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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Central Park is a creative place for kids, full of life and learning, and with lots of parent and community support.
Central Park is a dynamic, community-based, parent driven and project oriented school. I absolutely love it!
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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