While I want to rate this school 5 stars, I simply can't. Far too many of the students are not capable of elementary work or can't speak English or are discipline problems. These students absorb far too many of the resources in terms of money, faculty resources and classtime. Good and average students are pretty much made to repeat 2nd & 3rd grade level work as teachers spend the first half of the school year trying to catch up kids who didn't crack a book all summer and have no respect for learning. The school does have parental involvement - if you don't work outside the home. Activities that involve parents like meet the teacher, orientations, parents meetings and such almost always occur during the day or just after school. I've had several teachers tell me that particular problem is caused by the principal and her unwillingness to work outside of school hours. Notification of events is made at the last minute. We were notified today of big "Parents Day" events that will take place next Tuesday after a Monday holiday. So working parents can't make arrangements to attend ahead of time, even if they have vacation days available because of the short notice.
If you have a child with special needs or individual help with learning, this is an incredibly helpful school. The teachers and staff have made my child's transition to 4th grade so easy. I think that, after reading previous feedback and having dealt with special needs for years, parents often ask for the wrong kind of help or ask the wrong person. This school's staff offers an incredible amount of support for my child and our family.
I've read most of the other reviews, and I have to say that I had a completely different experience. My child attended for two years. I never had a problem with any of the teachers or administrators. They were always very friendly and helpful. I volunteered as often as possible, and was welcomed and appreciated every time. My child was prepared for the sixth grade when he left this school. I think that was the goal.
Our child just finished here, too, and it was an awful experience. The teachers were unhelpful and unresponsive. We couldn't get any help or even any quality feedback as to what was going on in our child's classroom. The administrators were no help either. They blindly stood behind teachers who weren't doing their jobs. Most of the other parents we know were in the same boat, too. If you have the means, find some way to skip Thompson Intermediate School and go to a private school. It's the only to get a decent education in Alabaster.
This is a great school for students who are self-motivated, dilligent, calm and in love with learning. Basically, if your child loves to study on their own and is capable of teaching themselves then this is the place for them. This is not, unfortunately, the place for a child who needs to be taught or needs any kind of individual help. If they can't learn it own their own then they can't learn it here. In the end, they will get passing grades but based on our experience and the experience of those we know, very little actual learning takes place. I wish we had known sooner...
This is my child's second year at TIS after being homeschooled for 2 years after less than stellar experiences at private and another public school in the Shelby Co. school system. I was concerned about how she would transition into such a large environment and how she would handle a structured classroom. I'm pleased to say that she did wonderful and was actually crying the last day of class before summer break because she didn't want to leave. TIS is not perfect, no school is for that matter. But for such a large school, they keep things together. The admin, staff and faculty have always been welcoming and quick to reply whenever I have had a question. And with the beginning of a new school year, we're already receiving newsletters to keep us informed of what's going on and planned for the year.
I see that other parents are disappointed with gifted and special ed programs, but regular students are not getting what they need either. The BAD news is that classrooms teach to the level of the lowest ability students. The GOOD news is that EVERYONE passes with As. Wheter they have learned anything or not.
One problem there is the unprofessional and unpleasant administration. Depending on who you talk to, or what day it is, you could get much different information given to you. Another disappointment is the lack of challenging classes. It seems that students are passed on through regardless of whether they learn anything. No wonder TIS test scores only earn a 5 out of 10. I prefer that my child be educated than placated.
TIS is a great school. It was definitely a transitional time for my child, but the teachers worked with me and my child to help during this time. My child left completely prepared for middle school. I'm not in the 'church group' or other social group that is referred to in other reviews. I simply went to the school and told them I was interested in playing a part in my child's education. The administrators, office staff, and others were always friendly and even asked if I would like to start volunteering (which is something parents usually sign up to do). I know every child is different, but we definitely had a wonderful experience at TIS and wish we could have stayed there longer than 2 years.
The teachers at this school are definitely out of touch and burnt out and need to retire or get a new career. The office staff and principal is very professional and really need to clean the slate ann hire teachers who care.