I agree with the previous poster. Safety seems to be a non-issue, which is definitely a positive characteristic of this school. But other than that, I think many families are fooling themselves if they think the students are getting a quality education. Granted there are some great teachers at Pine Lake, the vast majority are weak educators. Just because it's a "prep" school or "charter" school, does not automatically make the school a high educational institution and I think people forget that. There's more to a great school other than it's title. Just because you were chosen and "won" the lottery to get in, doesn't mean you also hit the educational lottery. My kids will be heading elsewhere.
The school is safe and the academics are generally good. Some of the administrative staff has some issues and they have promoted people recently who should have been fired long ago. Parents (mostly mothers with no life besides their kids) with money whine and create non-stop controversy and will stop at nothing to insure their kids are pampered or treated favorably inside the classroom and out. It's not a fun place to be as a parent unless you are rich and do not get involved with the bulletin boards. On the bright side, the high school seems to be producing successful college students and I guess that's the point if you can tolerate all the other noise created by parents who act like they are still in high school themselves and if your kid can get there.
Pine Lake is an excellent school. This being said, no school will please everyone, and no school has ever been perfect. Check the facts before relying on websites such as these. SAT scores, percentage of certified vs non-certified teachers, graduation rates, EOG scores etc are all available to the public. There is a low turnover rate of teachers (teachers who have been there 5 years or more is in the 85%+/- range) and I have never seen such a supportive environment for educators and students alike. When consisting your choices for schools in the area, keep in mind that your child may fit in at many schools, or may need a more specific fit. The saying "if you don't like it, you are free to leave" is both positive and negative in connotation. It is positive because you are a part of a charter on your free will and if it is not in your child's best interest to attend, you are welcome to choose another option. It is negative in that, without further explanation, it appears the door is being opened and you are being shoved out, which is never the case. Most employees will do whatever it takes to encourage success in all areas of a students life.
My son is in the LS and we have had a great experience. He has really excelled well beyond my expectations. The new head of school has really listened to the parents and has been working continually throughout his first year to make improvements. Communication is always a challenge (there is always a group complaining there is too much or a group complaining there is too little) but they are constantly working on trying to find the right balance. I do feel that if you go to a charter school you should contribute in some fashion by financial donations and/ or volunteering (which there are endless ways to contribute your time which include activities that can be done on nights and weekends), that is the only way a charter school can be successful. I also agree with other posts, if you are interested please read the basics of the charter so you know what the school is all about.
We've been very happy at PLP, with one student in each school. The classes are small enough that students & teachers all know each other, but large enough for students to find a good fit. The teachers seem happy to be a part of the kids' lives. The students are much better behaved than I have seen at other schools. Each time I see a performance or talent showcase, I am amazed at the wonderful students that make up this campus. I love the growing sense of pride at PLP. Although no school is perfect, I truly see the PLP community striving to make this school as close to perfect as possible. There is a real sense of collaboration and constant improvement that is rare at public schools. We feel lucky to be a part of this school and can't see any reason to leave. I am not sure where some of the negative remarks come from, other than from grumblers that would rather complain than get their facts straight. I have not seen any factual remarks on the low reviews. Before you choose to go to this school, I would encourage you to read the charter and bylaws, most of the negative reviews have to do with aspects of the school that are clearly laid out in those documents.
Where do I start: Lower School. Does the new administrator know any of the teachers in the lower school? Has he made any effort to get to know the teachers, students, and parents of the lower school? NO! I think there is way too much demand on parents volunteering. Way too many requests for teacher gifts, lunches, subs, and supplies. Teachers need to be consistent in their classrooms. Teachers need to teach and not give busy worksheets The tag-team teaching in the lower school I heard was a disaster but they are doing it again this year!!! The leadership in the lower school is weak I had to pick up tutoring mid school year and continue throughout the summer! Instead of the tutoring assisting with learning she is back to teaching the basics. When I submit requests to the leadership I am given flat out NOs with NO discussion. Those parents that volunteer 5 days a week are worshipped by the staff and leadership --- there are those of us that do have to work and when we cannot volunteer we are viewed upon negatively. Teachers to do carry the appropriate certifications!!!!!!!! All the $$ into new buildings....and for what? And the EC department -- SHAME!!!!
