A simply wonderful school that we feel incredibly lucky to be a part of. The teachers and principal are caring, competent individuals that have taught both of my children a great deal both about how to be good citizens in addition to how to succeed academically.
This school has a great staff of teachers and administrators! Each teacher has really seemed to care for the kids as growing citizens. There are lots of evolving technologies the students get to be a part of, including many green initiatives that the whole school shares ownership of. They have "All School Gatherings" and "Small School Gatherings" very regularly, also giving my child a real sense of citizenship in his school community, with opportunities to present in front of the entire school. The main thing I would improve would be the PA selections for "texts", particularly in math. My child has struggled with the mandated changes in teaching materials in the last 3 years, with a subject which used to be both a big strength and his named favorite. (I think the teachers struggle with the changes as well. As I understand it, the math teaching materials have changed 5 times over the past 7 years, creating a gap in learning for the students which is difficult to bridge at times.) The teachers have ALL been very responsive via email, telephone, and willing to set up personal meetings whenever we have felt the need.
Park Forest Elementary school is truly a gem! The principal knows almost every students name, can be found helping and working with the students. Her passion and leadership really creates a positive atmosphere for learning. Walking through the halls you see kids artwork, smiling faces and happy teachers interacting with the kids. There are student teachers in almost every class and student to teacher ratio is low! My kids love and are proud of their school! We can not say enough good things about Park Forest Elementary school!
I really wanted this school to work out for us, but sadly, it was not up to par. I do think that our experience was directly linked to a specific teacher more than anything else. My child has regressed a ton & has become so bored from lack of challenges, that we had no choice but to pull him midway through the year. We come from a different state & his curriculum last year was ahead of PFE's current one. When I asked the teachers to provide him with more advanced opportunities, I was told he was welcome to do extra work at home. I didn't want EXTRA work, I just wanted them to teach to his level. His main teacher (he had 2) NEVER communicated with the parents. I literally never heard from her. She never sent class updates/newsletters about what was going on (not one!). The class frequently watched movies...& hardly educational ones at that! I realize that this particular teacher may have been most of the problem, but it wasn't worth wasting an entire year there. As much as I hated the disruption of pulling our kid, I felt as though it was more of a disservice to stay. Of course, this is just our experience. I have friends who haven't had it as bad. Just thought I would share ours.
Park Forest was selected as one of ten US schools of success by the education commission of the states and the national center for learning and citizenship. Great model of service learning that engages kids. Excellent teachers. The most dedicated and creative principle. Just a great school.
Park Forest Elementary has fantastic teachers who love and engage the kids; a really cool service learning philosophy; and a wonderful principal who provides awesome leadership, less emphasis on standardized tests, and more emphasis on making our kids good citizens and leaders. It's a wonderful place to be!