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724 Foster Street
Durham, NC 27701

School website
(919) 682-1200
(919) 683-1261
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Map of Central Park School For Child address.

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July 08, 2014
I have read the latest reviews and I respectively disagree with their perspective. This school is a safe haven for people who want an advocacy environment for their child. After being exhausted with the bureaucracy of Durham Public Schools, it is wonderful to be able to simply ask for what your child needs and have people who not only care, but who will work with you to figure out a way to get it. This school exemplifies the phrase, "where there is a will, there is a way". We need more schools committed to this approach.

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2014
Great teachers and philosophy but the Principal and Board have created an atmosphere that is hostile to any child and family that they feel is not "right" for their school. Staff who try to stand up are retaliated against. This is not a public school serving all children but an elistist private school using public dollars.

- submitted by a parent
December 21, 2013
Admin. more concerned with image than with effectiveness teaching. High EOG test scores more a reflection of the high socio-eco. status of students than of quality of education received here. No surprise that children with (non-school) enrichment opportunities score well on tests. This school is not producing high performing children so much as its collecting them out of a poorer Durham student population. School policies, such as not providing transportation, ensure school remains a safe haven for parents whose support for diversity is bumper-sticker thin. EC program- different director almost every year, high staff turnover, low training, little accountability. Durham parents of special needs kids choose the school for same reasons as non EC parents, they've prioritized social environment over education. Parents stridently trumpeting this school show how little understanding they have about how the environment they've created shuts out those different in terms of race, status, social ability or learning style. Read parent forum for open commentary by those who pulled their "non-conforming" kids out of the school. Great facade hides poor teaching, cliquishness, hypocrisy.

- submitted by a parent
November 01, 2013
My son received less than average education after kindergarten. Admittedly, he wasn't particularly motivated to please his teachers; preferred play to work. He's bright, funny, inquisitive... just not academically motivated. Administrators & some teachers responded by making it very unpleasant for him. He spent much time sitting in hall and was constantly reprimanded - even for slight offenses. He dreaded going. This had a significant impact on his self-image; he was the 'bad kid'. Once labeled, he didn't stand a chance there. (He's now a good, solid middle-school student; engaged & notably well-behaved.) In retrospect, I think CPSC discourages continued enrollment of poor or average students who are not particularly motivated (an effective technique for improving overall test scores). I agree with others: the School doesn't value diversity - they want one type of student. Not a place for happy-go-lucky, strong-willed little boys. Tends toward exclusivity, a place to send your compliant, high achievers. Yes, it should just publicly embrace their MO and go private.

- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2013
This school is phenomenal. The EC department is one of the best i've seen and we feel very fortunate to take part in it. You can really tell an amazing school by how many smiles you see on the parents and kids faces at pick-up and drop-off time...this is the place.

- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2013
CPSC is such an awesome school. My son loves it there so much. The teachers and staff are excellent and guide the children in a peaceful way and help them see their potential. It's a project based/hands on learning environment so the children are learning to learn, not just memorizing stuff. We feel so lucky to there.

- submitted by a parent
January 05, 2013
In response to this: " In subtle and not so subtle ways the director has created an atmosphere that is hostile to diverse families, especially low-income and EC children, and as a result there has been a huge decrease in diversity (literally less than 3% of free and reduced lunch children" Low income children typically don't attend the school b/c their is no bus transportation. And diversity isn't only skin deep. There are a ton of kids that have same-sex parents, single parents and other a-typical family models. That is diversity too. In regards to the statement about EC children, this school has a great EC program and thats why so many parents of EC children chose to go here.

- submitted by a community member
August 10, 2012
I have two children at this school. Staff and teachers are superior and care about the success of the children. Project based learning has fostered curiosity and exploration in learning -- my children love going to school. After school program is excellent. Take time to visit the school, talk to the teachers, and observe the classrooms. No school is perfect for every child, but this school is keeper!

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
We have loved the project-based focus of the schools and most of the teaching staff are talented and caring, and there is a dedicated core of parents. But as the reviewer has said, with the change in leadership a few years ago, there is no longer a commitment tto serve as a public school. In subtle and not so subtle ways the director has created an atmosphere that is hostile to diverse families, especially low-income and EC children, and as a result there has been a huge decrease in diversity (literally less than 3% of free and reduced lunch children). I feel the focus is more on making the school a "model" school to show off in public (and therefore being only open to "model" students) rather than serving as a public school that is open to and is dedicated to educating all of Durham's children and supporting families.

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
I knew it the day I stumbled into that school when my son was a newborn..."wow" is what I thought to myself. "This school looks awesome! I wonder if I could get my son in here?" I was delivering something from a previous job and that stop was made to CPSC. It was something about the atmosphere that I fell in love with. When I received the phone call 3 years ago saying that my son's name was drawn from the raffle I was more relieved and excited than I ever thought possible. Central Park has to this day lived up to my expectations. They are imperfect, as any school. But I cannot find one issue that makes me wish or even for a second contemplate transferring my son to another school. I love the atmosphere, the friendly smiling faces, the parent involvement, the kind teachers, but what makes it the best school is the comradery between the students, they are really a peaceful school. You will find this in no other school around. We are truly the best school. There is no other school that I have ever heard of that comes close to what this school wants to accomplish and does accomplish.

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
Our daughter attended a Durham Magnet School for Kindergarten. It was fine. We had no real complaints. Academically, she did well. The teacher was nice, yet she never felt comfortable in her own skin. In fact, she was often quite anxious & unsure of how to interact with other kids, and that was something so far beyond what one teacher of 28 kindergartners could even begin to address. We transferred to CPSFC for first grade and have been so thrilled with how she has just blossomed into a confident kid. Our younger child is there now too, and we just love it! We are so impressed with how much the teachers truly care about the kids in their classes & throughout the school. The small class sizes are fantastic. There is a ton of parent involvement, which give children the opportunity to build relationships with other adults. My kids are also learning to be peaceful & creative problem solvers, and to be participants in a community where they are truly valued for who they are.

