Parents considering the switch from public to private education are behind plans to double middle school enrollment at The Park School.
The private school located on Harlem Road in Amherst announced plans Tuesday to grow its middle school by as many as 18 students a year over the next four years, reaching a total of 120 in grades 5 through 8.
The expansion would begin in the 2014-15 school year with the fifth-grade class.
The Park School had been considering expanding seventh and eighth grades to help promote its high school but last year began getting numerous inquiries from parents of fourth-graders about to enter middle school, said Marnie Cerrato, director of enrollment management for the school.
Families are considering their school options for a variety of different reasons, including frustration over the rollout of the more rigorous Common Core learning standards, and what is viewed as an overemphasis on standardized tests.
“You have families who have not been happy with the way education is going – the curriculum, the testing, the Common Core,” Cerrato said, “so that’s prompting them to make the call earlier than they would have.”
The Park School enrolls 290 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, which is a 20 percent increase since 2008.
Including more middle school students would not require additional construction on the campus, which once enrolled as many as 400 students.