I am stunned that the last 2 reviews of CPSC, which mentioned key concerns at the school, have been taken down from this site. So much for accountability for CPSC or the Great Schools site. Or for freedom of speech!!! What looks great on paper or for new parents, will soon become more concerning the longer you attend the school. High and sudden turnover for associate directors who were well-loved and supported by parents and teachers should be significant cause for concern.
There is almost no homework aside from a half hour of reading a night. Some teachers will assign homework that is optional which is a good move away from the school platform but overall, the aversion to worksheets and repetition is detrimental to academic growth.
Central Park School for Children participates in the Peaceful Schools Program, a program that seeks to develop character and social skills in youth and prevent acts of violence in educational settings.
We've found Central Park School for Children to be a warm and caring school that supports child in her academic achievement as well as social/emotional and physical growth. The latter two are so very important and are unfortunately not an area of priority at many public schools. Central Park offers young children extra time for outdoor play and learning. Classroom lessons make space for creative thinking and problem solving together with classmates. Parents volunteer their time to enrich experiences by doing things like providing support for field trips for hands on learning (our child's class went on 6 or so last year) or cooking with the kids. We've felt that the teachers, aftercare counselors, and administration really care and work with the children's best interests at the forefront of all they do. This school does not teach to the test, but teaches to each individual child. While less rigorous than Pearsontown (another Durham school with which we have direct experience) in drilling technical lessons), the overall growth of our smart, confident, well rounded child at Central Park has exceeded our expectations. A much better fit for our child and our family.
I was a member of the first class to go from kindergarten to fifth grade at CPSC (graduated in 2009), and had an amazing 6 years while at the school. I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything. The school's original principal made it a top priority to have a diverse staff and a diverse student body. It was important to her that teachers of color would be hired to act as role models to less advantaged students. The student body was diverse, and kids came from all backgrounds. The class projects were captivating, and we were often plenty of responsibility and freedom.
However, it seems that the school has changed a lot since I've been there. As opposed to being around a 50/50 split of white people and minorities when I attended, white students make up 80+% of the school's population. Students who graduated years after me told me of the school's changes. Diversity seemed to be a stated priority, and Central Park is moving closer toward being just another 'progressive' private school masked as a charter, a la Voyager.
Although I had a wonderful experience at Central Park, it seems that it was a wholly different one than today's students will receive.
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.
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.
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.
Well said, parent reviewer on Nov. 1, 2013. I wrote the previous post on August 8, 2012. I don't know what the exceptional program is like now but my child did not receive adequate support. My "exceptional child" was once frustrated and cried a lot, is now a happy, confident "honor" student. I firmly believe that this is due to the support from a teaching staff and EC Department skilled in teaching diverse learners. I am no no way saying this is not a good school for some. If you have a "model" student, it's the place for you!
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.