Century School, Inc.
I think a lot of parents choose Century because they associate it with an "image". They certainly aren't choosing it on substance. Academic farce (as another reviewer called it) is exactly right. What a joke. It's really just glorified babysitting. Century offers nothing, and actually less than, what my child is now getting in the public school system. Socially and academically the public school system is just as competent, actually more so. The testing system at Century was really lacking, I never knew exactly how my child was doing in comparison to any other standards, the result reporting was on one sheet of paper, with no real world measurements of any of their abilities. And I don't think they kept up with it on a regular basis as they said they would. "Daily reports" were just a cursory here is what they are working on and he is doing fine!" Way too lacking in details. Don't risk it. They do get to have a lot of field trips, but I think I can make up for that on our own time. I didn't see much evidence of their touted "mentoring system" either.(It's way expensive too at 500/mo, which some might feel is not so bad, but I expected more for that price.)
I completely agree with JPinkman's review of Century. When my child re-entered public school after being at Century for 2 years, her teacher told me that Century has a reputation among teachers and school administrators for sending kids back into the public school system completely unprepared to meet the academic assessments and standards in place at the public schools. (Sure wish they had told me this before I dropped about 12,000 there!) They claim that their students meet or exceed these standards, so where is their proof of this claim? I have never been one to believe that assessments are the end all be all of academic measurement. However, when your child attends Century, you will have absolutely no clue as to whether they will be able to match the expectations of the public system when they re-enter (and since they only go up to grade 6, they will have to at some point unless they move to another private school). And being non-accredited, there will be no independent, non-biased assessment of your child's academic progress.I had no idea how far behind my daughter was until she moved to a public classroom. Not being able to meet such standards when they re-enter the public system means they will suffer. Of course, if your child happens to be way above average anyway, they can likely make up the deficit in a year or so. If your child is average or has learning disabilities, this will be a serious impediment for them. Possibly for the rest of their school years. As far as whether or not the kids enjoy attending, of course most of them do! For the most part they are allowed to do whatever they want. It's total chaos most of the time I have been in a classroom. One of my biggest regrets about the whole experience is that I did not speak out about this particular child constantly harassing my child, (who unfortunately was always in the same class with her though I'd requested she not be). Whereas in a public school setting there would have been at least 2 teachers to help out in a class the size of the classrooms at Century, one teacher is expected to oversee up to 16 students or more, all at different levels of academic development. It is a ridiculous expectation, and humanly impossible. Their system simply doesn't work. No matter how "nice" someone tells you they are, or how happy their children are, at Century, do not be dissuaded from the facts. My child's difficulties (amongst many others apparently),are proof positive they are extremely lackluster, and really, downright dangerous to a child's education. Their "system" does not work. But they certainly aren't going to give you references to any former parents who are NOT happy with them. Beware of the "former parental hype". No one wants to admit they spent a huge amount of money for a worthless education for their child. I will tell you straight, and others will concur, you are making a big mistake if you enroll your child here.
I had two daughters at Century from 3yrs to 5 yrs. It was a very difficult decision to move them to public school for the first grade, and if Century were able to offer education through 12th grade, I would likely have kept them at Century for their entire education. I decided that the move would be easiest in the first grade, when they would be able to socially integrate along with all of the other children entering public school. However, our experience at Century was wonderful. I have absolutely no complaints. I understand from the other comments that Century may not be for everyone, but no school can serve every child. I was always able to discuss my child's progress with her teacher, and reports were given daily. There is no public school that can provide daily updates as their classes are just too large. Century keeps the classes small, so each child receives individual treatment. I wonder if the dissatisfied parents would be dissatisfied with any school. I loved how the children were taken to the park and Lawrence Public Library regularly, the were able to visit many locations downtown, and the pool in the summer. I feel fortunate to have found Century school for my daughters' first years of formal education, and I recommend Century School at every opportunity. If you are looking for a school for your child, Sara and John are very welcoming, and they will answer all of your questions.
As one who is in the education profession, AND one who had their child enrolled there for (much longer than I should have) over two years, I want to address why I believe Century school is an academic farce. One of the glaring mistakes they have made is to rely solely on the WJ assessment. This test will (barely) measure your child's reading skills, but any single sub test or group of tests using the WJ will only give you accurate measurement of ability under the very best of conditions.
This test is ok, but only if the school also uses another supplemental test, such as the Grey Oral Reading to measure rate and accuracy under timed conditions and the Test of Word Reading Efficiency that measures word attack and sight word reading under timed conditions. They should also tell you what level text your child is reading independently and on an instructional level, using some sort of standard measure such as Fontis & Pinnel, DRA, Lexile etc.
As far as the parent who is unhappy about the math assesment, this is completely understandable because the math subset of the WJ is extremely lacking. There are quite a number of other math assessments that are much better at measuring necessary math skills and their components such as working memory, perceptual reasoning, visual spatial acuity, etc. My child needed more intervention in several areas (we later found out in more comprehensive assessments done once she reached public school) and Century did not meet up to those needs. Regarding the parents who are thrilled, that is good. But their children were likely very high functioning in the first place and so had the self-impetus to continue growing in that environment. I also did not understand why their parental surveys they hand out a couple times of year, always asked the same questions, and whenever I responded with less than favorable reviews, I never received one phone call or inquiry as to why. Why bother if the responses that are unfavorable are just ignored? Socialization can be attained just as well in a public school setting, without paying $500/mo. or more. Century needs to do a lot better for what it charges. Beware of unaccredited schools!
