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School Profile

Central Park School For Children
724 Foster Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 682-1200
See Homes For Sale in the Area
charter | K-5
County: Durham


  Class SizeGradeYear
  School Head OfficialYear
John Heffernan2012
8/10/2012parentI have two children at this school. Staff and teachers are superior and care about the success of the children. Project based learning has fostered curiosity and exploration in learning -- my children love going to school. After school program is excellent. Take time to visit the school, talk to the teachers, and observe the classrooms. No school is perfect for every child, but this school is keeper!
8/8/2012parentRegarding the comment about diversity at this school. We were there in the beginning and the school began with a more diverse in student body and staff. I don't buy the charter school law for the reason for decreasing diversity. There are several other charter schools in Durham that are more diverse, using the same lottery selection process. I know this becasue we have visited others. I think the real issue is that they understand that they are "public" schools and instead of focusing on becoming a "model" school, they are more focused on provide positive learing experiences for all their students. Maybe Central Park should consider becoming an exclusive private school. The are already beginning to resemble one anyway. Actually, I've found out that some people in the general population think they are.
8/8/2012parentWe have loved the project-based focus of the schools and most of the teaching staff are talented and caring, and there is a dedicated core of parents. But as the reviewer has said, with the change in leadership a few years ago, there is no longer a commitment tto serve as a public school. In subtle and not so subtle ways the director has created an atmosphere that is hostile to diverse families, especially low-income and EC children, and as a result there has been a huge decrease in diversity (literally less than 3% of free and reduced lunch children). I feel the focus is more on making the school a "model" school to show off in public (and therefore being only open to "model" students) rather than serving as a public school that is open to and is dedicated to educating all of Durham's children and supporting families.
8/8/2012parentI knew it the day I stumbled into that school when my son was a newborn..."wow" is what I thought to myself. "This school looks awesome! I wonder if I could get my son in here?" I was delivering something from a previous job and that stop was made to CPSC. It was something about the atmosphere that I fell in love with. When I received the phone call 3 years ago saying that my son's name was drawn from the raffle I was more relieved and excited than I ever thought possible. Central Park has to this day lived up to my expectations. They are imperfect, as any school. But I cannot find one issue that makes me wish or even for a second contemplate transferring my son to another school. I love the atmosphere, the friendly smiling faces, the parent involvement, the kind teachers, but what makes it the best school is the comradery between the students, they are really a peaceful school. You will find this in no other school around. We are truly the best school. There is no other school that I have ever heard of that comes close to what this school wants to accomplish and does accomplish.
8/8/2012parentOur daughter attended a Durham Magnet School for Kindergarten. It was fine. We had no real complaints. Academically, she did well. The teacher was nice, yet she never felt comfortable in her own skin. In fact, she was often quite anxious & unsure of how to interact with other kids, and that was something so far beyond what one teacher of 28 kindergartners could even begin to address. We transferred to CPSFC for first grade and have been so thrilled with how she has just blossomed into a confident kid. Our younger child is there now too, and we just love it! We are so impressed with how much the teachers truly care about the kids in their classes & throughout the school. The small class sizes are fantastic. There is a ton of parent involvement, which give children the opportunity to build relationships with other adults. My kids are also learning to be peaceful & creative problem solvers, and to be participants in a community where they are truly valued for who they are.
8/8/2012parentThis school looks great when you tour & the mission and philosophy on the website are what we were looking for in a school. Unfortunately, the current administration was not supportive our children and others we know. Bad decisions were made and our children suffered. The other thing we learned about charter schools is that there's not much of a means of grieving or expressing concerns when serious problems exist. There are some great teachers here and there are students and famlies that this school works for, but it is not for everyone and lacks diversity of thought that one might expect in a Durham school.
8/8/2012parent Just a comment about diversity at this school. The diveristy of the staff is better than at my local DPS school. (~1/6 of the classroom teachers at CPSC are of color, while at our local DPS school only 1/9 of the staff are). I'm sure this varies around the county, but that's the facts for our area. And as for student diversity, the current administration has actively been 'recruiting' to the local community in effort to increase diversity of the student population. But like all charter schools, they are beholden to take children via lottery. And since those appplying are overwhelmingly white, statistically speaking, that's what the school looks like. But this is not the fault of the administration, it's the fault of the charter school law. In fact, the charter school law also does not require transportation be provided, which is why charter schools are lacking in economic diversity. (This applies all around Durham, not just at this school.) So let's put our efforts into changing the charter school law and keep this great school as a model of what a school should be!
