the staff is of the highest quality and have enjoyed interacting with other families at the school. I have always found the staff responsive.
Coming from CPS into this school has been refreshing on several levels for our child. Not that CPS is bad, just needed more of an academic challenge and additional Science and Social Studies. NPES gives an educational experience that is very round in academics, the arts, PE/Recess and socialization for both student and family. Communication and administrative availability are continuous. Small class size is priceless. The students in my child's class have been nothing but welcoming. On the second day of school my child said "they make be feel like I've been there the whole time". Again, priceless. In this city there are many options for educating children which all come with different environments. We were fortunate to have found good communities within both the CPS school and NPES.
In response to the most recent post I have to ask why, if the school was so terrible and your children were bullied, did you stay 7 years? As a parent I watched my children flourish for nine years at NPES. They were nurtured academically, creatively and social/emotionally. There was bullying in middle school, like any other school, but I know for a fact that the school did not tolerate nor condone this behavior and measures to punish/modify negative social situations were always addressed with the utmost seriousness. I'm sorry your children were bullied, that is terrible to go through for any parent, but if you'd done your homework, you'd know that it is impossible to change the behavior of the bully and the only recourse you have is to provide your child with the tools; body language, eye contact, words, where-with-all, and intelligence to protect themselves. Bullies prey on kids who are vulnerable and who show fear and they will continue to do this regardless of the punishment, until their victim ceases to be afraid. I hope for the future of your children you will teach them to become strong and fearless individuals and empower them to fight their own battles.
After 7 years at North Park, regretfully we were forced to remove our children from this school due to the inability of the principal and teachers to address a persistent issue of bullying. We were extremely disappointed with the lack of support for our children who had years of strong academic performance and were known by their peers as well as teachers as very easy-going, well-liked and compliant students. We had several meetings over the school year with the principal and teachers that spanned regarding on-going bullying of both of our children; yet absolutely no constructive action was taken on their part to address the issue. This year we moved our children to another school and the change in both of them is dramatic and positive. Both are much happier in their new school and socially we all feel more accepted by the community since dissension at North Park in the form of voicing ones concerns regarding proved to be an alienating experience and never validated by the principal, teachers or most of the parent community. Overall, it was a disappointing end to a school we entrusted the safety and education of our children, and had invested seven years of our family life.
Do NOT be fooled by the pseudo 'we're a great community' mantra of this school - sadly we were. This is a terribly mean-spirited school with AWFUL leadership at all levels. If you are not hand-n-glove with the principal and your respective teacher, your concerns will NOT be heard nor will your child be spared abusive behavior by their peers as well as their teacher. We were at this school for many years and wished we had left much earlier. Bullying is the norm here while teachers and the principal pretend to address the issue or look the other way. The parent community is cliquish, elitist and cold. The ONLY positive aspect of this school is its academic level, yet if your child does not perform to their expectations (luckily ours did), then they will suffer greatly and you will pay dearly for their 'tutors'. Of course, we understand others may not have this experience, however that should not lessen our claim. Our children are presently at a wonderful school, which they enjoy almost daily and are thriving. It's truly amazing the difference a warm and nurturing educational environment can offer a child compared to a provincial, cruel, negative Skinner box 'school' like NPES.
This school has its ups and downs. The teachers are great, but there are some kids at the school that can be quite cruel. The issue in regards to bullying needs to be addressed more. I think the program that was put into place is not being taken well in the middle school area. Maybe there should be a counselor kids can talk too. I know the school strives for academic excellence, but character is important too. I may pull my child up if this bullying is not addressed. The principal needs to address this.
We joined NPES with a child in an upper grade. The parents couldn't have been nicer and warmer. Before the school year began, we were invited to a few get togethers. During the school year, many parents have made an extra effort to meet us and get to know our child. We have needed some extra help in some subjects during the transition and the school has been generous in supplying it. This is a private school so it does not get funding from the state for special needs and they are very up front about that. However, they do a good job at helping our son through his bumps in the road. I could not ask for a school community that is warmer and more caring.
The school seems almost like a cult. I had my child at this school last year and it seems that the parents are not willing to talk to you if you are new to the school. There is no school counselor if the kids want someone to talk to, or someone to help the students if they need help. The teacher can tutor at times, but there is not a special needs teacher at the school. The principal at times seems more like a politician. My child goes to another school where parents are warm and open and if my child needs extra help there is someone to go to.
My child just recently returned from a three day "outdoor education" experience. It was an amazing opportunity for her and I continue to be impressed by the range of experiences and opportunities North Park is able to offer despite such a small student base. I am also impressed with the character curriculum. I am confident my children will be not just good students but good citizens thanks to their time at NPES.
