This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Stevens Cooperative School1
Posted April 24, 2015
- a parent
Stevens was quite a disappointment for our child and family. Poor academics, rigid approach, and an administration that can be hostile to open communication and feedback. Before enrolling, we had read other negative reviews and wondered if that was because the parents didn t understand progressive education or they were isolated cases. They are not. Beware. Despite advertising as such, the school does not deliver a student-centric curriculum. The teachers adhere so strictly to their plans that there is very little room to nurture any individual talents in students. Instead, this progressive school delivers a one size fits all approach. And despite calling itself a Cooperative, parents are specifically discouraged from sharing opinions. Like many other reviewers here, we found that if we asked questions or in any way sought to give feedback, we were bullied by the school head into silence. Friends and family were appalled by the way we were treated, particularly when you consider the high cost of tuition. We luckily were able to move our child to another progressive school. The difference has been astounding. Don t fall for the hype. Stevens is NOT worth the money
As a parent, I have the following issues with Stevens some of which have been echoed by other posters here: 1. The new head of school, Sergio Alati, was meant to be the panacea for all ills at Stevens. Meet him for the first time and he appears charming and personable. Meet him in the morning at the Newport gym and he seems pleasant. But go to him with a problem and he becomes a big bully, ready with verbally assaults and full of aggression. 2. The school has totally lost its uniqueness and erstwhile positioning in terms of being a progressive education bastion and is right now struggling to differentiate itself to justify the high fees. Unlike the Montessori schools which have a well-established and proven teaching method, the Stevens approach is an amalgamation of vaguely worded methodologies borrowed from various sources. 3. The school does nothing to control the wayward behavior of some of the students. My daughter and many others in her class were repeatedly harassed by a particular boy in her class and the school did very little to teach him some discipline. I understand that children need to grow up naturally, but who wants a child that is totally out of control?
There are many things that excite me about Stevens - the leadership, the innovative curriculum, the integration of technology, the numerous trips and the sense of community but the most important is that each year it gets better. They do not rest on the laurels of prior success, each year things are added that enhance the quality of education. This year was latin, smartboards in the second grade and a music ensemble. My children are excited to go to school every day which I know makes it easier for them to learn and grow. I could not be happier.
We give this school a few stars because it isn't horrible but rather average and certainly not worth the money. In three years at the school, our daughter had to be tutored outside to keep up. In short, don't buy all the hype and really consider what you're getting. We were very insecure and unsure where to send our daughter when we came to NJ. The admissions department excels on preying on our fears and we got sucked in. Stevens needs all the bells and whistles to compensate for what it lacks. We've become wise since then.
Stevens Cooperative School continues to be a wonderful place for my kids! I am especially impressed with my daughter's middle school teacher this year. She has already set a tone of teamwork and collaboration that's transferring to my daughter's work and sense of community. I'm so glad we are there!
We moved our son from public school 3 years ago and Steven's has completely changed his life. He has found a supportive community and great teachers. He just started 8th grade and the high school guidance has been stellar thus far.
We were holding out and staying the last year in the hopes that the new principal would elevate the school. As nice as the principal is, we realized that no leadership can eliminate that Stevens is an average school. Stevens is more about hype and fluff than good hard academics. Since our background is in education, we know many kids that graduated from Stevens and they have no more of an edge over graduates from other schools both public and private! In fact, those outside of Stevens needed less hand holding and seemed more independent. Instead of being a unique experience with high quality academics, we found Stevens to be a cookie cutter experience with little diversity. It was not helpful that our children were overpraised for what we found to be mediocre work, effort, and attitude. We have higher expectations for our children and although over praising might be considered kind, it did little to stretch our children and bring them challenging experience. They will not be getting anymore of our money for encouraging kids to be average.
My child has been attending Stevens for the past 8 years. I first decided to apply to the school after I heard the eighth graders speak as I was very impressed with how confidently they articulated their positive experiences. I've been happy knowing that my child and many of the other children that I've gotten to know, uniformly seem to love being at Stevens. The children are motivated and have balanced attitudes. This enables a high percentage of graduating students to get accepted to an impressive array of super competitive NYC high schools. In all fairness, this is a progressive school and parents who want a certain traditional type of education are bound to complain. This was never the right fit for those individuals. It's important to recognize that no school can be all things to all people. The ratings here are obviously submitted by those with positive experiences versus those of disappointed parents who didn't get what they wanted.