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
This school looks great when you tour & the mission and philosophy on the website are what we were looking for in a school. Unfortunately, the current administration was not supportive our children and others we know. Bad decisions were made and our children suffered. The other thing we learned about charter schools is that there's not much of a means of grieving or expressing concerns when serious problems exist. There are some great teachers here and there are students and famlies that this school works for, but it is not for everyone and lacks diversity of thought that one might expect in a Durham school.

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
Just a comment about diversity at this school. The diveristy of the staff is better than at my local DPS school. (~1/6 of the classroom teachers at CPSC are of color, while at our local DPS school only 1/9 of the staff are). I'm sure this varies around the county, but that's the facts for our area. And as for student diversity, the current administration has actively been 'recruiting' to the local community in effort to increase diversity of the student population. But like all charter schools, they are beholden to take children via lottery. And since those appplying are overwhelmingly white, statistically speaking, that's what the school looks like. But this is not the fault of the administration, it's the fault of the charter school law. In fact, the charter school law also does not require transportation be provided, which is why charter schools are lacking in economic diversity. (This applies all around Durham, not just at this school.) So let's put our efforts into changing the charter school law and keep this great school as a model of what a school should be!

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2012
Not what it used to be! I posted a positive rating for this school years ago. Unfortunately, my opinion of this school is not good the same. The school should drop for children, as chidlren do not seem to be the focus anymore.

- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2010
Wonderful setting. Great parent and community involvement.

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2010
Central Park has a creative and nurturing environment. There's little emphasis on end of grade tests, but the kids generally seem to perform very well on them. I love that there's access to the outdoors, with walking field trips, gardening, and recess.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 12, 2010
Little to no homework, really tight parent involvement, comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces (not a typical painted-cement edifice), and involvement in numerous community activities make this an exciting place for parents and students.

- submitted by a community member
no rating October 11, 2010
There is just a great feeling in the hallways! John and all the staff really care about seeing the students succeed and have the expertise to make great things happen.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 10, 2010
It is such a wonderful project based school. The children are treated respectfully and as part of the team. Everyone is on a 1st name basis there. The kids have lots of outdoor time and every class has its own garden. They are very involved with the community. I can't say enough good things about it.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 10, 2010
Central Park is a creative place for kids, full of life and learning, and with lots of parent and community support.

- submitted by a community member
no rating October 10, 2010
Creative, hands-on, project-based learning.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 10, 2010
Central Park is a dynamic, community-based, parent driven and project oriented school. I absolutely love it!

- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2010
Innovative curriculum - great community

- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2010
I love Central Park School for Children because it allows children to explore and learn in their own ways.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 09, 2010
Project based child focused learning and a wonderful community!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
What a talented and dedicated group of students, teachers, administrators and parents. You are the BEST!

- submitted by a parent
July 22, 2008
We have been at Central Park for 3 years now and we have been completely satisfied with the program. My child actually misses school during track-out and summer break! The faculty is wonderful, and the children are encouraged to learn in different ways and try different things. In talking with friends who have children in the public schools (and private schools), I feel that my child is getting a more-rounded education at Central Park. While there is no 'teaching to the test' as there is at some of the public schools, CPSC has met AYP.

- submitted by a parent
June 12, 2008
Central Park School for Children is the best elementary school in Durham (public or private). My daughter has been there since Kindergarten and has just completed an absolutely amazing 3rd grade year. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten for the 2008-09 school year. The curriculum is excellent with it project-based, child centered approach, student are engaged and amazed. Music and art are intergrated into the curriculum. Parent involvement is encourage and welcome. This year the students did fantastic on the EOGs. This is definitely a school to watch because some absolutely amazing things are going on at Central Park.

- submitted by a parent
June 12, 2008
My daughter has been at Central Park School for Children since Kindergarten and we couldn't have made a better choice. I have another daughter starting this year in Kindergarten. The staff is excellent. The children love going to school. The curriculum is project-based, child centered with art and music integrated. In comparison to one particular private that has a similiar curriculum is wins hands down and it a public school! This year the students did an excellent job on the EOGs. This is a school to watch because something absolutly wonderful is happening behind those walls.

- submitted by a parent
August 05, 2007
We have been at Central Park School for Children since the first year. We have had an overall terrific experience. My child has made many great friends and performed very well for his EOGs. We will miss this community of parents and educators when we move on to middle school.

- submitted by a parent
July 22, 2006
This is a fantastic school. We couldn't be happier here. The academic approach is project-based, and student-led to an extent. Music and art are integrated into the classroom. PE is weekly but recess is daily (and most classes have another outside break time). Children are not sitting at desks for hours each day-- they're moving around the classroom and the school. Parental involvement is highly encouraged.

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2005
The Central Park School for Children is committed to nurturing and guiding the natural eagerness of each child to explore, grow, and relate to others. The school is founded on three principles: that children are naturally full of life, power and confidence; that the best available research should guide our methods; and that children develop best in a community where curiosity, challenges and learning are valued. The school will create a community of partners to guide, cherish and be amazed by the children. My child has had an incredible experience at this school. I would highly recommend it to other families.

- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: July 08, 2014

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Central Park School For Child
724 Foster Street, Durham, NC  27701
(919) 682-1200
Last modified Central Park School For Child is a Charter school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Central Park School For Child Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 32 reviews. Top