Central Park School for Children is a child-centered, progressive charter school in Durham, North Carolina, serving students in kindergarten through 8th* grade. Located in Durham's vibrant downtown Central Park district, the school opened in 2003.
CPSC's classes engage the whole child with a hands-on, project based approach. We combine traditional academics with art, music and movement, problem solving, conflict resolution, and environmental education. Our students play outdoors every day, with a mid-day recess at all grade levels and additional outdoor time for younger grades.
Parents are essential partners. Our vibrant parent community enriches our classrooms and improves our school in countless ways. We foster quarterly parent-teacher conferences and regular home/school interaction.
Relationships are at the core of our charter. Everyone at CPSC is on a first-name basis: students and adults. Our teachers visit with each of their students individually before the school year starts. We actively teach respect for one another and appreciation for individual differences.
Standardized testing is not part of our program except for mandated End-of-Grade testing in May. On those tests, we are consistently one of the highest-performing schools in Durham and in North Carolina.
We're a small school, with around 15 children in each class (20 in upper grades) and three to four classrooms at each grade level. When we reach our full K-8 capacity in a few years, we'll have about 600 students, evenly divided between our two campuses.
Our School Year
Our year-round calendar has four 9-week quarters separated by 3-week intersession breaks in fall, winter and spring. Our summer break runs from early June to mid-July. See our Calendars page to learn more.
Note that CPSC does NOT follow Durham Public Schools' year-round calendar, though our breaks often overlap.
Our School Day
Schools with diverse student backgrounds have better outcomes for all students. CPSC is the first charter school in North Carolina to give lottery preference to economically disadvantaged families. We provide free and reduced-price lunches to students who qualify, and provide transportation assistance in certain cases.
We welcome all students who reside in North Carolina, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, economic background, gender or gender identity. We accept new students in a lottery held each spring.
*CPSC's Middle School is growing! We added an 8th grade in 2016-17, and will gradually add more classrooms until we reach full capacity.
Our Elementary School (grades K-4) is at 724 Foster Street, just up the street from the Historic Durham Bulls Ball Park.
Our Middle School (grades 5-8) is half a mile southeast at 121 Hunt Street, next to the Durham Center for Senior Life.
Our teachers work hard to bring Project Based Learning to life. Their innovative ideas, creative energy and commitment inspire their students, and inspire others looking to transform public education. Read their bios to find out more.