The experience wasn't average but it wasn't bad. Overall I would consider it disappointing. The pick up/drop off line is the worst line I have ever seen and we have been in lots! It is dangerous there is little supervision and they desperately need a crossing guard on the street controlling traffic.
I agree the office staff is not welcoming. IMO office staff really sets the mood for the school.
My child made good friends and I can't complain there, but was glad to start at a new school.
We moved into the area and were told by so many people this was one of the best schools in Newburgh. This school was a huge disappointment. Office staff is unwelcoming and unfriendly. The teaching was sub-par (comparing to the previous school our child attended in another state), specifically, in the subject of math, but overall expectations were low across the board. The drop off-pick up procedure in the back of the school was an absolute nightmare. And the school itself is too full. If our child hadn't been moving on to middle school, we would have switched to another school in the area. I really don't care to leave negative reviews, but if another family is moving into the area and reading this, I feel like it's a fair assessment and wish we had known ahead of time.
When my child started the school year she was reading chapter books. However, after a few months in this school no longer is my child eager to read or go to a book store. This school shoves A/R goals and you are unable to read above or below your score (from one day of testing). Children are then are on their own accountability and availability of computers -told to test on each and every book they read. According to A/R the book Harold and the Purple Crayon is 3.0 meaning 3rd grade reading level. I don't think any child should be reading Harold and Purple crayon in 2nd or 3rd grade. Its all so subjected. So my child went from chapter books to picture books she read in kindergarten. Children in general should be gaining in reading levels each week however kids are only tested quarterly if that so they are limited to kiddie books etc. This system is failing. My child can't even read a book without asking "what a/r level is the book?" "I can't read that book" because of one schools approach to reading. Pathetic. This school is not open to change. This was just one of my many negative experiences with this school system.
Class sizes are way too big. There's an accident in front of the school every other week. Too congested in general. I had some awful, grumpy stuck up teachers at this school when I attended over 20 years ago. I do believe I received a good education here. It just seems like it's gone down hill since then with the overcrowding of classrooms. Can't receive the one-on-one experience when you have 35 other classmates.
We removed our child from Castle Elementary because of our awful experiences. The faculty and staff appear miserable. The office staff rarely greeted those that entered the office. I complained about this being a safety issue in September...WELL before the tragic events in Newtown, CT. The teacher did not seem to understand our child. Even told me that I did not spend enough time him. I am a stay at home mom. I don't understand where that opinion was derived. When my husband, a teacher in a nearby area, emailed the principal, asst principal and teacher to complain, no reply was received. After our child started to become physically ill at the mention of school (which, by the way, he was faking) we were forced to act. We needed someone who was willing to help us through these issues. When we switched schools, I expected a process to get my child to become comfortable. I was floored when on the first day at the new school, he hopped out of my car and trotted into the school like he was there from the first day. We will NEVER return to Castle schools. And, since our experience has become known by those around us, we hear MANY similar sad tales.
The class sizes are still an issue and the principal is horrible. The kids do get a well rounded education but the parent-teacher relationship is less than to be desired yet that comes with large class sizes.
Overall I believe we had a pretty good experience at Castle Elementary. We moved to this area because of this school's reputation, however we have been a little disspointed. I don't feel the atmosphere is very warm and welcoming. The communication between school and home leaves much to be desired. To be fair we have only been at castle for 2 years so it is possible that teachers in the lower grades are more friendly and communicate better with parents. In the area of academics we are completely satisfied and know our son received a good education. I just would have liked to have felt more of a connection to the school than I have felt. I also feel that class size is a huge problem. In both 4th and 5th grade my son was in a class of 30 students... way too many to get much individual attention.