Posted April 15, 2009
Dear Families: Thank you for reviewing the Perkins Elementary School - we truly appreciate your feedback and opinions. I wanted to take a moment to address the review posted on January 13, 2009. These comments are not meant for the Perkins Elementary School, a non-profit, private school in the Maple Leaf neighborhood that serves students in kindergarten through 5th grade. Somewhat confusingly, there is a Perkins Preschool in the Ravenna neighborhood, and they do have a summer program (we do not). While we think the preschool is a wonderful place, and each year we enroll one or two of their students, the two schools are not connected, academically or administratively. Again, thank you all for the very constructive feedback!
A School of Happy Students and Happy Teachers- Perkins School is a place where students of all ages arrive daily with enthusiasm and smiles, anitcipating the learning adventures planned for the day. They are greeted by name by a team of dedicated and smiling teachers who truly care about each student and his/her learning journey. I am one of those teachers. I love teaching in this upbeat, supportive, collaborative school environment where teachers are encouraged to be creative, to individualize and to challenge and where every day is a joyful celebration of knowledge. If you want your child to come home each day bubbling over with all he has learned that day and looking forward to another day of school, check out this small, child-centered gem and join our learning community.
You cannot find a school where the children are more loved and cared for, each for their individuality. This is a place where the staff cares very much about each other and about every child. The approach to education is holistic and teachers work to ensure the success of each child.
Perkins has an in-house, full-time curriculum developer who also happens to be the AMAZING 2nd/3rd grade teacher. She's been doing her job for 30 years, and her expertise pays off for every teacher in the building. The entire teaching staff is extremely dedicated, professional, and knowledgeable. Curriculum is challenging, but the teachers are also able to make appropriate and necessay adjustments for the needs of individual students, thanks to their small class sizes. There was no teacher turn-over in the last year, which speaks to Perkins' stability. Despite a change in leadership last spring, the new Head of School has a vision that is strongly aligned with what parents and teachers want. For me, The Perkins School is a warm, peaceful, and energizing place to go each morning, and I'm glad I'm part of this very positive community. I'm especially excited to see Perkins grow in the coming years.
This is my family's 4th year at Perkins. I have two daughters there. We love it! I fell in love with Perkins for the small size and the devoted teachers. I have continued to stay in love for the same reasons. The small size of Perkins allows every teacher (core and enrichment) to know and care for every student. The teaching staff is phenomenal. The curriculum at Perkins is structured such that the core teacher and the enrichment teachers (science, art, music, etc.) coordinate their classes and always know what the other is doing. Often the teaching by the core teacher will overlap with what is being done in the enrichment classes. Perkins has been innovative in its science program and is devoted to environmental learning in that subject. Perkins feels like a second family and not just a school. We know all the staff and most of the families.
We have been at Perkins now for several years. Three years ago, the initial transition to a having a new head of school we gained a phenomenal teaching staff. The curriculum is amazing- PE every day, French, Music, Drama, Art, the most wonderful Science program. All the teachers know all the children. The small class size allows each teacher to spend quality time with each student. It also allows for a differentiated teaching/learning. Our child has thrived in this environment. Our entire family feels welcomed in the school. We, as parents, are able to volunteer in the classroom guided by the teachers. The families who attend this school are very supportive of the school. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a school that is child focused.
Teachers really pay attention and manage the classrooms very well. My son can get distracted easily, but teachers help him and all the other students to stay focused and engaged. He has a lot of fun, and is proud of how much he is learning.
My son has been with Perkins for 4 years and is thriving, getting the best education possible while also learning character. Every teacher knows every student! The school went through a disgruntled period 4 years ago when its new Head of School brought into effect more curriculum guidelines. Teachers who had previously done things loosely banned together to attempt unionizing, but failed. Many bad feelings ran deeply, and there was/is a concentrated effort to discredit Perkins. Notice how negative comments always focus on the administration - the Head of School? There was and continues to be deep resentment among those teachers who wanted to do it their way but no longer could with the new Head of School. With those teachers gone, we've witnessed how high the standards are now - teachers know every child's individual needs and they work as a team.
Our family was disappointed with the manner in which the administration handled many behavior issues at Perkins. We felt the administration was not consistent in addressing violent or disruptive behavior and students continually received mixed messages about consequences. We often saw a great deal of stress among students and our son's teacher struggled to achieve balance in the classroom. We feel the administration could have done more to support our son's teacher and felt as though the approach was simply to look the other way. We chose Perkins because of the small size and the prospects for differentiated learning. I have so say that our son loved several of his teachers and we definitely enjoyed being part of a smaller school community. We were very disappointed with the school's follow through with respect to plans for differentiated learning, however. We have strong reservations about the leadership of this school.
