When we moved to this community 10 years ago, we felt comfortable with the idea of our kids attending this school through 5th grade. Unfortunately we left before they reached second grade.
Both of our kids scored in the top 2% on Global Scholars testing, yet the school had no answer for keeping them challenged. In fact, we were discouraged from seeking outside options for enrichment because, "they'll get too far ahead."
They do a wonderful job of lowering the standard so "everybody gets a trophy" and their test scores remain mediocre. A growing number of parents and teachers at the school have become skeptical of the priorities of the school administration and the district. Compared to Greystone Elementary - less than 2 miles away - this school consistently underperforms despite there being no socioeconomic difference in the families it serves. It will argue that its test scores have improved. However, it did so in large part by more aggressively labeling kids for "tier 2" and "tier 3" learning intervention, thereby exempting more low performers from its test population.
More problematic is the fact that this school and its district does not give grades until 6th grade. Currently, the highest grade a child can earn is a "3" which correlates to "meeting" the state standard for the designated skill set. Parents moving to the area need to remember that Alabama's state achievement and standards are among the lowest in the nation. Families who know better are taking action. Enrollment at this school has lagged the growth of the surrounding area in part because more families like ours are opting for homeschooling and private schools.
This school has a lot of potential which it is far short of fulfilling. Its priorities are skewed by bureaucracy which frustrates parents and teachers. If your expectation are more than mediocre, then you'll be very disappointed.
I have had three children who have attended Mt Laurel, over the past 3 years. Every teacher they have had has gone above and beyond to love, nurture, and push my children to be strong and independent learners. The Administration was phenomenal with Mrs Walker as principal and that has continued on with Mrs. Deem and Mrs. Neighbors. There is a lot of parent support and a strong feeling of community. We love Mt Laurel!
I have had four kids who attended this school. There is not a better school in the Birmingham area. This is school is in a tight knit community and has the feel of a private school. There is excellent parental support for what the teachers are trying to accomplish. Great school!
We have had a nice experience at Mt Laurel, though I believe it's different if you're a working mom than if you are active in the PTO. Sometimes administrators & teachers assume all parents know what's going on and sometimes they don't explain events or routines fully to parents. My son is in the 1st grade & is truly developing a love for learning, which is what I want most. I DO NOT like that his class is doubled up for space. 36 kids in 1 classroom is too many, though the 2 teachers do their best. He had 16 kids in his kindergarten class last year and had the best experience. We love Mt. Laurel but plan to move out of the district next year because we understand the upper grade schools are not nearly as good.
My son completed first grade at this school. It was our first experience with Shelby County Schools. The school building is beautiful with a lot of parental support. I was not impressed with my son's teacher or curriculum. The teacher was young and inexperienced. It seemed to take most of the school year to get into her groove of teaching. I found I needed to stay on top of school assignments making it into my son's backpack, each week was inconsistent on what was being assigned and testing given without parents knowing what was being tested or students having enough practice. I voiced my opinion to the teacher and principal. Although they listened it took most of the school year for some changes to be made. My son will be attending a private school next year.
I have two boys in this school and could not be more unhappy. This school definately doesn't deserve the test scores or the reviews that I read before moving to this school zone. I have one child that has medical issues causing him to miss several days for illnesses and doctor's appointments so he needs every day of attendence he can get. The nurse has sent him home for being sick then the school has put him down for an unexcused absence even with my notes and/or doctor's notes. I don't understand how I can be told that I have to pick him up just to later be told it is an unexcused absence. He also has an IEP that has yet to be followed! The school teaches to the test rather than simply teaching the information. The work is not nearly as challenging this year as it was last year at another school. My other child is in 1st grade with no special needs and has had no problems but again has not been challenged at all this year and finds it basically a repeat of Kindergarten.
We moved to Mt Laurel Elem this past school year and my daughter LOVES it. My husband and I could not be more pleased! Our teacher is WONDERFUL and my daughter loves all of her programs (art, computer, library). We will have another daughter there next year! We also love Mrs. Walker! Great School with great teachers and great parent involvement!
Me and my wife were new parents with my son, so we were very skeptical about any school but Mt. Laurel has been a wonderful school. My son love's the school, the kids and the teacher's. He's been going there since kindergarten. Great Job Mt Laurel staff.
My son has been at Mt. Laurel since kindergarten and we LOVE everything about the school. It is a true community effort from the principal to the support staff. A true village mentality exsists at MLES. Dr. & Mrs. Reggie Smith
I have grandchildren that attend MLES. Mrs. Walker is a wonderful pricipal who truly cares about the children. In my opinion, the school has a very caring enviornment including the teachers, the nurse, and the food preparers.