The new principal (Ms. Murray) is very professional and is doing a great job -- she is very responsive to parent questions and concerns. At Kingsley, most parents are very involved and active in the school. Kindergarten is a particular strong point at Kingsley, with a "star lineup" of 3 truly outstanding and dedicated teachers (Shropshire, Post, Heite).
Kingsley is a terrific school! We couldn't be happier. My wife and I are both teachers, and we also have seven years of experience with our oldest children at a different Evanston public school, so we have a pretty informed perspective on school quality. The school is full of excellent teachers who deliver the district curriculum while also adding in their own creativity, new activities, and differentiation. Parent involvement couldn't be better, aided by a wonderful school environment that the principal sets which welcomes parents in as partners. We had previously been at an elementary school that viewed parents as the enemy and the tone here at Kingsley couldn't be more different! The principal, Ms. Davis, pulls off an outstanding balancing act of pleasing everyone while also remaining firm and not existing solely to please parents. Teacher and students seem to love her, too.
Before we moved from Evanston our children attended a magnet school in town. We moved away for several years and moved back to town this summer. I have to say that Kingsley was an excellent choice for us. The teachers are stern but caring and the academic rigor is great and keeps my extremely bright boys engaged. There is immediate response to behavior issues and the principal and faculty have jumped on areas of deficit with my boys and given them the help they need to succeed. The PTA is amazing, organized and creative. I'm blown away by how efficiently the school is run, it truly is a warm and welcoming cornerstone of the community. My boys come home every day beaming about how awesome their day was - that makes me love this school!
My son is in the 2nd grade at kingsley...and has been there since kindergarten. He has been part of the inclusion program- to which has been very succesful. My husband and I salute all of the wonderful caring teachers and staff at kingsley for all of their hard work and caring of all of the kingsley students.
We have one child who has been at Kingsley for 3 years and one who will start in the fall. We are extremely happy with Kingsley and highly recommend it. The teachers are fantastic and so is the parent community. We have been very pleased with the academics and value the diversity in the community.
My husband and I explored all private school options before selecting Kingsley (public) for our son, now in first grade. The school, teachers, PTA, curriculum, available programs and activities are all marvelous. I cannot believe how well my first-grader reads and he is already doing fractions in math. A far cry from my childhood education. My son is already bilingual and happily told us that he is ready to conquer Spanish as well, one of two language programs available at Kingsley (the other is Mandarin, but language programs do require a separate charge). The administration is supportive, and the family network is tremendous. I so look forward to my daughter beginning her time at Kingsley this fall.
We have two children at Kingsley - a second grader and a kindergartner. Our older son is on the autistic spectrum, though highly functional. Our experience with special services in District 65 and Kingsley, in particular, has been very positive. The strong and active PTA has been critical to providing all the "extras." We consider ourselves very fortunate to have Kingsley as our neighborhood school.
Our child has received an excellent education thus far at Kingsley. The community of parents is wonderfully supportive and the goal of differentiated instruction is taking hold well. Like all schools in the district, its a constant struggle to balance academic focus and social/emotional development in elementary and the school is striving to do both. I feel the teachers are generally strong and parent involvement is high. The principal is fairly new but taking on some positive changes including increasing supportive programs for families thru a Saturday open doors program and introducing a student council to provide a sense of leadership development among students. Safety and discipline are extremely high priorities. Overall we are very pleased with our experience at the school.
The school has serious challenges to face, as it deals with a very diverse community of learners and severe constraints (no foreign languages, very limited enrichment, and overall limited resources). Given all this, some teachers are truly outstanding and some are disappointing. Principal leadership has been lacking due to high turnover. Lack of leadership at the principal level has limited the ability to encourage weaker teachers to adopt stronger teaching practices (with the help of some of their outstanding colleagues), and/or encourage some weaker teachers to leave the school, attracting good teachers. The school is doing quite well in early grades (up to 2nd grade), it becomes weaker from grade 3 on.
