We were very fortunate to send our child here for 3 years (2010-2013). I was deeply impressed by each of his teachers, including the reading specialist and special area teachers (music, gym, etc.). I felt that each teacher made it their goal to know and love my child as a person and a learner. As a result, he grew so much academically and absolutely loved school. My only concern is that the current leadership is insecure manifesting itself in unnecessary micromanaging making for a much more tense and uncreative environment. Several of the more seasoned teachers left in the 3 short years my child attended Central (in fact, none of his classroom teachers now teach at the school), leaving a huge hole in terms of wisdom and creativity, both of which are critical to the field. The new hires seem to fit the leadership mold of rule-following over doing what's best for learners. I fear the current principal is most focused on climbing the ladder over creating an environment to inspire staff and children alike. Such a disappointment. That said, I cannot say enough positive things about the teachers my son was fortunate enough to have. We miss them and the neighborhood school dearly.
Very good new principal, strong teaching staff, and many opportunities for differentiation among students. Having children at either end of the spectrum (special needs - gifted), I've been impressed with both the spirit and the implementation of programs that serve both kinds of child (without fanfare). The PTA is amazingly involved and creative, and the funding for music and arts programs is v. impressive. The school boasts one of the district's best gardens which is integrated into teachers' history, science and art curriculums; the PTA funds a scientist-in-residence who conducts lessons throughout the year for every grade level. Spanish is offered daily (30 min) and there are PTA-subsidized afterschool clubs for families who want a slightly longer school day. (Club offerings have included dance, engineering, sports, LEGO, science, chess, Glee, cooking, etc.) This is a great neighborhood school with many children who walk to school, so your child can get to know their crossing guard by name; quite possibly s/he will learn your child's name, too!
i don't usually write internet reviews, but felt obligated to after reading other reviews here. I have had children at Central School for the past 8 years, and we have had a fantastic experience. The principal over that time was amazing, smart, kind, responsive and somehow seemed to have time for every child and parent. One of my children was identified as gifted, and we were very happy with the differentiation support. Of course, i'm not one of those parents who believes that we should be preparing for Harvard in 2nd grade. Smart kids need to be challenged, but still need to be kids. if you are thinking of moving into this district, you wil be thrilled with the quality of education your child will receive.
The former principal was a really big problem. Everyone is breathing a huge sigh of relief now that she has been replaced. The whole atmosphere in Central is so much better under the new administration, and kids and parents (and teachers, from what I hear) are much happier. I would have given the school two stars last year, but it is now a much better place. I have put two kids through Central (one is still there), and I wish they could start over under the new principal.
Central School does not provide an enriching differentiation program. If your child is ahead in math or English -they will not offer sufficient supplementary instruction.. Central School's educational philosophy is to "dumb down" and cater to the "average child." Also, there are a few tenured teachers who are very insensitive to their students and should have retired a long time ago.
Wilmette schools are very high quality, but I would encourage newcomers with no current ties to the community to look at McKenzie or another school rather than Central. The school community can be cliqueish and unwelcoming, particularly to those who don't fit their mold. Unfortunately, the administration and some of the teachers reinforce this. Hopefully the new principal, who is very nice, will make things a bit better.
Because of the invested parents that provide ways for the PTA to raise money to provide excellent resources/programs for the kids. I also think the school is amazing as they provided a full-time teacher to help 5 elementary students that had recently arrived in the US as refugees from Liberia. The school worked hard to help the kids adjust and thrive.