This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Forest Avenue Elementary School5
Posted November 18, 2014
- a parent
This was a great experience for our son and a huge learning advantage for him as well. His teachers were educators and made learning a great experience! The school's diversity was exactly the environment we wanted and we never had to worry about bullying or our child being left out. I love how they taught the kids to work as a team and together. The school goes far and above for field trips, educational experiences and there was never a day that my son didn't want to go to school. I am so thankful that he had this experience to continue his education in such a driven manner. They definitely set the bar for the rest of his educational path.
I've had 2 children go through FA, Baldwin, and LAMP. FA was an amazing experience for our kids. Our son was reading at a third grade level in kindergarten and his teacher let him move quickly through the curriculum so that he was never bored. It was so wonderful to have our children in a school of such diversity: Koreans, Indians, military children, children of all races. Never once did we hear of any racism issues. The teachers were all very caring and very approachable. FA is a very structured school and there are high expectations for both academics and conduct. It is important for parents to go into their first year at FA gingerly; it's not for every child. Just because a child tests into the program does not mean that child is LAMP bound or an Einstein. I've seen parents take their children out of the program and place them in other schools where they will blossom instead of leaving them in FA to struggle because the parents can't swallow their pride and do what is best for their children. For children who thrive best in a structured, challenging, and caring environment and who have parents who are willing to be supportive and involved, FA is a jewel.
I hate that my child has to attend this school (FAAM). We cannot afford private, and the public school system here is not an option. So we are forced to endure the accelerated program. While the students work at a grade level above the grade they are enrolled in, it is still the same curriculum as the public schools, with emphasis on drill and repetition. There is no innovation, just more work. The worst aspect is the conduct grade. Our child has received conduct marks for: yelling on the playground, and jumping in the hall. Worse yet, while academic grades are all averaged together, conduct stands alone, not averaged with any other subject. This, I believe is the root of the problem. Parents without the means to send their children to private schools have no viable alternative. At least in Elementary school, the system knows that they have the power to coerce obedience out of the children and their parents. I met one of the teachers outside of the school one day, she asked how our child was doing. I responded that academically he is fine, but we have the typical conduct grade issues that FAAM is known for. Her response was Don t let them break his spirit.
FAAM is a fantastic academic magnet program! I have two children there. My oldest entered in 2nd grade and is currently a 3rd grader. My youngest is in K. It certainly is a challenge for them. My oldest loves learning and thrives with academic challenge. My youngest has to work hard at academics, but has had a fabulous teacher to help his efforts! We are a military family and will be SO sad to leave this magnet program here in Montgomery. I don't know how we'll find a school to compare after we move! I'd highly recommend this program to parents with children who are academically-minded and love to be challenged!
Everybody knows Forest Ave is the best! But in order for your child to survive they will need a strong, educated support system. It has been difficult for me because:I never did well in school, i am a single parent and i'm gone for work two weeks a month. However,my child deserves the best! And i will continue to pull from every resource possible to keep her on top. I am so proud of her because she is doing great! Always remember, anything worth having, is worth working for!
I love this school! Yes it is absolutely a challenge, the teachers are tough and the kids are held to a high standard. That is exactly what I am looking for for my daughter and we are going into 4th grade now and have been with forest ave since kindergarten. The only thing I would say I would hope for is more school sponsored activities, sports, art classes etc. I love that we have such a strong emphasis on academics and character, but I d o think that arts and athletics help to build character as well.
I'm not quite sure how to rate the school overall. Honestly, our experience here was pretty terrible, but I do not think the school is bad. My child was here for 4 years, and I would say that 3 out of 10 teachers were right for this school. I understand that the curriculum is harder than average schools, but that doesn't mean that the teachers can just stop teaching and expect the child to understand everything. They should be challenged and taught above grade level, but not expected to already KNOW above grade level information. If you're a working family then go ahead and count yourself as an "outsider" for school functions. All stay at home moms volunteer every opportunity and when you find one that you can help with, it is just awkward. Very unwelcoming since you aren't part of their group. Now, Mrs. Hill (principal) is fantastic. I think that she does have what it takes to run this school and I don't fault her for some of the teachers. My child enjoyed this school and her friends, but I was less than impressed with the teachers. I will not attempt testing for my other children at Forest Avenue when they are old enough for elementary school. We will most likely try Bear.
When the school year began, I was a little concerned. The academic rigors were fine but the conduct requirements seemed a little over the top. After an entire year at this school, I am more than pleased with the entire school, and curriculum. FAAM is not for those who expect it to be easy. There are tremendous expectations on the children in academics and conduct. If you're looking for an easy school, this is not the one for you. If you're looking for a challenge, you have found it. The teachers and administration are wonderful, and have the children's best interest at heart. The only negative that I have is that I don't feel the children are given enough outside time. There were days and weeks where my child was not outside at all. Other than that, the school is FANTASTIC. The parents at this school are also quite wonderful.
FAAM has earned so many awards, and deserves every single one of them. My daughter is in 3rd grade now, and has been at Forest Ave since K. You cannot find a better school anywhere!! The teachers and administration are absolutely the tops! The kids come first no matter what, and communication between parents and teachers is open and available - whether its extra explanation with work assignments or a book-keeping question, the teachers respond as soon as they have a moment to read their emails. This is truly a first class education! Do not let the work load rumors frighten you! Kids need homework to remember the lesson, and projects are a part of growing up. A wonderful school that I would recommend to anyone looking for the best for their children!
The work load can be hard. I do think there tend to be a lot of clique amongst the parents and PTA which can be discouraging to parents who would like to participate. My child gets an eduction that tops what any other school in the state offers. And we have had wonderful teachers so despite some social issues I still think FA is the BEST school in Alabama.