I am a parent of a student that has been attending this school for 4 years. Her first two years were pretty good, but when Lawrence changed all of the elementaries to magnet schools, her experience went downhill. Read "magnet school" as a way to redistribute low-performing children throughout the district. Last year her class went from the normal one or two troublemakers to 5 or 6. The teacher was trying her best, but was not equipped to deal with all of those kids AND teach them. This year has been similar. Academically, I feel like their curriculum has been dumbed down to the ISTEP. They have cut most of the enrichment down to 1 day per week (gym, art, music), and have done away with science (my child said that a few weeks ago she did the first science in 2 years). They have cut handwriting and spelling (they do vocabulary, but we have been told spelling is not really being graded for much). Many of the activities are very centered on a concept of global citizenship without much emphasis on American citizenship. I feel there is a definite bias displayed by the administration in the way they plan events and address groups of differing viewpoints.
Our oldest has attended Mary Castle for Kindergarden, 1st and 2nd grade. We have been very pleased with the school and his accedemic progress. He is a pretty average student however he has been helped so much by his class teachers and lots of other staff members. In first grade he was greatly helped by some informal speach lessons and with extra fine motor skills in 'the doodle club' (very clever) We also know some of the stretch students very well and they seem to be very happy with the program. They are appropriately challenged according to their personal strengths, Lastly, the principal is a real modivator she puts her heart and soul into this school, you can really tell.
What a fantastic school! The Kindergarten teachers are very attentive, and include parents in the education of their children. I love the way parents are kept advised of their children's progress, and my daughter has a really fantastic teacher.
Great school for preK. Our daugther is 4. The staff, kids and activities are nurturing, a broad socio economic and cultural mix that provide a good foundation aside from what parents do at home. Moreover we co-parent in split homes. Although the classroom performance and communication is targeted for 1 home I have made inroads to communicate with school, teachers and visit to school. That is a good thing if parents are split. Thanks.