Our children have had a wonderful experience at ESK. The class sizes are small so teaching is more tailored to the individual child's need. One of the best student teacher ratios in Knoxville! Academics are strong and children excelling are challenged to grow and learn more. Hands on learning is excellent....dissecting cow's eyeball in 2nd grade, projects, Mandarin, Spanish, fabulous art education and fabulous PE! So far, each teacher we've had has had a sincere interest in our child's academic and personal development. Chapel and the inclusive values of the school are a strong draw as well as the focus on giving back to the community and helping others. Families are friendly and real. Children are encouraged to think out of the box and learn various ways to solve problems. ESK is a great school!
This is our third year at ESK. Overall, it has been unimpressive academically and I do a lot of extra schooling at home. They are constantly asking for money and they give special treatment to those who donate largely. The elementary school prinicipal is inexperienced, she was previously a 2nd grade teacher at ESK. She has little social skills and appears nice until you have a complaint. She will then tell you that you are the only person that has ever complained about that issue. She must not realize that parents actually talk to each other. There is not much parent involvement, most PTA meetings have about 10 parents in attendance on a good day and it is so difficult to get any parents to volunteer. About 50% of the teachers are excellent. The other 50% do not belong at a $12,000/year school. 4th and 5th grade are challenging in a good way, but the kids are so academically unprepared for those years-it makes it very difficult for them. The middle school principal is excellent, so that is a positive. We will be going to St John Neuman next year. I would look for another school if you want strong academics and good leadership, it's not at ESK.
Academics are great and seem to really engage the kids. Also, it is a beautiful campus. There are lots of opportunities for sports in middle school--tennis, basketball, football, soccer, cross county, golf, track, trap shooting (and I am sure I have left something out). However, the school aggressively is trying to raise money and the parents who donate certain amounts of money get to name classrooms (and even streets) in honor of their children. I really cannot imagine how it is healthy for a young child to have a street named afar him or her. Also, if you are a family who is really struggling to pay tuition, be aware of the fact that the rich kids seem to rule and be ready to deal with those issues/questions at home. Also, be aware of the fact that many of the kids continue into private high schools. And so, you might have a concern about whether your child is prepared for a public high school. Also, the guidance department does not really seem set up for gifted children. If your kids' test scores are low, you will be required to pay for tutoring. If your kid is gifted, there is not support for that at all.
We love ESK. It's a wonderful school. Our daughter has been a student there for 3 years, and we couldn't be happier with where she is academically. She is routinely challenged, but also nurtured. The only real complaint I have is that there is no athletic opportunities for team sports in the lower school, we have had to seek those elsewhere in the community. Other than that, ESK is still a great school and I would whole heartedly recommend it.
We toured most of the private schools in West Knoxville and ESK was the one that felt most like home. ESK has one of the lowest student/teacher ratio of any in Knox. The school uses a unique, self governing system called "Tribe Rules". We like it so much that we use it at home.
ESK is unlike any school we have ever experienced. The low student-to-teacher ratio means your children are not treated as a mass of faces but individually with curriculum dynamically tailored to both their individual strengths and weaknesses.The child's classwork is based on his or her abilities/potential, not the classroom's abilities.ESK openly displays the school's/children's "mission statement" throughout the school and is taught from day one.This system quickly becomes self-governing reducing negative behavior and teaching a child how to resolve issues when they do arise both at school and at home.We especially like the way the classes work together.Arts classes' projects (and even athletics) deal with what is being learned in the core classes such as science and math. For instance, if the environment is the focus in science, art projects will also focus on the environment.Visit the campus and you will understand.
What we love best about ESK is the focus on whole child development. The math, reading and science curiculums are all interelated and focus on learning independent analysis, not pure memorization of facts. The environment, while not sterile, is more wholesome than we've seen in the public schools. Love and respect for each other is taught daily. No school can be perfect and there may be a couple of kids needing extra discipline, but the number is such that the teachers can focus on teaching and not on keeping the class in line. If you're looking for a school that will develop an independent, creative, self-thinking child, then ESK is for you.