That negative review is shocking and, from my history with Century School, a totally foreign experience! My husband and I have had at least one child at Century for the last 7 years. We have three children, 2 have transitioned very successfully into public school, and one is currently at Century. We love Century and rave about its unique ability to instill a love for learning. They opened my eyes to what is even possible with a child. There are so many great things to say.....like valuing leadership. They do a great job of showing the older children how to mentor, guide and set the example for the younger ones. Often you see the olders take this lead on their own, reminding a younger to ask nicely or helping them when they are stuck. As a parent, I always feel so welcome to be there. I can walk in the classroom, my child can show me what he/she is working on (so proudly), and I am not made to feel out of place or in the way. The teachers are always willing to tell you of progress, what they may be working on or an achievement they made. Reports are given to you of the formal assessments (Woodcock Johnson) taken by your child, which happen at least every 6 months. Another part of the citizenship/friendship aspect that we love is that they cheer one another on. I could go on and on.....from academics to leadership to genuine community..... We have found Century to truly be a different kind of school, perhaps the way school should be. We have found it to work so amazingly for our three children who differ greatly in learning styles and personality.
We have been at Century for almost 2 years. Century came highly recommended by a friend of ours who’s child attended the preschool. The poor review listed below seems so extreme. Our experience at Century has been wonderful. Our son started there at age 3 in the preschool. He is still currently in the preschool and at age 5 will transition to a classroom upstairs. If you go to the Century website it states they are a different kind of school. They also state that because each child is different, instruction is personalized. What we like best about this school is our son’s academic learning is one on one. He is not sitting in a classroom of 20 kids trying to be taught the same thing. Century has provided him with wonderful social and academic growth appropriate for his age. Century’s location is awesome. They go to the public library every Friday for story time. In the summer they take the kids to swimming classes at the public pool. They walk downtown for a reward day and to watch the parades. Century provides freshly prepared lunches every day. The preschool is clean, never chaotic and anytime I have a question or need something I get an immediate response. I guess I would have to say in response to reading the poor review is not every school will be a good fit for every child. And I think most of us out there can quickly make a valid assessment and move on if that is the case.
I cannot say enough great things about Century School and its teachers. My daughter attended Century School for three years, and she grew and flourished socially and academically during this time. She just recently transitioned to public school and is definitely ahead in all the academic domains. My daughter loved Century School. It is a small, close knit school community. I was always comfortable with the care my daughter received. The teachers went above and beyond to be sure my child was progressing academically and socially and were always willing to listen if I had any questions or concerns. I was kept up to date of academic progress and enjoyed getting biannual assessment reports. I feel Century School has given my daughter a strong academic foundation.
I couldn't disagree more with the other review. My child also attended Century School for 3 years until we moved to the Washington, DC, area. He attends Montgomery County Public Schools, which year in and year out are ranked among the best in the nation. Since we arrived my child has been well ahead of his peers. My wife and I attribute this to the extraordinary education he received at Century School. The teachers at Century apply the educational methodology expertly. Contrary to the other review, we routinely were appraised of how our child was progressing and were provided copies of his assessments. Based on these assessments, Century tailored the instruction to his needs so that he could progress and grow at the pace that made sense for him. We have many friends whose children attend or attended Century. They unanimously praise it, which is why we enrolled our child there in the first place. Now we provide the same recommendation to the friends we still have in Lawrence. While I can certainly empathize with the other commenter, I completely disagree with that assessment of this wonderful school and their first class staff.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE TRUST YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATIONAL WELL BEING TO THIS SCHOOL. My son attended Century for 3 years (2nd through 4th grade) and is now a 7th grader with serious academic deficiencies. His testing results put him at about a 3rd grade level in Math and not much better in reading either. He will never catch up with his peers. Nor will most likely have any success in advanced classes, or for that matter, even meet minimal requirements for Math in high school. He has now had to be removed from the regular math class and (much to his humiliation) put into a remedial course, he also has to have an IEP for Math. This was a smart kid from very early on, not an easy one to teach, but certainly he should not have been allowed to flounder as he did at Century with absolutely no intervention. We were fed a lot of horse **** about how he was progressing, the whole time he was there. Though we were never even once provided the materials they were supposedly testing him with every 6 months while there (though I asked numerous times to see the tests, I was never provided them.) And progress testing was definitely done much less regularly than what they claimed. I know at one point he went over a year without testing, though we were told it would be "happening very soon" whenever we asked. We are heartbroken and devastated by the academic malpractice that was committed by Century. He will never catch up to his peers. He will likely be in a world of struggle for the rest of his educational life (we are not even sure how he will catch up enough to get into college at this point!) And we spent over 18,000.00 in the name of "individualized instruction and academic growth" and have likely stunted his ability to achieve, perhaps for life. If only I had woken up earlier and taken him out of there sooner, he might be better off. But we so wanted to believe in their methodology. Now it is probably the biggest regret of my life that I ever sent him there. IF your child is already considered well above average academically PERHAPS this school will be ok. But I would not even risk it then. They are simply extremely lax on how they measure and maintain progress. Certainly if your child has any kind of learning hinderances or disabilities, or is even only of average ability, DO NOT RISK IT. If only I knew of the misery it was going to inflict upon my child when he re-entered public school, I would never even have considered it. NEVER. They should be very ashamed of how they neglected him and the damage they have done. It is reprehensible.