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Public charter
Wilmington, NC
Students enrolled: 372

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2525 Wonder Way
Wilmington, NC 28403

School website
(910) 362-0000
(910) 362-0048
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Map of Cape Fear Center For Inquiry address.
March 24, 2014
Most of the teachers go above and beyond for the kids. The Ec dept is an awesome group who work really hard to make sure the kids get what they need while still being productive in a regular setting. The administration seems to care more about being a social butterfly than ensuring the safety of the kids. Often there are no crossing guards in the mornings for walkers. Rules are not always followed or enforced. I rate it a 3 due to many safety issues and administration's lack of concern about it.

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2013
Cape fear center for Inquiry has been an amazing learning environment for you three children. The each have a love for learning that I would never have imagined. We are bless to have such general Ed teachers and EC teachers are suburb and the teachers assistants are qualified teachers.

- submitted by a parent
July 15, 2013
CFCI is hands down the best choice I could have ever made for my child. The staff are caring and understanding of each child which makes them more like family. Parent involvement is greatly encouraged and often happens without teachers even asking! Great community and the best students. Teachers who instill confidence, compassion, and intelligence of the children here are what make CFCI flourish!

- submitted by a parent
June 03, 2013
We transferred our daughter via lottery selection from a Title one public school in the 2nd grade last year. She is now in 3rd grade at CFCI. It has been the BEST decision we have made towards her education. She went from being just BARELY at grade level to above grade level in just the 2 years she has been there. She continues to improve everyday. The teachers are AWESOME!!!

- submitted by a parent
June 03, 2013
We tried to get into this school since before Kindergarten, because the reputation in our community is outstanding. We finally were able to "win" the lottery for first grade, and have been here 2 years. The progress my daughter has made is amazing. I cannot believe how she reads, is able to compute math problems in her head, and relate to her peers with kindness and caring. The director and teachers are outstanding and always available. This free, public school is one thousand times better than our most expensive private school in the area - I am so thankful we are able to attend. I know we are setting our child up to be a wonderful scholar and lifelong researcher and learner!

- submitted by a parent
June 03, 2013
The social curriculum and wonderful community is what keeps us at CFCI. The teachers have much more freedom at this school to implement the academic curriculum which can be wonderful or a detriment depending on the teacher. The students keep the same teacher for two years until 6th grade. This was wonderful for K-1 but I think the kids could benefit from switching teachers every year after that. The small class sizes and no cafeteria are a plus!

- submitted by a parent
January 10, 2013
I love this school!! Both of my children are students here. The sense of community and students, parents, and very importantly teachers are wonderful. In our so far 9 years with CFCI there have been NO major complaints that I as a parent have had, and the minor ones were addressed, resolutions to problems actually occur here. If you are looking for a school with a strong sense of community and the best teaching programs in our area, this is it (for us, anyway).

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2012
This school has done an excellent job of creating a nurturing cozy environment while also challenging students to think independently. Test scores are fantastic here despite the fact that they do not "teach to the test". There are no textbooks and there is very little homework, but students here are prepared in ways that are rivaled only by the two best private schools in town. The social curriculum emphasized over the first 6 weeks creates a respectful and cooperative bully-free environment, perhaps aided by the fact that all of the children at CFCI are there by choice. It lacks the large sports facilities of other public schools, but it does have a gym for PE and band performances. There is also first rate support for "exceptional" children, i.e. kids with ADD or other similar issues. This is essentially a private school experience without the expense.

- submitted by a parent
July 08, 2012
This school is amazing! Every child is cared for, and the kids are so nice. The classes are small, so the teacher can really concentrate on each child's learning. The teachers are kind, and know how to teach the fun way. It's a little advanced in learning, but both my children (on now in 10th, and one in 6th) were able to catch right up. I definitely recommend this school to everyone.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 24, 2010
I love that my children are valued as individuals & that teachers are able to have the freedom to bring out the best in the kids!

- submitted by a parent
April 21, 2010
I love the inquiry based way of learning, my children are thriving there.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 06, 2009
Cape Fear Center for Inquiry has been a wonderfully positive experience for our family. Smaller class sizes, constant communication between teachers and families, achievable goals, and a learning environment where kids can fully explore the topics that interest them all combine to make this a school that I would highly recommend to anyone.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 03, 2009
Why my family loves CFCI ... The small class sizes allow for more individualized teaching/learning; students are taught to think critically and learn through inquiry (ask questions and research the answers); all students participate in Spanish, art, PE and music; the social environment is one of team work and kindness; and the teachers and staff are incredibly devoted to their students!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 20, 2009
The classroom sizes are small so individual attention can be provided and kids are able to learn at their own pace while staying within the curriculum standards. We have several 'specials' classes - art, spanish, music, computers - for which I'm very thankful in these days of budget cuts.

