Potential parents and students: notice that all positive reviews are grouped around the same dates; administration is known for rewarding students and parents who post positive reviews. Pine Lake Prep has severe issues when it comes to preparing students for the future. The teachers are all new each year and the turnover is extremely high. Very few possess advanced degrees or certification. The school holds itself up as much better than other alternatives but in reality the class sizes and lack of facilities make it inferior to other area schools. I had three children in Pine Lake and was lucky enough to have them transferred to another area prep. During the time that my children attended, there were constant requests for money and disagreements with teachers concerning missing assignments, which I verified as completed. The teachers are overwhelmed in this environment and work nights and weekends to try to keep up; many of them fail to do so. I attempted to raise my concerns to the administration only to be ignored. Scores are pitiful; learning environment pits parents against educators and makes for a very stressful relationship. My advice, skip this school!
I have 2 children in the LS at Pine Lake. My heart fills with joy each time I go into the school and experience the wonderful environment both my children are privileged to be a part of each day. They are both challenged but not overly so. We all feel a sense of community with the students, teachers and administration. I think it's a great school and I would recommend it to anyone who wants an alternative to their public school.
Noticing that 5 star reviews barely give substance and have pattern of defending negative reviews. Where's the beef? Some observations: PLP is not like private, independent prep school (although hoped it would be since it's free). It's public school w large classes; many cases larger than CMS. There are many inexperienced teachers here who lack understanding of educating children. Not seeing deep resumes you might expect. Facilities are beautiful but outdoor spaces for lower school leave a lot to be desired including narrow dirt pit they call a playground. School's Spanish teacher left suddenly mid-year, not a good sign. My child has not had ability flourish with attempts to standardize children and not celebrate and embrace each child's uniqueness. The lower school 745 start time (dropping off in dark) causes exhaustion, requires a 7pm bedtime for a successful school day the following day + little time for family. School for parents who want to impress the layman by appearing that their uniformed children are in an actual private school. From an insider, the focus is unending fundraising and adults, not children. Wanted to love it, but seeking alternatives.
As a student who went to PLP from 8th grade, worked with kids in the lower school and graduated I could not have asked for a better place to learn and grow. PLP offered so many opportunities and experiences for me. Yes some if the teachers were not the best but that is at every school and they were let go at the end of the year. I had teachers that changed my life and I am still in contact with to this day! I have always felt comfortable with all my teachers and the principals and knew in could talk to them at any time. If you are not a student at Pine Lake you do not know how it feels to go there, that school prepared me for college and helped make me into the person I am today. I could not have asked for a better place to learn than Pine Lake Prep!
My children went to PLP for elementary and middle school until we transferred. I'm disheartened to see the poor reviews. The small size with numerous amenities is truly uncommon in the public sector. I would read negative reviews with a grain of salt. I am not saying that PLP is perfect but I am saying my kids learned a lot, were nurtured/ treated well, and thrived. If it was not highly regarded then there would not be long wait lists. For 2014 PLP had the highest SAT scores in the Lake Norman area/Iredell County.
My daughter is a first grader at Pine Lake and started in Kindergarten. We love this school. She has had two wonderful, caring and exceptional teachers. She loves her school, AP's, environment etc. She is always challenged and encouraged. There are many things this school offers that other local schools do not. My father was a teacher and coach and we dealt weekly with complaining parents that don't hold theirselves accountable for some of the things their children do which I think plays a great deal in to some of these comments. I would suggest taking a tour, talking to parents and teachers, be your own judge. I hope you find a school- here or there that helps your family as much as Pine Lake does ours.
Tour school; pay attention, students look like hollowed out versions of children. As reward, children may ride 2nd-1st floor slide, BUT instructed not to make noise, example of PLP's warped sense of children. K students confined to classrooms most of day resulting in high frustration levels. No behavior warning system, children get sticker or not, not knowing when hammer will drop; signals PLP doesn't understand child development. Principal advertises having worked in Kuwaiti schools, school has that vibe. 'Academic Partners' is a misnomer for teachers here. Communications mostly one-sided, once difficult question posed, communications cease or issues skirted. Teachers/admin cliquey. The 'library' is ~8'x10'; if focus is academics, why not build a library before gym or turf field? PLP 'prep' in name only. Philosophy of strictness, humiliation & insensitivity equals 'prep' to PLP. Actual prep schools have tried/true 'educators.' Confidence-building, exploration & encouraged growth are true cornerstones of a prep school education. PLP relies on false sense of quality surrounding charters w/ attitude 'if you don't like it, leave.' Look deeper past phoney 'prep school' facade.
My son started PLP in 1st grade in its inaugural year. He is now in 8th grade. My other son started at Kindergarten and is now in 3rd. Overall, I really like PLP. I like the small size and community feel. My older son is doing quite well at PLP and I feel that he is getting just as good (and perhaps a better) an educational experience as he would at a public school. I just prefer that he not be at a massive school with all of the issues that come with that situation. I most likely will continue with him at PLP until graduation. My younger son is a different story. He has a gifted IQ, but has diagnosed issues with focus and impulsivity. He does not qualify for any special accomodations because he is making good grades, but I am not confident that the grades are a true reflection of what he is actually learning. As a public charter school, PLP has the necessary components in place to support accomodations but it is a college preparatory school with an accelerated learning program. If your child struggles with any sort of educational disabilities, this might not be the school for you.
I have twin girls who were lucky enough to get into PLP last year for first grade and then their older brother got into seventh grade this year. The teachers took the time to get my son acclimated to seventh grade and they have all emailed me and kept me updated on his progress. We never got so much attention at Bailey with over 600 sixth graders. Pine Lake is like one big family and they all look out for each other. The lower school teachers have been just as nice to my daughters. We pay for Olympic transportation to pick my three kids up every morning and take them to school and then we use the buses at Pine Lake to bring them home. There are ways to alleviate the headache of drop off/pick up, but you have to look for them. A Pine Lake education is worth it to me. We could not be happier!
Pine Lake Prep. is a good school with a safe environment. The other community members who reviewed Pine Lake never attended the school and these reviewer's could use some work on their grammar. For a school system that receives only 2/3rd of the funding the public schools get, we manage very well. From a parent who has children in Pine Lakes elementary, middle and upper schools.