Our experience with NPES is mixed. On one level, our children enjoy the school at times and are learning at an accelerated pace, yet the parent and student community can be cruel, unfriendly and extremely cliquish. We have been fortunate to know a few nice parents, but on the whole, the environment is cold and cultish no dissention allowed! My point is illustrated by the mean-spirited parental comments (mostly of March 11/12, which makes me wonder if they are not from 1 reviewer) lodged at the 1 star review. Are we that small that we can t look inward and realize our own faults as a school and a community? Why badger someone who clearly has had a grievance with the school and there was no resolution? Where is the compassion and empathy for a fellow community member? Isn't that what the school preaches, community, community, community?
This is our second year at North Park and we're pleased our son continues to like school. However, we're really disappointed with his overall experience this year. The school did not respond to excessive absenteeism on the part of the teacher (+20, lost track). We received only one explanation from the instructor and nothing from the school despite our concerns. We noticed our son is struggling quite a bit in a few subjects and can't help but wonder if the absence of his teacher isn't to blame. There were many disciplinary issues that went unaddressed; we believe, due to a lack of continuity on the part of the teacher. I wish the school would have dealt with this problem. Overall, the school is fine, but we did not appreciate the CPS-like year our son had since we're paying private school prices.
I have two kids at NPES and love the school. As a parent, I feel that the principal and teachers value my opinions and input and everyone is very approachable. My kids have thrived here and really love it.
There are many positive qualities about NPES, among them: small class size, well-rounded curriculum, and a highly involved parent base. Students are in a safe environment and develop solid relationships with their peers that many sustain through college. The primary grades are grounded in core academic instruction that is rich in scope and creatively structure. My children felt at home and valued as learners. The upper grades were challenging at best and at their worst were demoralizing, rigid and overwhelming. While high expectations for academic achievement often lead to high achieving students, expectations that are out of sync with adolescent development can lead to stressful evenings and burgeoning dislike for learning and feeling of inadequacy. Yes, graduates go on to highly competitive CPS high schools, but if you have an average child, who does not test well, the emotional cost can be stressful and disheartening.
It would be useful if people defined their terms better--what is 'soul', exactly? To me, soul is the principal knowing the name of every single child and parent. Soul is parents invited to go into their child's classroom during the school day, to provide enrichment activities or participate in projects. Soul is kids doing meaningful community service. Soul is older grades mentoring younger grades. Soul is parents showing up for the 8th grade graduation of kids they don't even know. And, for the parent who doesn't think the school is research-based, sorry, have you missed all the association meetings? Everyday math isn't research based? Reading and writing workshops out of Columbia U? Every child has unique experiences and needs, and not every school is right for them. But to generalize so broadly about this based on your own individual experience, is, well, soulless.
I am absolutely heartbroken that my daughter is graduating this year from NPES. These last 9 years have been incredible, I've watched her develop into a confidant young woman who is excited to enter high school and meet the world. The teachers are enthusiastic and fun to be around. The principal is very approachable, and greets each child by name. My son graduated from NPES in 1999 and still keeps in touch with former classmates. Parental involvement is encouraged and welcomed. I am perplexed at the previous comment of the school 'lacking soul'. NPES is a family school, there is not only soul, we have a whole bunch of happy kids and parents. We are all truly blessed.
I can't believe anyone would accuse North Park of lacking soul. Soul is precisely what sets North Park apart from so many other schools! After spending a year at a cold, soulless public school, we are thrilled to be at North Park. The warm, supportive environment here balances the rigorous academics. There is a real sense of community here; of involved parents and caring teachers working together to be sure kids not only get a great education, but also develop empathy, integrity and respect for others. Our son is thriving at North Park thanks to a curriculum that fosters creativity and imagination. Ou son comes home excitedly reporting on the cool things he did or learned that day. Recently he said to me: 'Mom, I can't believe there are seven hours in the school day. It feels like two minutes.' That's what you want in a school.
We love NPES and are so glad we made it our first choice when selecting a school.
Lacking in soul? Really? This poster must not be involved in the school activities. Honestly, I've never met a group of people more involved and more willing to contribute to an environment that not only teaches children academically, but as a member of the community. NPES has many opportunities to mix with other schools at other events. You can see a difference in NPES kids. Spend some time with the teachers or the extremely involved parental community and you'll find committment and soul unlike other places. Frankly, anyone who has negative things to say about NPES (or any other private school for that matter) always has other options in this city.
I felt the need to respond to the previous poster. I do not agree with the practice of lobbing a 'one star' grenade onto a board like this and then hiding behind anonymity. Anyway, my son is in the school and I've so far found it to be a warm, caring place with exceedingly high standards. It is positively overflowing with soul, and the teachers are always available for reasonable discussions. My son is absolutely thriving. I haven't found the 'detriment to emotional and social intelligence' whatever the heck that means. It's true that there are small classes at NPES and if a child has a hard time fitting in, there is really no place to hide. Quite simply, one star is unfair. And I can guarantee that there are plenty of options for this poster, if he/she is that unhappy. Meanwhile, I highly recommend North Park Elementary.
