My son attended VOICE from Kindergarten to Third grade. We definetly stayed two years too long.
Before I get into my issues, I want to say that my child always came home happy and always looked forward to going to VOICE. They are very safe, and treat all kids equally and do not tolerate bullying.
Kindergarten and half of 1st grade were great; however, the school did not live up to its mission statement. My son struggled in writing and they did absolutely nothing for him. In the 4 years at VOICE, I only saw 1 test because I demanded it. And to see that test I had to go in during business hours and sit in front of the asst principal and then hand her back the test (so I wouldn't steal this 2nd grade test or something) Below is my feedback:
1. Lack of communication: I was left in absolute darkness except when it came time to review the report card twice a year. There were no notebooks, exams, results or progress notes.
2. The school is extremely strict and has dozens of inexperienced frightened staff. They lack empathy for the parents and have a response already prepared before they hear you speak.
3. In 2nd grade around April my son got a notice stating if he didn't go to summer school he could not return. They use intimidation tactics that are tacky and premature. I asked them how can to u assume that he will not improve in 2 more months? They didn't seem to care.
4. Never got tests, but got reminders to pay the lunch bill timely. If only they put more effort into communicating with the parents about actual academics.
Overall, the school was ok, not as good academically as I would have hoped. I am concerned that my child will be behind when he starts 4th grade in another school.
If you have children with special needs, don't even think about sending them to this school. As another commenter noted, their main tactics are to isolate and suspend. There were days when my son spent more time in the "recovery" room than he did in the classroom. They do not have the resources to work with kids who are struggling I feel much more supported at our local public school (PS 166). Even if my son had been able to adapt to Voice, I think he would have been happier at a well-run public school. Voice is a bad combination of rigid and disorganized. The school day is long and tiring for kindergarteners, with an emphasis on formal instruction. There are no extracurriculars. Communication often misses its mark, and school events rarely run smoothly. The teachers (young, earnest, trained in progressive methods) mean well, the principal is well-spoken and pleasant, but they are caught up in a system that does the opposite of what it claims to do: stifle creativity.
Yes they are academically rigorous but they are very militant and often lack empathy with the children. They pressure children to perform in the state tests and the children feel very stressed out. They over emphasize state testing and under emphasize effort. If your child is really giving their best effort and if that does not translate into high enough scores, the school will be pressuring you at every turn.. Not recommended at all to any parent who is looking for a school that maintains a healthy balance between academic rigor and a caring environment for children.
My school is VOICE. I have two children in the school and I am very pleased at how much they have learned and how cooperative and supportive the teachers and staff are. They are all very involved and make the success of the children, their number one priority. I have always felt that they are interested in working with the parent as an integral member of their team. They have daily music classes, art classes and PE a few times a week and the kids are engaged.
Voice is a special school, personal and very attentive to every child. Mr . Headley demonstrates his care for parents and children, the school introduces treaching with music. Care, purpose and creative ways of learning . I rate this school an A plus.
Our son has been at Voice since its first kindergarten class (now in 5th grade) and our daughter started there two years later (now in third). We love the school's philosophy as well as the helpful can-do attitude of its teachers and staff. The teachers have been almost uniformly excellent, always clear in their communications with us and willing to try new things in order to foster each individual child. When our son exhibited some physical difficulties with writing, they were quick to offer OT/PT to help and to offer an assistive device (keyboard) as well. The one teacher we were not crazy about was eventually not asked to come back (try *that* at a union-controlled NY City school!). Overall I think VOICE is an excellent school -- not perfect by any means (what school is?) -- but much better than our locally zoned NYC public school and it holds its own with the other charter schools in Queens.
I beleive that the core of a school's success ultimately depends on the vision of its leader-the Principal. And I have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Headley, the Principal has all the qualities of a great leader with an incredible knack and passion to bring success about success. Mr. Headley listens to your concerns and makes it a priority to resolve any problems that you may have. The school has been really good at expanding extra-curricular activities that expose my child to so many learning opportunities. I am very glad that my child attends VOICE! If you care about your child's education, and are a responsible parent, VOICE CS is the right school for your child/children.
My child just got accepted to the Voice school. Can any parents who currently have their child in the school give us a little more insight as to the combination of academics and music guidelines and overall if they are very happy with their child attending the Voice school? Thank you kindly.