This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted May 07, 2014
- a parent
The Neighborhood School is a dream elementary school experience. The community and culture is warm and focused on the children above all else. There is equal emphasis on academics as there is on raising socially aware and concientious human beings. I wish there was more music and art focus but Spanish is a huge plus and the all-school/family Sing! every month is a wonderful experience.
We are so grateful to have found The Neighborhood School, as our family has benefited tremendously from the collective wisdom of the adults there. Both of our children have had committed teachers who have created rich, challenging and engaging curricula. Given the singularity of the DOE's focus--test, test, test--this commitment on the part of the teachers and leadership at TNS is particularly admirable. The social studies curriculum is the focus of learning each year, and has totally engaged my kids (and impressed their parents). My 4th grade daughter is right now up past her bedtime listening to a podcast by a medical historian about midwives in Colonial Williamsburg, at her own insistence. This intense engagement with their school work is typical. This is good teaching! The literacy curriculum at TNS is rich and involves reading and discussing novels, poems, and non-fiction. The math curriculum has shifted this year to align with Common Core and the teachers are working hard to adapt it to improve its delivery. The "special" teachers in science, Spanish, and gym, and our librarian and art teachers also deserve special mention for their all-round excellence.
I love the Neighborhood School because the academics are rigorous, creative, and fun. Very hands-on, very progressive. The community is very diverse (much more so than that of the rest of the city's schools) and very inclusive--it has become a big part of our lives, in a great way. My two children learned to love learning there and have carried that with them.
I love this school's progressive philosophy that stresses collaboration, citizenship, teamwork and kindness. It's not just lip service, the way it is at many other schools -- it's woven into the fabric of the way the kids are taught. I have a graduate and a 4th grader, and we've been blessed with devoted, spectacular teachers (only one lousy one, who is no longer at the school). My kids are very different learners, and TNS has been great for both of them. I feel that their teachers really GOT them. I think the school does individualized learning really well. I'm very optimistic about the new principal, who seems totally competent and savvy.
No school is - or can be - perfect but I highly recommend this school. I read the below negative reviews but I currently have two kids in the school and another who graduated, including a child with an IEP, so I can speak from years of experience with multiple teachers and three principals. Except for one bad year (and the co-teachers are no longer in the school), our experience has been very positive. I find the teachers to be supportive and responsive. Of course, there have been times when I was unhappy about something but my issues were responded to and addressed. The community is socio-economically and ethnically diverse. The parent community is warm and welcoming. Each classroom is also set up to be warm and welcoming. Student work is displayed in the hallways and in the classrooms. I want my children to develop a love of learning, to be curious about their world, to be good thinkers and be confident. I think The Neighborhood School is doing that AND providing a great academic foundation.
TNS is a great school! mixed-age classes (just like in private schools). True model of progressive education and is supportive of the varied families - from the diversity in the student body, to the diversity felt in how people tend to view education and even testing. Our leadership supports the families that want to test their kids and equally supports families that decide to opt out of state tests. Kids don't learn by rote memorization - they learn by project work. New principal is looking to bring more technology into all grades - communicates well/frequently, open to ideas. Plusses: Spanish 3x/week, gym 3x/week, science program. Parents are welcome. There's community-oriented environment; teachers don't merely drums facts into kids' heads. Minuses: construction = no playground this yr. School purchased Imagination playground equipment to compensate. Fundraising is key and PTA is strong. Looking for an environment focused on the "whole" child and want your child to develop a love of learning, critical reasoning skills, and be challenged by their own set of standards vs what some other governing body is telling you your child should be measured up against? Choose TNS!
It's definitely a "progressive" school. If your primary concern is your kid's academic achievement, then The Neighborhood School is not it. The emphasis is on holistic/broader development of skills (not just measurable skills) including social skills, emotional intelligence, and communication skills. And, it does a great job for that.
The Neighborhood School is truly embracing of the individuality of each child, they support, nurture, encourage each child in a way that makes them want to be engaged, to participate, to learn and grow. Children are active participants in their learning and each activity, no matter how big or small offers a new teaching moment. Learning is active, rich, deep and interesting and while the school is not formal in nature, the school days are structured: each day starts with a meeting where the schedule for the day is discussed. Students work at group tables to encourage group activities, the mixed aged (bridge) classes allow the older children in the classroom to 'mentor' the younger grade children. The bridge classes also eases the 'ramp up' during the beginning of the school year, as the teacher already knows half the students in the class. This year a new Principal has been a dynamic presence in the school. We only hope we will be this lucky in our Middle School selection.
In an era when schools are "more segregated than ever" and according to the NY Times the biggest gaps in learning aren't based on economics, but on gender, I'm happy to report that the Neighborhood School is an inclusive, integrated and very diverse school that treats its girls as equally as its boys.