This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted June 16, 2014
- a parent
We are long time Garden School parents who now have been able to see the magic that goes on here. Not every second of every day but much of the time and the end result for so many of the students we have known for years, it that they are young people that you would really want to know. They are engaging, energetic, full of ideas, caring and often highly intelligent, free thinkers. V. happy with what we see and this is a long perspective lens on all good and less good that Garden School has to offer. Compared to other independent schools in NYC, it's affordable and if you look closer at the many specific offerings it is a savings for those who do a lot of enrichment activities for their children. There are students going for a prep level instruction as well as students who need more TLC in a classroom and there is no stigma either way. This school is a true asset to Jackson Heights and we have heard students thanking their parents for placing them in this school.
I went to Garden School from 1961 until my family moved in 1972. From Garden I was enrolled into Locust Valley High School. Where I was so far ahead of the other students I never picked up a book and got my diploma 2 years later.
Garden School says it's a small school doing great things. I agree. Great is subjective, but to me it means graduating students with a solid academic foundation, a strong sense of community and the confidence to think and act critically and independently. These values are not sexy or trendy. They just build responsible young men and women.
Having had my son at Garden School over 10 years I would recommend to any new parents to think long term with your child's education and not react so quickly if they have a dissappointment or the teachers or administration are not doing what you want them to do. They know what they are doing. I've trusted them (even though there were times when I questioned things) and now really see the results of their methods and experience as my son is an amazing teenager now and will soon be getting ready for college. He'll be leaving his Garden home as an independent thinker, caring and considerate person, and someone who understands the meaning of committment, long term friendships and trust, and has a great love of learning. This and more he learned by our Garden School family who has nurtured him, disciplined him and most importantly understood and challenged him to be a better citizen who cares about the world around him. Kids love consistency and thrive in a loving, accepting and challenging environment. This has been our world at Garden and we are forever grateful to them for it.
Teachers(most) and administration don't show care or concern. There are bullies all over the place. Administration likes you if you agree 100% with them. Students who transfer out are ridiculed and made to feel terrible. What's even worse is that they withhold official recordsif they catch wind that a child is leaving. When we left we had to practically beg for records!!!!! this place coould be so much better-but buyer beware!
We are looking forward to having our child at Garden School for a third year in a row. The school has a very carefully thought-out curriculum: it retains traditional elements where they make sense, and incorporates new idease based on research and common sense. I am constantly amazed at the systematically reinforced intellectual foundation that my child is building -- especially considering that the school also wisely allots plenty of time to gym, recess, lunch, music, art, science, projects and school-spirit activities. The school is immune to the fads that beset our public schools and even some independents. Every day you see the school's values of courtesy, kindness and respect played out not only among students and teachers but also with parents and visitors.
It's a great school. The academics are sound, the teachers are attentive. Because of the smaller classes, the teachers truly can be effective; the classes get a little bigger after 5th grade, but still they're a great size. Our daughter is happy and really learning, year after year. In addition to strong core classes, attention is paid to the aspects that so often get cut at public schools: art, gym 3-5 times per week, music. I see the older kids graduate and go off to good universities, and I hear back about how well they are doing. For a small school there is a respectable amount of extracurricular activity -- sports, clubs, etc. The social aspect, despite the occasional posting here by an apparently bitter former parent, is not problematic. I am not a pushover, and I know that discipline is important; I do see it addressed here when necessary, as at any school. Overall, I'm positively impressed by what this small school does.
Pervasive bullying abounds in this school. Tests from 6th grade onwards on almost a daily basis so there is no freedom from endless testing. School is not very clean. Administration takes responsibility for very little. They like to present the idea that they are efficient however look closely. This school has very small classes but guess why?