8/8/2012parentNot what it used to be! I posted a positive rating for this school years ago. Unfortunately, my opinion of this school is not good the same. The school should drop for children, as chidlren do not seem to be the focus anymore.
10/23/2010parentWonderful setting. Great parent and community involvement.
10/21/2010parentCentral Park has a creative and nurturing environment. There's little emphasis on end of grade tests, but the kids generally seem to perform very well on them. I love that there's access to the outdoors, with walking field trips, gardening, and recess.
10/12/2010otherLittle to no homework, really tight parent involvement, comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces (not a typical painted-cement edifice), and involvement in numerous community activities make this an exciting place for parents and students.
10/11/2010parentThere is just a great feeling in the hallways! John and all the staff really care about seeing the students succeed and have the expertise to make great things happen.
10/10/2010parentIt is such a wonderful project based school. The children are treated respectfully and as part of the team. Everyone is on a 1st name basis there. The kids have lots of outdoor time and every class has its own garden. They are very involved with the community. I can't say enough good things about it.
10/10/2010otherCentral Park is a creative place for kids, full of life and learning, and with lots of parent and community support.
10/10/2010parentCreative, hands-on, project-based learning.
10/10/2010parentCentral Park is a dynamic, community-based, parent driven and project oriented school. I absolutely love it!
10/9/2010parentInnovative curriculum - great community
10/9/2010parentI love Central Park School for Children because it allows children to explore and learn in their own ways.
10/9/2010parentProject based child focused learning and a wonderful community!
9/17/2009parentWhat a talented and dedicated group of students, teachers, administrators and parents. You are the BEST!
7/22/2008parentWe have been at Central Park for 3 years now and we have been completely satisfied with the program. My child actually misses school during track-out and summer break! The faculty is wonderful, and the children are encouraged to learn in different ways and try different things. In talking with friends who have children in the public schools (and private schools), I feel that my child is getting a more-rounded education at Central Park. While there is no 'teaching to the test' as there is at some of the public schools, CPSC has met AYP.
6/12/2008parentCentral Park School for Children is the best elementary school in Durham (public or private). My daughter has been there since Kindergarten and has just completed an absolutely amazing 3rd grade year. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten for the 2008-09 school year. The curriculum is excellent with it project-based, child centered approach, student are engaged and amazed. Music and art are intergrated into the curriculum. Parent involvement is encourage and welcome. This year the students did fantastic on the EOGs. This is definitely a school to watch because some absolutely amazing things are going on at Central Park.
6/12/2008parentMy daughter has been at Central Park School for Children since Kindergarten and we couldn't have made a better choice. I have another daughter starting this year in Kindergarten. The staff is excellent. The children love going to school. The curriculum is project-based, child centered with art and music integrated. In comparison to one particular private that has a similiar curriculum is wins hands down and it a public school! This year the students did an excellent job on the EOGs. This is a school to watch because something absolutly wonderful is happening behind those walls.
8/5/2007parentWe have been at Central Park School for Children since the first year. We have had an overall terrific experience. My child has made many great friends and performed very well for his EOGs. We will miss this community of parents and educators when we move on to middle school.
7/22/2006parentThis is a fantastic school. We couldn't be happier here. The academic approach is project-based, and student-led to an extent. Music and art are integrated into the classroom. PE is weekly but recess is daily (and most classes have another outside break time). Children are not sitting at desks for hours each day-- they're moving around the classroom and the school. Parental involvement is highly encouraged.
10/11/2005parentThe Central Park School for Children is committed to nurturing and guiding the natural eagerness of each child to explore, grow, and relate to others. The school is founded on three principles: that children are naturally full of life, power and confidence; that the best available research should guide our methods; and that children develop best in a community where curiosity, challenges and learning are valued. The school will create a community of partners to guide, cherish and be amazed by the children. My child has had an incredible experience at this school. I would highly recommend it to other families.

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