Five (5) years ago from NY with 5 kids ages 16 to 8. Our kids attended public schools and private schools. MBE is very insular, 90% of the student body parents are themselves MBE alumni this is also true 50% of the teachers. So generational nepotism and favoritism is a real problem which makes it hard for kids moving here. Academically its ok, but most parents/kids have limited ambition beyond Auburn or Alabama, which is a low bar nationally, but great for Alabama residents. Socially the kids did fine, but they have not been prepared to do better than the average. On another point, distantly related but still important for people who maybe thinking about moving here for a job. I moved here to run a company, my efforts to recruit executives was significantly hindered by the lack of good educational options. MBE did not stand out for 80% of the executives who looked at moving to this area for a job, so the schools made it very had to grow a business. I like the area and the people, but I'm not sure I would do it again.
I have/had 2 children at this school. We moved to Mountain Brook and in a part of Mountain Brook specifically for this elementary school. This is an excellent school. I believe it to be more rigid than the other elementary schools in Mountain Brook, but from what I have seen MBE students are more prepared academically and socially for the junior high. Be prepared - expectations and parental involvement are extremely high and expected. Not many of the moms work and parents are very visible and hands on at this school. I don't believe we could have paid for via private school a better elementary education. Compare MBE scores to those of the private schools listed by one of the reviewers and you will see that MBE students consistently outscore them, especially Advent.
Mountain Brook Elementary is an outstanding elementary school. I am in my eleventh year as a parent at the school, and every year the school gets better. The principal is very hands on with the students and parents. She has an open door policy, but she is more often in the classrooms or out in the school rather than sitting in her office. The entire school district is using a new math curriculum this year. In addition, our reading coach and several teachers have just completed a reading initiative from Columbia University that when used in our classrooms has improved reading levels by four levels in one year. The parent group is exceptional and goes above and beyond to support the school and make all families welcome. MBE is also an inclusion school and all children are taught respect for people of all abilities. This is my last year at this school, and I am sad to leave. A rich learning environment that teaches to each individual student's needs.
OVERRATED SCHOOL! They use the Everyday math curriculum which is very controversial. Google it and see for yourself. If you are looking for a diverse student body, it is non existent. Teachers act as if they were doing you and your kid a favor. I am a very involved parent and they would not help me help my kid. I agree with one of the reviewers, it is not a nurturing environment by any means. The principal is your typical bureaucrat with no real interset in your child, just in his/her standarized test scores. I can not speak about the other schools in the system but if your are looking for a house in Mtn. Brook so that your kid can attend this school, look somewhere else. There are excellent private schools, the Advent, St. Rose, Highlands School,and excellent secondary schools such as Indian Springs and Altamont, ASFA. And just in case you are asking, I have a PhD and teach students on a daily basis.
My son is thriving at MBE! The teachers really work with parents to lead the children and help them achieve their full potential. We are looking at a new house, but it is out of the MBE district; we love the school so much that we are waiting 1 1/2 years to buy the new house, even though our son would be able to go to another Mountain Brook school and we are risking losing the other house.
All three of my children are or were in this system. We came from Minneapolis where they claim to have the best schools in the nation. Most of the parents who could afford it put there kids in private schools or catholic schools...now they were good. Anyway, our experience has been superior to the previous. The school system is rigid in some ways (old fashioned memorization...which I approve of) and lenient in other ways (they don't pay their subs enough and quite often the sub is not qualified to teach the class they are covering). Overall, the school is the best in the state, hands down, and among the best in the southeast and nation. 99.9% of the kids will go to college. Alot of that is money but, quite a few of the kids will get academic scholarships...again, the best in the state. I wouldn't have my kids anywhere else.