There seems to be more than the fair share of behavior issues at Cunningham Park, and my experience is that the administration has no idea how to deal with any of it. Whether it's stealing or flashing body parts to other students.
To echo the previous comment, the new administration is abysmal. While the previous administration was well-balanced, the new administration can't seem to get it together. It seems normal to lose a lot of staff when new leadership arrives, but telling when they make a break for it two years in. Not good for those of us sending our kids there. The positions have been filled by mostly brand new teachers/staff, which I can only hope breathes new life into the school and not more incompetence. There are some very decent teachers at this school, who care, but the teaching, overall, lacks spark, or going above and beyond. I appreciate diversity, but wish the educational experience would be more diverse and less rote.
I echo the other parents in noting that the curriculum is fair at best. As transfers from out of state, my children had already covered many of the topics the prior year. In the last year, there has been a turnover in the leadership with a new principal and assistant principal. Both of them seem ill equipped to handle their roles and do not seem very engaged with students or families.
Cunningham Park is a wonderful school with caring teachers who are willing to go the extra mile for each student. You don't need to ask for support. The school is very proactive and is looking to add Level IV curriculum for those students who need more challenging work.
The entire focus of this school is on providing remedial services for the underprivileged ESOL community. The academic programs are basic, and the children who need to be challenged are severely disadvantaged at this school. Many parents are frustrated. There doesn't seem to be any real interest on the part of the school to provide more academically challenging programs.
Our kids started attending Cunningham Park this year and are very happy there. It has an excellent, supportive, spirited community of both staff and parents; and, good extracurricular programs. To our relief, this school doesn't have the awful cliques and snobbery of our former school-- everyone seems to get along and accept each other's differences. We wish the school could further expand its AAP program so kids don't have to go elsewhere to be further challenged, but the benefits of attending a community school are a big draw for us.
We moved into CPES from out of state and just completed our first year. Teachers are wonderful, the community feel at the school is strong. Academically speaking, not challenging, which was disappointing, although I believe that is more attributable to the Fairfax County curriculum than the lack of challenge specifically at this school. My daughter qualified for GT but I am choosing to keep her at CPES to avoid yet another new school. While the school offers opportunities for kids to grow beyond academics (e.g. Student council, peer mediators, other leadership positions), the rules for holding such positions are created ad hoc and are subjective. The outcome is the kids who have the desire, capacity and capabilitity to take on more opportunities beyond academics are discouraged from the activities that best fit them.
I agree with all the reviews below - it is a small school, neighborhood feel to it, with multicultural students. The principal and the assistant principal are great, they try to get all the parents involved and they will listen to suggestions. My daughter is in 1st grade and so far I have nothing but good words to day. The KG teachers are wonderful. The librarian, the reading teacher... all fabulous and you get to know them all. So far, I ve had nothing but good experiences with the school. My daughter is thriving there and that s all that matters.
CPES gets a bad rating due to multicultural, diverse students. Yes, there are a large number of ESOL students, but that really isn't a big deal. The school is small (around 400) and the teachers and administration are great. The PTA is very involved. My children have had nothing but good experiences in the last 5 years. In fact, one 4th grade teacher in particular is outstanding!