Cedar Crest now has two locations in Bellevue, this review is specifically for the Bellewood campus, but as most of the issues below stem from the founders, I imagine they apply across all locations.
I have had two children in cedar crest for now two years and are moving them to public schools for next year. For many reasons I wish I had done it a year ago, but we didn't make the decision in time and didn't want to loose our very large deposit.
Cedar Crest started with daycare and PreK and gained a great reputation with those - a reputation we trusted when we moved the kids there two years ago.
They now also have grade school - thru 4th or 5th grade I think - and that's where the issues are.
As others have noted in their reviews, the school is *heavily* driven by greed/money. Now, I have no issue with someone trying to run a business, but when they claim to have/run a great private school, they need to spend some of that money on teachers, staff, location, library etc. Not just pocket the money or spend them on another new school to expand.
Here are my top concerns:
1) Experience and retention of their teachers. As they pay about $20K less than a public school (this is first hand information from a teacher), they cannot attract nor retain great teachers. They teachers they have, have a great attitude despite unreasonable working environments - looong hours outside the low pay - they just are not experienced enough to teach a high quality grade school.
2) They teach "a year ahead". Ha, what a joke. Yes, they do try this, but there is no framework in place to make sure the "current" year skills are in place and so it becomes a somewhat random mix of two grade levels. I am going to spend the summer going thru the "current" grade curriculum to make sure my kids are ready for public school. Paying for an expensive private school was meant to make my life easier, not the opposite.
3) There isn't enough staff, nor is the location currently suitable for the number of kids they have there. That means that the staff is overworked, not happy and that for example afterschool care is in the hallway. Yes, in the hallway. Every day for the entire year. Afterschool care I pay for. Seriously?
So - take your business somewhere else, maybe even a public school. Don't make our mistake and pick Cedar Crest.
Stay away from this school. They are money minded. They charge exorbitant fees and still don't help or support children adequately. They expect you to act and do what they say and if not they constantly complain about your child's performance and behavior. I would not recommend this school at all.
Our son attended Cedar Crest Kirkland campus from preschool to kindergarten at which point we decided to stay with Cedar Crest through their phenomenal elementary program at Bellwood campus. I can't say enough how wonderful the school is; the teachers all of which have advance degrees display so much passion for growing our children to be critical thinkers, academically outstanding performers and well rounded world citizen; the director and all of the staff know each kiddo by name and their parents; tuition which covers all of the needs - books, lunches, tours, etc - you pay once and you are done... Our class was tested in 2nd grade through ITBS and landed 98% in the country without "sweat"...after so many years I still don't know how this happens, all of the kids are very bright yet they are still kids; though we do have homework, kids are not "swimming in the homework", they are taught responsibility and allowed to have time and freedom to simply be kids. Parents are informed with weekly and if needed daily emails on the progress of the class, key learnings, events, etc. Technology and class equipment is the latest; art, science labs, PE, music, drama all are superb.
My kids attended this school. Management is rude and all they care about is the tuition and not what is important for the kids. They don't care one bit about what each kid needs. High turnover for staff as well. They pay less and don't take any feedback from staff or parents. You pay the big bucks and do exactly what they want. No voices heard. you just do what they say!!! regret the decision to send my kids here. Management is unethical and don't value anything other than the check.
Our son attended pre-k at CCA - Bellevue and we have nothing but fantastic things to say about the school, management and teachers. In less than a year , we have seen phenomenal growth in our son's ability to read and write. His overall progression from a shy/quiet kid to a confident/outgoing one was a delight. If you are looking for an academically oriented school in a fun/nurturing environment , this is a great choice. Overall we STRONGLY recommend CCA - Bellevue.
Anyone who knows anything about early childhood education knows that in a preschool environment, sitting at a table doing "paperwork" is detrimental to a child's acquisition of language and literacy skills. Furthermore, children being pushed to learn above their level of comprehension can be demotivated and left behind. The building blocks are established for a reason. I'm not sure Cedar Crest has any awareness of the value of education more than the substantial paychecks the owners earn as a result of the minimal staff pay. Cedar Crest built their model on the "paperwork" they use to teach their students and starting children off at "higher levels" for advanced academic achievement. If you choose to admit your child to this institution, be sure there may be repercussions.
I am impressed with the resources of the school and the child-centered approach they offer. The staff are professional and dedicated without complaints about not having material. The expansion of the school to upper level grades and away from the "sweet spot" of being a pre-school only was driven by parents that sought the continuation of a wonderful education for their kids. As with any expansion of an business/school/operation/organization you can imagine the difficulty. As of now the Bellevue (Bellewood Campus) is the newest branch in the campus locations and has thus far has made the transition in a very positive manner. The staff in my sons class have a positive attitude and he is growing dramatically. The parent community that I encounter are encouraging and supportive. The physical building is beyond impressive and in the upper grades the access of Smartboard/Promethean boards as a teaching tool is really noteworthy. I am happy with the value for money my child is receiving!
I am a CCA parent and this is my 4th year with the school. The first three years were at the Bellevue campus and this year was at the Redmond campus. I have good things to say about the school. At the pre-school level, my daughter has had awesome teachers. At the Pre-K level, the teacher was good, but we came her across as cold. She wasn t exactly a people person when it came to communication. My daughter is now in Kindergarten, and her teacher is nothing short of FANTASTIC. We decided to continue her in 1st grade next year. The staff and the management are fantastic. Any time I have had an issue, I have approached the management, and they made sure they addressed it. They are very pleasant and nice people, and that is including the director of the Redmond campus. I do not believe the review that says that the curriculum is falsely advertised. The school uses Bridges and Singapore math (Math) and Imagine It and handwriting worksheets for reading/writing. Some of the reviews are disturbing. I feel bad that those parents have had bad experiences. Not sure what happened.
My eldest child has attended Cedar Crest Academy, Kirkland campus for two years now. We loved all four teachers that my child has had. I was really excited to continue at Cedar Crest; they are opening an elementary school. That was until I heard of the high teacher turn over rate at all three of their campuses this year! Of theses teachers, it includes my child's teacher from this year who we were really looking forward to have as a teacher for our youngest child next year. Also, I am not sure of either of my child's Kindergarten teachers for next year (this is the end of June!) Management changed this year; making it feel a little cold and not as warm as it did the first year my child was there. Kindergarten will be my child's last year at Cedar Crest. We will also be able to find better technology at public schools in the area. My wife and I really love the teachers at the school and that's why my child will be there for Kindergarten. We are really upset and concerned about the turn over rate, it is a huge red flag.