I have two here who just finished their first semester. This school is a treasure, academically and culturally. Students are set up to think critically and strategically about their work, and learning follows. But they don't stop there - these teachers also follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which teaches the context in which the learning exists and why it is relevant. I never thought I'd be able to come back to Alabama and find a place that would teach my children about the world and that it's great to be different from one another. I'm so grateful...........
I am a parent of two children at this school and it by far has exceeded my expectations. Every single person who works there cares for your child there has nothing, knows them and has their best interest at heart. Any child would excel in the environment that the principal has worked so hard to develop. Teachers are given a lot of autonomy which I feel is lacking in a typical school. Both of my children come home everyday with a smile on their face and cannot wait to go back. Thank you TMSE for what you have provided for our family!
One thing that really irks me at this school is the focus on teachers. Teachers are treated like some sort of rock stars, and kids are made to applaud the teachers at assemblies. Seriously, when the teachers are introduced everybody has to clap enthusiastically. I've never seen anything like it! Great teachers are awesome, but not all teachers at this school are that good, and even if they were that good, there's appreciation and then there's personality cult. Let's cool it a bit. The second thing that irks me is how they keep talking about what a great school they are. It's easy to look good when you compare yourself to other city schools from which you poached the top students. The real measure of success is in how your students measure up against other students from like schools in the country. When I compare what my child who is a top student at this school knows against what his cousins who live in another state know, my kid is behind. In math especially, it seems like what this school teaches is 1 or 1/2 of a grade level behind schools in other states. The third thing is: virtually NO recess. In an ELEMENTARY school. Enough said. As far as I'm concerned, I'm on the fence.
After completing 6 years (between 2 kids), I am still very pleased with TMSE! The teachers really are invested in the kids and the principal is present and loves her students! The atmosphere is one that makes the kids feel valued and allows them a ton of creativity and individuality!
After finishing a wonderful first grade year, we were thrilled with the quality of our first year. My son's teacher was wonderful, but so were the other two. The quality of the physical activity is phenomenal and the coaches work the kids, and the kids love it. The principal is available and present. Children see her, not because they have to, but because they want to. How often does that happen? It has been a pleasure to meet so many involved parents from all over the Tuscaloosa community. One of the greatest pleasures is to get to go to school with everyone in your city and to get to know so many from the community. We look forward to the upcoming school year and a wonderful and challenging educational year. Oh, and yes, in first grade there was regular homework.
This is a very good school, but it isn't as perfect as many here suggest. First off, the high score largely has to do with the fact that it is a magnet school and draws off the top students from area schools. Yes, it has a good score, but that comes at the expense of making other schools in the city worse by lowering their average test scores. Second, all of the extra-curricular stuff is nice, but it isn't a replacement for solid schoolwork. The teachers care, but they are apparently instructed to give as little homework as possible, Okay, maybe some research suggests too much homework doesn't help, but our children have had almost no homework all year while our son struggles with his multiplication. He needed regular homework throughout the year, and having parent-assigned work isn't as good. Third, I would rather see this school eliminate the questionable field trips and give the kids back recess! They are typically instructed not to talk at lunch, during P.E. on the bus or carpool line ... are they expected not be social, involved little people? TMS strives to be more than a typical authoritarian Southern school but still needs come practice to get it right.
I was very happy to see even more interest in learning from my daughter. The project based learning gave my daughter a new way to learn how to apply herself. The principal spent countless extra hours developing enrichment programs to be implemented at the school. Quality learning from math, english, science, foreign language, and even P.E.
We have two kids in this school - one in th elementary school and one in the middle school. Both schools are absoultely fabulous and represent a significant improvement in the quality of public education in the Tuscaloosa City School System. The elementary school principal provides fabulous leadership and support to a group of innovative and committed teacher. The active learning has kept both of our kids excited about learning and eager to go to school. The partnerhship program with The University of Alabama provides opportunities not typical of a public school system with children learning everthing from geology, to French, to guitar lessons.
My daughter really enjoyed her first year at TMSE. She was always excited about the new opportunities to learn. The UA partnership program is the best, by allowing the children to interact and learn about so many different things. My daugher and I are already looking forward to the TMSE 2010 -2011 school year.
We've been delighted with the Magnet School! The partnership with the University of Alabama is wonderful and the enrichment programs add so much to the curriculum. The teachers are very strong. My children love going there!