We just moved to a different state to a top-ranked school, but as I am finding out, it can't hold a candle to Cherry Tree. As a parent I really appreciated their efforts to differentiate the kids early on in the school year. Gifted kids in math are moved up a grade (with others their same age within the grade) and separated into challenging reading groups. In addition, the Challenge Program was phenomenal - our child excelled in it and was allowed to grow at his pace. This school also has a stringent no-bullying policy which is strictly enforced and ingrained in the kids. Overall teacher quality is good- there are some exceptions but in general, very good. Parental support is VERY high at this school. Kids feel happy and appreciated here.
I am extremely disappointed in the lack of parent communication and the attitude I have received from both the teacher and AP of Cherry Tree Elementary. On meet the teacher day, the teacher announced that there was a nut allergy in the class and presented us with a list of foods and told us we could only purchase from that approved list. The list contains only sugar and chemical loaded junk food, like Oreos, chips, and Pop-Tarts. I told her I normally do not buy those items for my child and I would be happy to bring in fruit, cheese, or another snack item. She said to send in the box labels, and I did, but instead of responding to those, she sent a curt note back the first day, rejecting my snack and saying : "raisins are not on the list", but did not give me any other options for what to send the next day. I called the AP and left a voice message at 10:40, which was never returned, so this morning I called again and said that since no one was working with me on what I could bring or calling me back, I would not send him to school until someone does. The Mr English, the AP just told me he would rather me with-drawl my child than work with me on a placement solution.
A perception of the new principal, as a micro-manager, has alienated a lot of parents. The entire atmosphere of this school has changed from warm and fuzzy to high tension. The newest I- Step scores for the third graders are very disappointing. I feel as if the new policy in this school is to ignore parents concerns and respond in a defensive manner when pressed. I think we have some good teachers (despite the loss of some seasoned veterans). Leadership sets the tone, and ours is off key at the moment.
My son has had a terrific experience in 21st Century at Cherry Tree. It's a perfect fit for his needs. He excels academically as a first grader & the program allows him to work at a 2nd grade level. This option allows him to be challenged academically, rather than bored in the traditional classroom. Even though he has tested into the 'Challenge' program for 2nd grade, he will stay in 21st Century. The group of 6 teachers in this program enables him to receive an education from a group rather than one individual. This mimmicks the educational environment that he will encounter in Middle and High School, and beyond. I am thrilled that he is adapting to this at such an early age. Each semester brings projects that incorporate the theme they are working on, complete with presentations to the class. I wish I had learned speaking skills at that age.
I have had 2 children go through Cherry Tree and neither of our children were in the 21st Century program. I have to agree that it does seperate the children, but at the same time so does junior high and high school. I hve noticed that both of our children have now become friends with some of the 21st century kids now that they are in junior high. 21st Century has a definite montessori concept and that works for some. Cherry Tree is a child centered school and they have something for everyone including those with special needs. Although Cherry Tree has had some changes over the past year or so. I find that it is a very open school and anyone coming from somewhere new will feel welcomed with open arms. Not all schools are like that,but I have say Carmel has great schools. A Mom
If I had my choice, I would go somewhere else. It is three schools within one and the kids never get to know their classmates. Each school stays with their group and never mingle. I have actually met families later to find out they go to Cherry Tree but are in a differnt 'school' within the school. Cherry Tree is always slipping in the ISTEP testing so obviously something is not working. 21st Century does not give grades. Traditional has some teachers that need to retire and I understand the Challenge changes its program from year to year. I would recommend reconsidering this particular school if you like your basic everyday elementary school.
My children have been in public, private and parochial schools since they were two. Cherry Tree has the highest level of values and standards that I have seen in any school. The 21st Century program is phenomenal and the principal and teachers made our move here worth everything. Children are encouraged, not ridiculed or punished for behavior and performance. All the kids love this school!