All I will say is the difference between Ardrey Kell and Providence is that at Ardrey Kell it isn't all about the principal, David Switzer, and what is best for him. At Providence everything is all about their principal, Tracy Harril and what makes her look good and how much money we can bring in based off of test scores, forgetting all about the student's well being. Some may say that it has to be stressful in order to prepare for college, well AK does it with half the stress as Providence and it shows in parent reviews and test scores because AK beats Providence at both.
I am a former parent at this school as well as being a former substitute teacher with a Master's Degree and an alternative certification in teaching from another state. I moved to the south Charlotte area, some 45 minutes from my studio, to ensure my last 2 children would receive a quality education in the CMS school system. My older 3 children had been educated at some of the best private schools in the South East and had managed to earn scholarships to Hampden Sydney, Penn State and the College of Charleston....that being said, I have to agree with most of the postings on this site. I found the administrators' to be rigid, inflexible and more concerned about their "standards" and maintaining their scores than educating . I finally pulled my sophomore (top 10% of his class) out after watching his mental health take an unexpected turn...He was stressed and felt like a failure. Since that time, my 17 year old is a senior, with a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina, Ms. Harrill and the the guidance dept at Providence have no business educating in the Public School System.
I agree with many of the negative reviews here about Providence and the administration. However, I do not agree and think others should not be misled that if you have a top academic performer your child will be fine. My son was/is a top student and now in the Honors College at the university he attends. However, the vibe, culture, feeling, whatever you want to call it at PHS is damaging to the the very best students as well as the above average or average student. High school should have a little joy in it and so little exists at PHS. The culture is unnecessarily legalistic and the administration can not see the forest for the trees when it comes to the students. My son says his Honors College classes at his top knotch university are easier than Providence! It's not supposed to be that way! My biggest regret was not realizing sooner that PHS didn't have my child's best interest at heart and moving him to another school.
Last year was my 6th year with a child at PHS. It continues to decline and will continue to do so as long as the administration cares more about the school's reputation than educating students. This attitude comes from the top down and has permeated the ranks of the teachers. Of course there are some good teachers and for that I am grateful. My kids were top students and quite involved, but I realized when my oldest went to college how damaging the school's culture was to my child. She has been "taught" that a teacher is her adversary, not her advocate at PHS and we have had to undo this mindset as in college (and at most high schools) teachers actually want to help kids succeed and happy to discuss how they can do that. Thankfully, my youngest has asked to go to a different school and we are done with Providence. My advice is to avoid this school if at all possible.
My daughter attended West Mecklenburg as a freshman and sophomore. I got a new job in the South Charlotte area, which means she had to transfer to Providence. Considering it seemed to be a better environmental area, I was hoping Providence could be even better. It was an awful experience. My daughter was constantly bullied physically, her iPhone stolen, and administration looked the other way about all of it. I have learned that the South Charlotte area, and this school are NOT better environmental areas. If you are not a white, rich, and over-achieving person everyone is expected to be, you are looked down by many. Although West Meck had a bad reputation, it was a wonderful school and so was our apartment. Never judge what the majority say, usually it is not true.
On the surface this school looks great, but the reality is very different! Everything you see in the other posts about the school being inflexible is true. The administration is a nightmare to deal with. The teachers think they are great, but the truth is they aren't very good and they don't deserve to receive the credit for the high scores that come out of the school. (The high scores are tied to the socio economics of the school. The students come into the school already smarter than most, the school does little to contribute to their ability. In fact, if anything, the school hurts many students because they really don' teach, they just assign a heavy workload. Students hire tutors to learn the material.) The school district administration has not come down on the school because the test scores are so good, but really, this place needs to be overhauled so that these wonderful students get a better education and actually enjoy their high school experience.!
This school is fine as long as you start here freshman or sophomore year. Junior year is intense, but if you have been at Providence since freshmen or sophomore year , you will be able to adjust to the workload because it gets gradually harder every year. This school is not as bad as the comments are suggesting. It is actually a great school, which offers many great classes that would not be offered elsewhere. It does have a few issues though: it is not very diverse(at all) and a handful of the teachers are horrible and lazy.
Providence is a great and challenging school. It's not easy but it is worth it. The teachers and administration are always willing to help and guide my children. There is a TON of extracurricular activities for any student from athletics to fine arts to academics. There are the "normal" high school things that go on but the administration handles any such things immediately, effectively, and fair. It's a good feeling that I always know my children are safe, cared for, and well educated.
Update: This school epitomizes what is WRONG with the US free public education system. Long story short, my child was pigeon-holed as a low performer, failed twice by a teacher in a subject both his father and I are well versed in teaching on a University level. Our child had self esteem issues stemming from his attendance at this poor institution. Our child was at risk of not graduating from High School. Today, after a new school and some amazing administrators at his new school, our son is not only on the A honor roll, but has been invited to attend 4 prestigious NC Colleges, in addition to an invitation into a nationally recognized honors organization for High School Seniors. Follow your gut when it comes to your children and do not let any so call professional pigeon hole your child's future for ANY reason!
FINALLY removed my child from this school after 2 years of empty promises and a facade of caring administrators. Been in a new school for 2 semesters and love it. Have a new found faith in education and can't express how much happier and production my child is. If you are considering PHS, words of advice; if your child is naturally a high academic performer you should be OK, the administration caters to these students. In fact they rely on them to pad their performance reviews. However if your child is an average student looking for a nurturing environment or you are looking for a 'family' oriented experience, this is not the place for you.