Our child has attended Perkins for the past two years and will not be returning for a third. Sadly, Perkins has not been the school we thought it would be. We wanted the small school community that really supported each other. But, the head of school lacks professionalism and the ability to work with parents. The school is trying to get their act together, but the curriculum and classroom structure is still unstable. They are running on a shoestring and that is really catching up with them. Good luck Perkins - but you've got a lot of work ahead of you and no leadership.
Perkins is a school with a heart small enough to feel like a big family and large enough to provide resources to support strong teaching while meeting several learning styles and needs in our child s classroom with individualized attention every hour of everyday. We have made some great new friends and look forward to the lasting relationships and our child is fully prepared for the next grade of school. The head of school has really done a great job of maintaining a strong curriculum while keeping the close community feel. Perkins unique features made it a perfect fit for our child.
My wife and I have our 5 year old girl in Kindergarten at Perkins for 08-09 and have been very pleased with our choice of Perkins. She is in a classroom with two teachers and only 10 children. Her teacher is exceptionally talented and also very kind and able to both teach children well and communicate with parents. The school has a good curriculum and is able to provide focused personal attention to our child. If you re looking for a high quality school with small classes and personal attention, Perkins is a great choice.
We rarely write reviews on the internet but we were very distraught to read the negative reviews below and wanted share our observations. We enrolled our son this past fall and have been very happy with the small class, the quality of teachers, and the academic leaps our son has made. He comes home so excited about what he has learned. We really appreciate the fact that everyone from the receptionist to the head of school greets our son (and parents too) by name and that all of them can engage in varying conversations about our child's progress. The head of school comes from the Lakeside School and is in the process of further professionalizing the school (i.e., integrating curriculum and recruiting top notch teachers). Overall we are very pleased with all the concerted efforts to make our son's education a first rate and the welcoming culture.
We'd like to add some balance to the reviews that have been posted about Perkins recently. We are very happy with the school. The teaching seems skilled and attentive to individual academic needs, including the needs of kids who are academically advanced. We are happy with the curriculum. Our experience of the administration is that they are professional, approachable and in tune with the kids. The student teacher ratio is excellent.
Perkins has sadly lost its heart and my child will not return next year. I completely agree with others who note the cold, dismissive, self-serving administration. Teacher turnover is high. Enrollment falls every year. Drastic changes to the curriculum are frequent. The art program has significantly dwindled and they no longer offer a computer curriculum. The school accepts many children with behavioral issues who often disrupt my child's classroom and who take an inordinate amount of teacher time. I write this because parents should be aware that: (1) The curriculum is inconsistent, (2) The leadership is unprofessional and the direction of the school is unfocused, and (3) Parents are led to believe one thing, sign a legally- and financially-binding contract, then receive something we never would have signed up for to begin with. Ultimately, my child's education has suffered.
I am yet another parent horrified by the 'new' (sad...not so new anymore) administration - patronizing, dismissive and rude. No longer a loving warm community. We too were told we had to pay full tuition for a school that was not what we signed up for. This is the third review I have written, but haven't been published. I have felt urgency re: parents being aware. Be aware. Beware! Please publish this!
Another parent with complete agreement about the unfortunate change of this school. Has been a long time supporter. School seems to now cater to behavioral problem students now rather than supporting academic achievements. Many of the students are now supplementing basic educational classes outside of the school environment because of lack of direction.
A completely agree with one of the two reviewers listed: had been warm, friendly culture & excellent facility. The new administration transformed it entirely. Many teachers and staff have left. Enrollment for 2007-08 is low. Condescending, dismissive administration. Beware. Beware.
For several years thru 2006-07, our child enjoyed a warm, friendly culture and excellent teaching at Perkins. They changed principals that year, and a once-wonderful school is now struggling. Many teachers and staff have left, including the beloved 1st-grade, 2nd-grade, science and French teachers. Enrollment for 2007-08 is near an all-time low. Last spring, parents weren't advised of planned dramatic curriculum changes and key faculty and staff departures until the very end of the year, after key contract deadlines. Parental inquiries were met with dismissive, condescending responses. As a result, numerous parents (including us) withdrew their children, and now the school is demanding those parents pay half- or full-year tuition, although enrollment this fall was nowhere near capacity and no applicants were displaced. It's a sad turn of events for everyone that worked so hard to build this school.
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