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2009
The Cape Fear Center for Inquiry does a wonderful job at keeping children interested in learning!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 19, 2009
Cape Fear Center for Inquiry nurtures and develops kids' interest in learning and wanting to know more. The school turns out responsible, considerate and knowledgeable young adults.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 18, 2009
Cape Fear Center for Inquiry is the best school ever! Inquiry based, hands-on learning helps our students succeed.

- submitted by a parent
August 07, 2009
My child attended CFCI for the first year 2008-2009.High marks for the safe and respectful atmosphere that my child experienced. There is no tolerance for fighting, cursing, drug use, gang activity, or other adverse environmental hazards found in any other school in the NH Co. We were previously being forced (by districting away from our neighborhood) thanks to the NHCO school board to a school with a myriad of social problems including administration and teachers who were unable or unwilling to gain control of the environment and looked the other way most of the time. It has been a true blessing that we found CFCI. It is important to be vigilant with assessing your child's educational progress because there is a large amount of automony for students. Your child can be successful at CFCI with guidance from home and CFCI. Even without after school sports or cafeteria...this school makes the grade!

- submitted by a parent
January 16, 2009
I am a CFCI middle school student in the 8th grade this year. I would stongly recommend it to anybody. The nurturing environment here is one that you will not find at other schools. We have a new director this year at CFCI, and a lot of restructuring going into place this year. Our new director is a wonderful man and can only take CFCI upward from here. As for special needs students, they get just as much treatment as anybody else, with our own EC staff and counselor. I love CFCI, the teachers and kids included. This really is the best kept secret of NHC public schools.

- submitted by a student
no rating May 24, 2008
This school has a great mission and vision. The teachers have a great deal of autonomy and since technically they report to the board and not to the director, there hasn't always been oversight and correction if they stray from the philosophy and expectations of the school. Most teachers are great and as a team work well in this flat structure. The ones who don't do well though, (usually those with less experience or buy-in to the philosophy) cause problems for the rest. Policies do little if there is no one to govern them. Changes are underway for 2008-9, including changes in leadership and and more curriculum support. If CFCI sticks to its mission except making it even stronger and more consistent, by setting clear expectations and non-negotiables and finding ways to back it up, it can easily become the best school in the county.

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2008
I agree with the last person. I also have a child who was eventually set aside because of his delays. This school also has the highest rate of calling Child Protective Services. I know from personal experience. Anything to get my child out because he was a little slower due to his delayments.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2008
This is not a place for children with delays of any sort. The teachers and staff are not ready to help and find alternative learning that is best for that child. If your child is not on the level with his/her class members they get pushed aside and eventually pushed out.

- submitted by a parent
February 28, 2008
Having worked in several other middle schools and high schools, I can say that this is the strongest school I have seen. Like any school, there are issues-- however, 99.9% of the folks at CFCI want to do what's right for the kids. The push is for kids to be independent learners-- and no, not every kid learns best this way... and that's okay. I have three children here, one who has been through 2-7, and two who've been here K-1 and K-4... I've been VERY pleased with all my kids' teachers and the quality of instruction at CFCI. I do think that some parents expect CFCI to do more than ANY school can do-- there's never a substitute for involved, responsible parents who serve as models of respect and hold their own children to high standards.

- submitted by a community member
February 27, 2008
I have been a parent at CFCI for 5 years and have been extremely pleased. I have three children and they love going to school every morning. They have a real love for learning and that is thanks to their amazing teachers. School is fun and exciting. I don't know what more you could ask for in a school.

- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2007
I too believe CFCI is spiraling downward. We supported the mission and believed that our kids would get more. Not so! Dull, no bar held for the students or the staff. No objectivity, no accountability. Some great teachers and for the bad ones, you usually find out too late. There is beauty shop caddiness to the staff. The teachers mantra is ' this school isn't for everybody'. Not sure I would recommend it for anybody. As for 'inquiry', its vague and barley present.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 01, 2007
I too believe CFCI is spiraling downward. We were enthusiastic believers until the reality of the situation sunk in. We are now struggling to get caught up to our kids peers in their current school. Non listening director (we know best) + chaotic environment + 'trust me' teachers= little actual learning. There are some bright stars on staff, but this school is in trouble. Sadly most of the rest of the public system here is a mess too.

