I graduated from this school and now my daughter attends. The school is bright, cheery and fun. I cannot say I know the common Core curriculum beyond my daughter's grade but it has put a damper on the education process. This is not reflective of the school but of the curriculum from NY state. They are open to suggestions, eager to listen and receptive. The kids seem to be progressing well. My daughter is excelling. She is reading, writing and found first grade math. I have nothing negative to report.
My children graduated from this school unable to properly write in cursive or write a paragraph. We had to make up for a lot of lost time before my kids went to Middle School, where they are now on the High Honor Roll. Parents are catty, and there is an oppressive atmosphere at the school. The principal is all "show and no substance." There is bullying in the classrooms and on the playground, which is not addressed properly. Some boys were attacked on the playground by a kid with "issues" and they were told to forget about it! The kid who attacked them later got a Citizenship Award at graduation! The teachers are ordered to brightly decorate the halls, but the curriculum and teaching skills are awful. We are so glad to be out of this school.
Watson is an amazing school. The teachers and staff are nurturing and caring. The principal is attentive and involved in every aspect of each child's education. I have a had three children fortunate enough to go through Watson. Each child was a different student and yet each of their needs was always met not matter what level of learning they were at. The doors are always open to parents and their are plenty of opportunities as a parent to be involved. Their are two classes per grade with small class numbers in each. Their is a very high teacher to student ratio which means a lot of one-on-one time with each student. I feel fortunate to have had my children taught by the teachers at Watson.
Watson is a very creative school. The principal is responsive to parent concerns and the teachers are caring. One major drawback is that parent involvement is not encouraged except via PTA. PTA raises funds for some nice activities for the children, such as bringing in a circus in which the children can learn some performance tricks. Cute, but not what I think of as 'parent involvement' in my child's education. I would have loved to read to my child's class, visit for a talk on careers, help with a science experiment (or just watch), etc. But that is not permitted. Parents are invited in about 2-3 times per year for school-wide events. We are spectators from afar, but not really involved. I have never even had an opportunity to chaperone a field trip.
We have been very happy with Watson. Our daugher started there in second grade, and the transition went very smoothly. The principal was sensitive to our concerns regarding the transition and placed our daughter in a classroom with a more nuturing teacher. There is a tremondous emphasis on reading and the writing process at Watson, and creativity is strongly encouraged. There are several extracurricular activities for older children (for example: math olympiads, newspaper, intramurals, band), as well as homework helpers, etc. The school is small and family oriented, the teachers and principal know each child, and in our experience have been responsive to our concerns for our daughter (both academically and socially oriented). We have been quite pleased since our daugher started at Watson, and would highly recommend it!