This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Park School5
Posted January 18, 2014
- a parent
Park is a Progressive school with quality, innovative educators, a creative, diverse student body (preK -12 grade), a beautiful, expansive (34 acre) campus in a natural setting (pond, marsh, numerous playing fields), and a proud history. The head of school is a fantastic leader and has positioned Park well for the future. My children (one in lower school, one in middle) are thriving. HIGHLY recommended.
From 1969 to 2010 I taught at three different school systems in Western New York. For ten years of that 41 year career, I taught history at The Park School. I also served as the Director of College Placement and the Director of Upper School. Looking back on my career, I can honestly say that, philosophically, Park School was committed to having its learning environment conform to the nature and needs of its students. The overall goal of the Park School experience was to promote a long term disposition toward reading, thinking, and questioning. During my years at Park, I know that while its students were afforded an atmosphere of freedom and opportunity, this experience was tempered with the recognition that one had a personal responsibility to promote and protect the common welfare. My 35 year association with Park School has confirmed my belief that its philosophy, goals, and learning environment are most appropriate for children of all ages.
My son entered Park School in the first grade. The individual atttention he received within the small class size was immeasurable. Since he enjoys exploring and sharing his personal antecdotes, the Park environment encouraged this which helped to develop his confidence at an early age. Now as a middle schooler, his leadership skills truly shine. Thanks to those early years at Park, my sons confidence to share knowledge and contribute to classroom discussions has grown tremendously. Choosing the Park School was the best gift I have ever given to my son!
This was a progressive school with a caring community at one time. It has gone down hill year after year with constant administrative changes. It still has a great lower school environment with great teachers but things fall apart in the High School. There are no discipline measures put into practice even though they are clearly outlined in their handbook. Students speak out of turn in the classroom and harass other students while the teachers ignore what is going on. I think the teachers are afraid of the students themselves. If you are thinking of sending your high schooler here, spend the day on campus. You will be shocked by what you see and hear. Save your money (it's expensive!) and send your student to a public high school because it's the same kind of environment.
One thing's for sure -- Park School lives up to its reputation: It's an unabashedly left wing, progressive school. They have a great art program, terrific strings program, nice campus, warm community traditions -- and it really is a progressive, experiential education (with lots of social activism and political correctness along the way) . The culture is not one that fosters high achievement -- the freedom to fail is exercised pretty regularly amongst the student body. The facilities and campus need money badly, but it's pretty clear that there's not much of that to go around. Our kids had some wonderful teachers though -- teachers that truly cared, and taught them so much through real, hands-on education. We aren't there any more, but we were happy with the education they got, especially in the lower school.
Park is appropriate for a certain kind of student. The naturally competetive student, for whom intellectual challenge and rigor are necessary components of a healthy academic setting, might be happier at Nichols or Buffalo Seminary, at least for Upper School. Its size, financial troubles, and 'weird' progressive reputation are significantly hindering, and damage students' sense of pride in their school. Park is, however, the best coeducational day school in the Buffalo area for the student who needs a supportive community to excell. You can be successful at Park, but to do so you need to pave your own road.
Park School has been an amazing place for my children and my family. Our children love going to school and are being taught with care and compassion that public school lack. The project-based learning has given them a wider perspective on all subjects. At the open house we attended we were very pleased with the students we met and realized that when children are given the chance to be who they are without criticism they open their minds! The teaching staff is professional, loving and show real care in the individual child. The campus is beautiful and is is fully used in their education. Proof of the inportance of developing the character of the whole child is evident in every play, sporting game and assembly. Park kids are more social, educated and prepared for adulthood. We are extremely pleased with our choice of Park School.
I've sent two sons to the only progressive school in Western New York--they were both well-served by this wonderful school. My older son was inspired to go into teaching after graduating from Park. He went on to get a master's degree in early childhood education, and now is head teacher for 3 and 4-year-olds at a preschool in Brooklyn. My younger son is a senior at Park, president of student government, full of ideas and strongly motivated to go on to college next year. By the way, my husband, a successful attorney with his own office, is a proud graduate of The Park School. We always say we wish every child could go to a school like Park, where the teachers really get to know students as individuals, challenging, encouraging and supporting them at every turn.
Park School is a place where students are engaged in active learning. My children enjoy going to school each day. The learning is fun, they are required to think and be creative, and the community is a happy and accepting place. As a result, my children are enthusiastic about learning and feel confident in who they are. There is no pressure for kids to conform, so they can march to the beat of their own drummer. Park School does not participate in the battery of NYS tests, so learning does not grind to a halt for test preparation. My kids write a lot, and I am glad that the school emphasizes this skill. The campus is beautiful, the faculty are appropriately demanding, and the students are down-to-earth. I can't imagine sending my kids anywhere else.