The Center school is a community of committed educators with a unique and dynamic student body. The school offers students smaller classes and a real community feel. nobody gets left behind. The course offerings are not as broad as some larger schools, but 2 AP science classes are offered and math up to calculus is available. This school has been a great fit for my daughter and has provided her with what one would expect from a private school education.
I have been a Center parent for three years now. In the beginning, we were impressed by the atmosphere and class quality. It seemed to be a good hybrid of public and private school environments and our daughter was very happy there. However, as time goes on, Center's flaws have come to outweigh its benefits. Math and science education in particular are very, very weak. Students get almost no support from the school in fulfilling graduation requirements not offered (such as Physical Education). Teacher quality is extremely uneven. There are a few great ones, such as Ms. Carroll, but a few who shouldn't even be teaching. Because of the combined class system used, if your child winds up with one of the bad teachers, you could be stuck with that for two years. Heaven help you if your kid winds up with Mr. Bell or Ms. Krupke. On the other hand, the new principal has been a great addition to the school. Hopefully Ms. Britsova can turn some of these things around. In the meantime, though, if you have to choose between Garfield and Center (due to the new geographic assignment system), choose Garfield.
Amazing. The community here plays a central role. Despite an open campus and students with more individual freedoms than at other High Schools, students look out for each other and are very inclusive. Peers are embraced for their differences and everyone has a chance to shine in their own way. Curriculum is intensive without taking over students lives with too much homework. This school doesn't have the traditional cliques of jocks or cheer leaders, rather one large group with close friends in small groups in the mix, unified as a whole. Despite budget cuts over the last few years which have hurt its electives, Center's art programs are amazing and taught by such dedicated, passionate teachers. I hope they add music and dance programs! Ms. Britsova is amazing; practically a school idol. This school not only retains its unique environment and art programs with her here, but core classes have improved dramatically to become leading in the district. The Center House is a wonderful location for this school as well, as it teaches kids to be resourceful and look out for themselves in the real world. As a current sophomore, I highly recommend TCS and look forward to my next 2 years here.
The last person to write a review is completely disillusioned about the The Center School. The school is a based on college prep curriculum with an arts focus. The point about musical instruments is a lie, as well as the point about less than mediocre results, seeing the school is the only Seattle Public School except Ballard to score the highest rating through the Washington Achievement Award. This parent should be ashamed of themselves for spreading lies and actually take up their individual problems with the school administration.
Center is a refugee school. Focused on arts was the original charter but it offers less art study opportunities than most district high schools. Case in point; all musical instruments were removed from the school in 2010 because they were a nuisance . Because of its arts status Center is free of district boundary lines. Center is the only alternative for students from the worst Seattle schools. For many attending Center, their designated High School is not an option. As a result ratings of the school become inflated because the alternative for so many involved is so much worse. Parents involved enough to find this alternative are also capable of backing & defending the school vigorously. For this reason many who choose this school find that it is vastly overrated. The gross lack of parity in Seattle Schools is inexcusable & sets up the conditions for an overrated school such a Center to exist; highest $/student in the state with less than mediocre results. District leadership & vision only prevents every school from being a Roosevelt or Garfield. If Seattle Schools had parity there would be no Center.
The Principal, Ms. Escobar, is excellent. The small size makes for more individual attention to each student and family. The parent group is strong and active. Despite being in the Seattle Center House the school is safe, probably safer than most high schools. The staff seem to be cohesive and genuinely happy to be working in this arts focused college-prep school. The main drawbacks are the smaller variety of classes and the limited sports offerings.
I live in the West Seattle area and by far having 4 kids going to two different schools has given me an opportunity to see pros and cons about the schools. Two of my older daughters went to West Seattle High School with an eager to go learn and participate in school sports and yes they did do those things. But when I hear what the teachers do and teach my motherly instinct is not pleased. But with my two younger sons currently attending The Center School they are having way more fun doing what they love and getting the proper education that they need for college. The teachers are great and they are truly having the times of there lives. They don't mind the bus schedule and they are embarking on new interests. My kids are defiantly getting what they deserve out of The Center School.
Strong community, everyone is at least acquaintances if not friends, there is not freshman intimidation or hazing, upperclassmen are welcoming and good leaders. Teachers are invested in each individuals success. Teachers are aware of the student's family, class schedule, and extracurricular activities which makes for great continuity between all facets of the student's life. The academics are challenging, interesting, and encourage a sense of social justice that empowers students well beyond their high school years. Though arts was present in the classroom and there were art electives each student took, i would say that the core curriculum i.E. Humanities, science, and math were the most dominant aspects of the center school program. Students are well behaved, rarely talk out of turn, and are held to high standards. My only complaints would be that there is a lack of diversity and the sports are non-existent aside from ultimate frisbee.
A good school for the right student. Pluses: Small size creates a strong community, current principal excellent (Escobar), arts focus/offerings especially film and performing arts, partnership w/Seattle Rep, integrated humanities program is exceptional, block schedule and later school start time (8:30/9:30) Minuses: Students can fall through cracks despite small size, latest graduation rates far below expectations, staff turnover in recent years has left some departments poorly staffed, lack of music program, limited class offerings due to school's small size, poor college counseling