We have children at PLP in the lower school and the only reason I give PLP one star is because they seem to be getting a reasonably good education, although the new policy of only 20 minutes of homework until grade 5 seems ridiculous. I could understand in K but not in the upper levels Let me touch on a few areas: 1) Administration: This is one of the problem areas. Parents complain that adminstrators don't listen and nothing ever seems to get done at PLP. Problems are pointed out but not solved. . Also, there is so much turnover on the Board of Directors that I bet most parents could not name 1 member on the board. 2) Fundraising: Although some parents have money, asking Grandparents to contribute 10K to sponsor a room in the new athletic building sets the wrong tone. The fundraising group seems to be a group of self-picked elitist snobs who think everyone should give 5K or more to the school, even if you are a single parent 3) Communication: As mentioned before, if you asked most parents where they get their information, they would say from each other or from the parents Facebook page. Parents are often very confused and not told what is happening
We love PLP find some of these reviews laughable. With our new Head of School in place this past year was the best year ever! Trust in Administration, something seriously lacking previously, is quickly improving. The SAT comments are completely false...the most recent data shows that PLP is ranked FIRST in the Lake Norman area in SAT scores. Community Service hours have always been a part of our Charter and students and families are made well aware of the requirements if they bother to read the handbook or Charter. I love the uniforms and can't comment from personal experience about what happens if a student is not in compliance. However, I am certainly supportive of repercussions of some sort because there is no excuse for not wearing the appropriate uniform other than defiance from either the child or the parents or both. I'm sure you will find frequent requests for supplies, money, etc. at any school because unfortunately all NC public schools, especially Charter schools, suffer from lack of funding. Teachers are caring and nurturing and our children could not be happier. We love PLP and have complete confidence that our children are receiving a top notch education.
I couldn't expect any more from a school than what my children and our family has received at PLP. There are many people and families that are not happy anywhere, but much like life itself, PLP will take what you give (positive attitude, kindness, thanks) and return it in spades. My hat is off to Chris Terrell for being open minded, grounded, and full of both ideas and wisdom as to how to continue making Pine Lake better and better. Our history and performance speaks for itself: There have been CONTINUED ACADEMIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS, improved financial stability, streamlining of talented and credentialed APS (firing and hiring), improved athletic programs, and improvement of the grounds and facilities. And as for my children and the many other students that I know, they simply could not be happier. When my middle school son gets in the car and says "I just love school", I know that we are at the right place. For those families that aren't happy, consider becoming part of the solution if you have a problem, or finding another one of the great area schools to attend. We have a looooong waiting list who would be thrilled to become a part of our positive, thriving community...
In reference to an earlier comment, if you would like to check PLP's SAT scores, they are available through the state on a public website. The link is: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/reporting/sat/2012/satreport2012.pdf I believe PLP is found on p. 44 or 45. From what this shows, PLP scores are higher than Lake Norman Charter and the other local schools that I looked at. I have 2 middle schoolers and have been at PLP since the start. While it is not a perfect school, we have been very pleased. Please remember to fact check when information is thrown out in these comments!
Our family feels very blessed to be a part of such a wonderful school. The children are challenged and very well prepared. In speaking with other parents that have children in area public schools, PLP children seem to be working at least 6 months ahead of grade level. It is a caring, nurturing environment and my children could not be happier. The one time that we had an issue, we met with the lower school head and she quickly and efficiently handled our situation with a positive outcome. I feel very confident with my children receiving their education from this school. They are receiving a top-notch education and making life-long friends in the process.
I'm surprised at some of the negative remarks; while certainly not perfect, I think some negatives were people expecting a utopia of education, not a charter school experience. We've been at PLP for 4 years. I can see where some feel "maybe this is not the right school for you" is stressed by some teachers -- having a special needs child, I did initially feel this way by one teacher. I feel because it's a charter school, I had to "look" for resources (rather than have them handed to me) but they are definitely there, just like in public schools. We have NEVER felt ostracized for not being "perfect" like one review insinuated in their post. And I think the teachers are fabulous! Even when I disagreed with one, the head of the lower school willingly met with me and all of my child's teachers to correct personal issues -- I certainly didn't have to camp overnight to get a resolution :) Curriculum expectations, service learning hours, uniforms, no cafeteria, etc. are all laid out in orientation & when deciding to place your child here. If you don't agree with the curriculum or guidelines, don't choose that charter school. Each charter is different; find one that fits your family.
We have been at Plp for 5 years, been at lower, middle and upper schools. We love this school and would not ever change! My kids have thrived here; the faculty and staff are incredibly caring and expect the best from their students. The administration has always had an open door policy. No school is perfect but this is as close as you can get. My US kids will be more than ready for college!
My school is Pine Lake Preparatory We were fortunate to have started 1 of our children into the school during Pine Lake Prep s second year of existence with the other 2 following the yr after. It has been a great experience and I have been overwhelmed with how the teachers have always been extremely kind and helping every time we have needed to interact with them including field trips and after school activities. After seeing some of the other reviews, this seems to validate that people always get what they are expecting or allow into their experience. Maybe if something negative happened one time, others just expected it after that and then kept on looking for it. We will continue to expect only the best out of this school, and I am sure our children will get that experience as well as ourselves. My only concern has always been the parking and arrival/departure headaches, but it is still worth enduring that for this school. Now that the activities building has been completed, I am also hoping to see a cafeteria add on to compliment that structure and expect to see that soon for continued campus growth. This is a blessed institution and we feel blessed to be a part of it.