- submitted by a parent
June 29, 2007
My son just finished Kindergarten at CFCI. We have been very pleased with the the academics, feedback from the teacher, inquiry based teaching model and the positive behavior model. Someone stated that adding students to each class has declined the school. Only two students were added to each class and the totals are well within/below the state average. Kindergarten classes have 18 students for example. I do agree, however, there should be a full-time assistant in the lower grades (currently they are part-time). Overall this is a wonderful school. People should write their state representatives and senators asking that charter schools receive the same money as public school. That would eliminate a lot of the issues with the school (teacher assistants, funding for a new school, transportation, etc). I would highly recommend CFCI. We drive 25 minutes one way so that our son can attend school b/c it's that great!

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2007
This is a school in decline. Class sizes have recently increased, but there was no corresponding increase in classroom assistant time. The faculty are doing the best they can under the circumstances. The director is openly hostile toward any parents or faculty who would question her actions or register a complaint, and she often resorts to bullying to keep everyone 'in line'. She completely fails to model the behavior that is expected of the students in the classrooms, and it has a wide, negative effect on the school environment. Contrary to what CFCI says about itself, this is not a nurturing environment. We'll be pulling our child out of CFCI after this year. The faculty have minimal support here and it is starting to show. The sense of community and mission that once existed here is gone.

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2006
This is my son's first year here, he is in the 6th grade and so far we both love it! Every subject teacher he has is involved and hands on.There is alot of one on one instruction and detailed feedback about his progress. I can assure you that the teachers are available for conferences when needed. The learning environment at CFCI is very laid back and that would be my main caution to parents; there is more freedom, flexibility, mobility in the classrooms and personal accountability. For the first time, my son actually looks forward to going to school. Because the class sizes are very small it is like going to a private school with all the benefits minus high tuition rates.

- submitted by a parent
July 25, 2005
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
December 11, 2004
Great children and families.Most teachers are wonderful,however..If you have a problem at this school,don't look for any help from school board of any kind. Only option is cfci's own 'board', which is made up of the very people you may be having a problem with. Parents are at the mercy of teachers, who really run the school, 'director' doesn't. There's no real resolution with upper grade parental concerns. No one 'governs' over what is done, cfci staff police themselves. This makes parents especially vulnerable. Send your children here & just hope you're lucky enough to never have a problem with a specific teacher, or, any staff member, for that matter. No voice for parents of children in upper grade, several current parents feel that way, feel helpless. Parents taking children out because of this.Parental problems and concerns, just basically ignored. Not recommended that any learning disabled,(especially), be sent to upper grade.

- submitted by a parent
February 04, 2004
This school has provided an excellent education for my child who started in kindergarten and is now in 3rd grade. The teachers are of the highest quality and parent involvement is not only encouraged it's also appreciated. The school has topnotch teachers in all grades and in PE, Music, Art and Spanish. These special classes begin in kindergarten. This school also participates in many service oriented projects such as making soup and pies for the homeless at Thanksgiving, providing gifts and food to needy families in the area at Christmas time and recently raising money for children and teachers in Uganda. I could go on and on about all the many assets my child is gaining by attending this school. A+

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 25, 2003
I am a teacher and a parent at this school. Personally, I feel that my children are in a safe environment where they are able to learn and be successful. In regards to teaching at this school, it allows me to build a community where children feel safe and are able to learn and be successful. The children work to understand that our differences are a good thing and should be accepted. I create an environment that allows my children to learn through integrating all of the subject areas into inquiry projects. This allows them to have ownership in their learning and my job is to create an environment that allows research and creativity to occur. I feel that this is the best way to learn.

- submitted by a parent
August 11, 2003
This is a wonderful school, the student centered method of teaching is fantastic. I love that the children have the same teacher for Kindergarten and First grade. children learn facts through experimentation rather than memorize facts and then recite them. This school does not focus on testing, testing, testing; however they do very well on the EOG tests. I just cannot say enough about how wonder this school is. It has a very high parent involvement and a great sense of community. The school is now K-8th grades. I just hope someday soon it will be K-12th

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: June 04, 2014

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Cape Fear Center For Inquiry
2525 Wonder Way, Wilmington, NC  28403
(910) 362-0000
Last modified Cape Fear Center For Inquiry is a Charter school that serves grades K-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Cape Fear Center For Inquiry Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 34 reviews. Top