Academically fantastic; lacking in soul. The school's structure makes it really hard to get to know the teachers, and the rigorous program gives short shrift to other important matters pertaining to a well-rounded education, such as creativity and empathy for others. Imagination tends to be swallowed here by the frantic pace of the academic curriculum. My child is here because the closest alternative is woefully inadequate, and I'm grateful overall for the high expectations and quality instruction. However, I feel that NPES does not necessarily a happy, balanced kid make. It values academic achievement to the detriment of emotional and social intelligence, and many of the teachers ignore or fail to recognize a hierarchical, intolerant, and often cruel undercurrent among the kids. (I think NPES assumes, mistakenly, that it is immune to this common Middle School problem.) In a nutshell: great education; very one-dimensional; extremely cold.
Attend the open house and meet the 8th graders and see for yourself what an outstanding small community school can do in developing incredibly articulate and well rounded children. Ignore the ideological stuff and arguments over trivial things that often occurs in listservs and judge for yourself.
Our daughter is just graduating from Kindergarten. We could not be more thrilled with the school. The progress that she has made throughout the year has been fantastic. The teachers create an exciting atmosphere in which to learn and discover. The school focuses on teamwork bringing older students in to mentor the younger ones. This system builds the confidence of all of the children. We couldn't be happier!
I recently graduated from NPES and am attending my highschool of choice. North Park was the best school my parents could have chosen for me and I feel very prepared for highschool. NPES provides students with an excellent learning enviorment and supportive classmates. I devoloped such a great bond with my classmates and teachers which I don't think I coul've done anywhere else. Thanks to North Park's small size individual attentionc was easily acessible and my questions were always answered. There is also a high level of parental involvement which is always a plus. I had a great (nine year) run at North Park and would not trde a minute of it.
North Park Elementary School is a fantastic little school. Our daughter has been a student here for two years now. Although she tested into several of the so-called gifted programs, none of them were the right fit her. We came from a Montessori program and the transition was effortless. Our daughter is thriving at this school. Unlike the other reviewer, we have found the school to be joyful and full of creative energy. Our daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. The school has responded brilliantly. Teachers and administrative staff learned how to help and what to do in an emergency and communicate regularly with questions and discussions about new learning. I do not find the school feathered up with faddish ideas nor a slave to test scores. The best endorsement though isn't from me but is evidenced in my girl: She loves to learn and loves her school.
I am a parent of a graduate from North Park Elemntary School and I have to disagree with the reviewer who claims that the school only emphasizes product and test scores. I always appreciated that the school only tested one time per year (as opposed to the numerous tests used by the public schools) and emphasis is not on test results. (Although scores are high, which is something the school feels free to advertise.) I found the atmosphere at the school to be nurturing at the same time as challenging and my son was well prepared for high school where he has excelled. I find it hard to believe that holding a pencil incorrectly would have played into the school's decision making process. From my observation, based on my son's classmates, there are many levels of learning abilities in the school, and each child is guided individually.
My experience of North Park Elementary School was sealed in the interview process for Kindergarten. My child was negatively perceived for holding a pencil incorrectly, and it became quite clear that he would have a difficult time getting in because of the school's intense emphasis on product vs. process. I found the school joyless and the art strangely lacking originality. The school clearly empasizes test scores and prides itself on performance records. I just wonder how those children who graduate will further their education. I am sure that North Park has good intentions for their children, but knowing where a child is developmentally ought to determine what and how they study. One can teach a child anything, but to what end? I chose a school that emphasized child development and the healthy atmosphere for all learners, of every variety, child centered.
NPES has a high level of parental involvement and quality programs. The best fact about the school is that there is only one class per grade and one grade per class, with a maximum of 20 or 21 for 2nd through 8th. Kids learn to get along with everyone because they will have them as classmates until graduation. No child can 'fall through the cracks.' Spanish is taught 2 to 3 days a week. Drama and Art once a week. The middle school kids take critical thinking and perform service. Politeness is emphasized in every grade. The principal has been there for many years and provides excellent leadership. Limited cultural diversity. There are extremely limited resources for children with a learning difference, as all funding comes from tuition and parent fundraising. Incoming parents seem wealthier so extra services may become available, but will that drive up tuition and eliminate economic diversity?
Ranked 98th in IOWA tests from 2004. Programs are accelerated. Spanish available from K-8; Art,Music,drama part of regular curriculum; most sport activity is a paid after school activity. Parents are heavily involved, from 95% of the board, volunteer and fundraising activities handled by parents. Getting trendy, a higher income family demographics with tuition to match. No learning difference support available. Tutoring available on a pay basis. Not alot of support for developmental growth that doesn't meet their learning curve.
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