I am shocked to see any negative reviews at all! My three children have been at Pine Lake for 5 years now and we couldn't be happier. Of course, it has had it's ups and downs. However, I am beyond thrilled at the level of education my children receive. The atmosphere is phenomenal for students and parents. It is a close knit family and I have made many great friends here myself because I am involved. I have felt completely free to speak with any of the Heads of School anytime I have ever had any concerns. My concerns were met with serious thought and discussion and always had a positive outcome. They have been very accommodating with any issues that any of my children have had. We truly hit the lottery when we got in. I can not even imagine having to send my children anywhere else!
This school has major problems. When the administration changed, the school went downhill quickly. The ridiculous rules about service learning hours have been mentioned elsewhere, as has the useless senior pride project. The revolving door of teachers means students are rolling the dice each year as to whether they are going to learn anything. Parents are scared of the heads of schools and will not make waves because they know their children will be punished for it. One of the other parents mentioned the SAT scores. The SAT scores at Pine Lake are pitiful; so bad that the school finds it necessary to give students the ACT instead of trying to fix the problems. At all levels they tell you if you don't like it, leave. That is why the school is left with a group of underachieving students who were problems at their prior schools and are dumped into Pine Lake just because they were able to get picked in the lottery. I find it interesting that the one parent who gave the school a positive review also mentioned disciplinary problems with her children, which is commonplace here. This is probably the worst charter school in the area and parents are wise to look at other options.
Poor teacher quality, arbitrary rules and useless staff members have contributed to the downfall of this institution. Simply put, students are not provided with the necessary skills to attend college. The extensive homework requirements are acceptable only if the students benefit, which they do not. As another parent stated, I too have been extremely disappointed in the SAT scores which are directly attributable to the poor teaching quality at the school. The administration either does not know or does not care that there is such a large amount of dissatisfaction among the families of students attending Pine Lake. The strong mentality among the administration and staff is that perhaps if you can't achieve here, you should leave. They attempt to set the school up as a school of distinction, which it is not. You are chosen to attend simply through a lottery. My child will not be attending the distinguished university at which I teach simply because of our family's choice to send her to Pine Lake. I urge other parents to take a close look at alternatives as this school was a very bad choice for us. Such a simple decision changed my daughter's life in a very negative way.
My child has been at Pine Lake for 6 years. Every year she has had new teachers who have just graduated from college. Sadly I have to rate the teacher and Principal leadership with at least one star; it should be a negative one!! Pine Lake seems to treat teaching as an experiment, where they just try out a different group of teachers every year and see how it goes. Clearly a bad idea! Likewise, they come out with rules for unknown reasons. Uniforms? Whip out your Visa and prepare to spend big bucks or risk having your child required to pick up trash outside of the school like a prison work crew, I kid you not. Service learning hours? Just wait for the daily email from the school telling you what work your child can do for the school to obtain these hours. The teaching is absolutely terrible and teachers must think they are judged on the amount of homework they assign. This school is more like a priso than a school. A parent should not have to send their child to Sylvan so they learn the basics. We are sending our daughter to a private school hoping that it is not too late to undo the damage done by Pine Lake. We too are running away and happy to be doing so!
It is clear that one of the parents who posted is part of the small group who are favored by the administration. To say that the Head of School is open to feedback is ridiculous and patently untrue. There is not a small group of negative parents at this school. There is a large majority of high school parents who are leaving in droves because their children are not receiving the education they need or deserve. Parents are not at all vocal because they are so scared of the impact their comments may have on their children, as has happened in the past. The SAT scores are so low that the school refuses to post them. The very worst decision our family made was to enroll our children at Pine Lake Prep. The teachers are so inexperienced that they are an embarrassment to this educational institution, if I can call it that. Their lack of attention to detail means a parent has to constantly monitor edline to assure their child gets credit for their work. It is a full time job. We too are running away from Pine Lake and will not miss the constant battles, useless rules and regulations, and the insanity that is rampant at this institution. Believe me, your children deserve better!!
I just finished eighth grade at Pine Lake and I absolutely love it. The teachers actually put in effort to help us and are very supportive. The sports teams this year made it to 8 championships out of the 10 sports we offer and we will only get better once the gum is built. There is also a great sense of school pride here. I also agree that just because there are a few people who disagree with me doesn't mean that it is an awful school at all. Just because the work load is more than other schools also doesn't mean that it is a bad school it just means that they are trying to challenge us. I have talked to many graduates that said that they felt very prepared for college unlike people who went to other school in the area. The purpose of the Pride project is to have us with at least a guide line of what we want to do once we graduate and to prepare us for college. I intend on staying at Pine Lake until I graduate and cannot wait for high school.
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