Our child transferred to Kingley this year from a private school. We could not be happier with his and our experience to date. Our child regularly comments on how much he is learning in math and how much he enjoys reading and writing. The differentiated learning has been a very positive experience for him. And, we've been very impressed with how deeply differentiated learning is built into the curriculum. The PTA is very active, parents are very involved and the new playground is a hit. All schools have challenges but the current principal appears to have a solid handle on these and a measured approach to tackle them.
Our experience at Kingsley has been great in terms of the community of parents and teachers with common goal of improving the education of all kids. The diversity of the learning community presents both benefits and challenges. Expectations of teacher are extremely high and the pressure to continue reducing the achievement gap here as in most Evanston schools is significant. Thus far I have been extremely impressed with our kindergarten experience and while much more structure shows itself in 1st grade, my child continues to progress. I challenge the school and all of us to continue to be creative and keep the needs of children first as we tackle the difficult problems of educating in such a demanding and varied educational environment. I think Kingsley has some challenges ahead and hope the administration, parents and teachers will continue a great partnership to facing these challenges.
Kingsley is a very unique wonderful school. We have two daughters that transferred into the school from a private school (one at 1st grade and is now in the 3rd grade the other at kindergarten) and we could not be happier. The community is filled with loving families that share a common bond in that they want the best for the kids. Our kids respect their teachers and love going to school. The school offers many before & after school programs including chess, Chinese, Spanish and drama brownies, cub scouts, etc. The teachers focus on the love of reading (even while doing Math) and technology (The kids use Promethean boards and Apple laptops in the classrooms). The administration is focused on order and learning both inside the school and the playground. What more could you want?
There is much to love about Kingsley: as others have noted the parents are extremely involved, the principal was caring and knew every kid. True, he just retired, but parents were critical to the hiring process and we have great hopes for the new principal. There are marvelous extra-curriculars: French and Spanish club, swimming, tai chi, chess. Diversity remains elusive; although classes are mixed, acitvities are not. Most of the black kids are lower income and arrive early for the breakfast program, meaning they don't tend to mix with the middle class, mostly white kids who come later with their parents. There is little interaction and close friendship across these groups; many black parents feel unwelcome in the PTA culture whereas the 'involved' crowd view black parents as uncaring or apathetic. Different behavior standards across the class/racial divide make discipline challenging. These issues need to be addressed in the coming year.
Our experience at this school has been disappointing. The principle is due to retire and his leadership has been lacking. Teaching is directed toward test-taking. There is little or no attention to daily social skills despite the use of 'cool tools'(a social skills unit). Perhaps a new principle will turn this school into more of an educational community rather than a warehouse.
I love Kingsley-It is a wonderful educational community-The principal,teachers,art teacher, librarian,music teachers,physical ed the staff and parents give 110% to make this a fun and exciting learning environment. The parental involvement is outstanding and there is a great working realtionship between the PTA and Teachers. I have had 5 children at the school and my youngest has 2 more years. One of the best things I can say is that they loved their time at Kingsley and they have developed an apprecitation for school and teachers and community. My children feel loved there.
We have a kindergartener at Kingsley, and have been extremely happy with the school - the principal is very involved and personable, the teachers care about the children, and our child (who is very bright and came from a Montessori-based preschool)has learned a great deal, not only about reading and math, but also about making friends with other kids of all backgrounds. I've been impressed with the parent involvement and the degree of caring in place by nearly everyone at the school. Our child adores the school as well!
I attended Kingsley school about 15 years ago and it was as great a school then as it is now. It may not have the highest test scores, but the teachers are determined as well as Dr. Martin, who by the way was the principal when I was there and he is still going strong! Some of the teachers that I remember are still there, which I think says something about the school community and it's stability. The PTA is very involved and works together. There are also many extracurricular activites for children to get involved in. Kingsley school is a great school with high quality leaders.
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