Enrollment numbers are in a state of extreme decline relative to other Baltimore schools. Faculty and administration turnover is extremely high. The environment is negative and hostile.
Rather than acknowledge that these trends indicate extreme problems with the faculty and administration, the response is to blame students for not meeting the Park Model, which itself is highly rigid and peculiar to the whims of however someone decides to define "progressive education."
Too many of the remaining students left (approximately 10%) are faculty children who go for free, creating an unbalanced environment that others are expected to subsidize.
I am the parent of two Park School students. Both began Park in the lower school and are currently in the upper school. Park has provided a top-notch education for my children. What is most impressive is the way that Park supports the education of the students. The structure that is felt in each classroom allows for a partnership between the teacher and student. The teacher acts as a guide on the students journey - teaching the students about inquiry, advocacy, exploration and both independent and group learning. All while the student is studying math, science, English, history, modern language and the arts. These students develop a passion for learning that goes far beyond the classroom environment.
My senior is getting ready to graduate after being at Park School since first grade. I am thrilled to see her go off to college, and have no doubt that she will get into one of the amazing colleges to which she is applying (stayed tuned for an update!). When she goes off to school, not only will I miss her, I will miss our family's affiliation with Park. Her time there has helped her grow into the thoughtful, insightful, self-advocating learner that is so common amongst Park School graduates. I highly recommend this school!
I have never been in a school that values student driven learning like Park School does. Whether in the class, or on the athletic field, students are encouraged to be the best they can be, to dig deeper.
Park School is based on the principle that positive expectations lead to positive behavior. When there is the infrequent occurrence that doesn't align with this expectation, the student is treated fairly. Punishment is not handed down, but consequences are given consistent with the infraction, and always, always, in the best interest of the student and their growth.
Simply stated it's a great place for kids to learn and become educated as students and individuals. From the depth of the faculty to the expansive curirculum, every student has the opportunity and support to excel to their limits.
Of all the decisions I ve made as a parent, I regret sending my daughter to Park s lower school the most. Almost immediately, they began coming down on her really hard about a physical disability that never affected her academic performance before or since. It wasn t until late in the year that I found out, from a 3rd party, that my daughter s teacher yelled at her the most. Yelling at any child is reprehensible, but really? My sensitive, quiet daughter, who just lost her father? You re yelling at her THE MOST? She was also bullied by kids, but I think they were just following the teacher s and an administrator s example. Park wants the kind of kid that will respond to social aggression, not by crying, but by turning it on the next, weaker kid. Whenever I run into Park parents now, I always get a well-intentioned but condescending lecture about the dangers of ignoring your child s learning disability. So on top of harassing my daughter for a year, on top of the $25k+ I paid as a single parent, the school is spreading the rumor that my daughter has a learning disability. Make no mistake, this was no question of good or bad fit, Park s lower school is a toxic environment.
Though the middle school is decent, the lower school's rating pulls down the entire school. I have been at Park for several years, and the lower school has several issues. Though there are some good things, such as the Spanish curriculum and the fifth and fourth grade basic "themes," the administration can be completely oblivious to bullies and other issues. For example, I have encountered a bully that was attacking people and disturbing classes for three years before being stopped. I have had experiences where moderators are extremely thick and only believe the "victim" who normally doesn't have a good reason to go crying to the teacher, like they broke the rules of a game and the other players threw them out, or the times where kids are accused of "bullying" when only defending themselves from the real bully. There are some good things, though. The fourth and fifth grades follow a "theme" for parts of the year. For example, the fourth graders focus on ancient Egypt for the first half of the year and the civil rights movement for the second. The fifth graders focus on the middle ages the entire year. Go to the LS if you like taking a dice roll on the teacher you get. Good luck!