Susan Brisiel was the school secretary for twenty years. She set a high standard for service, calm, order, and kindness at the front of the school! There is a lovely fountain that was dedicated to her that sits right outside my classroom window. I fondly remember her presence and try to be more like her.
I am biased, of course! All I can tell you is to drive by the school after 3:30 any afternoon, or on the weekends. You will see staff members up there going above and beyond because they are passionate about what they do. The proof is in the success---we have former Grizzlies who have gone on to be very successful in jr. high, high school and college-they not only have shown ease with academic success, but in leadership and community service. They are the kids who serve on student council, sleep in a cardboard box to raise money for the school district's homeless program, and receive scholarships. I personally know of several physicians, professors, marketing, business, real estate, film makers, and teachers who had their foundations built at Vandergriff.
I personally don't give much homework. I don't like to take my work home, (although I do....!) so I don't expect my students to have to spend hours on school projects and homework, but to be able to pursue outside interests and enjoy family time! I think it varies from teacher to teacher.
Students are encouraged to stick with things when it is difficult! Especially in math problem solving, students are encouraged to stick with the work and think, be ready to take risks, and learn from their mistakes!
Students have been challenged recently to speak when spoken to; to look others in the eye, and to make sure to listen to others fully. Every student has value, and we seek to value and respect all individuals in our community.
Vandergriff does many outreach projects throughout the year: the Charlie Brown Used Book Sale is an all-school event that is the local animal shelter's largest fundraiser! We also give to United Way to support many local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club, Lifestyles, and others. When individuals experience a loss, the school family has sought to serve-one example was the beautiful track facility that we partnered with others to build in memory of former PE Coach Bob Kraynik. Students are continually taught to look out for everyone.
Vandergriff has a long history of encouraging character development in its students. Currently, we are learning about Covey's seven habits, and it has been awesome for students, teachers, and families!
My four children attended this school from 1995 until 2001, and then I started working there in 2005. Dr. Stark and the charter staff sought to build a legacy at this school of kindness and compassion. To whom much is given, much is expected. While there has been huge growth at this school in academic achievement and curriculum alignment, the heart of the school has been maintained-a family atmosphere in which every person is valued and cared for, and each is encouraged to reach his or her highest potential. The school has become more diverse in recent years and there is definitely room for growth in learning to be more inclusive and broader-thinking as a community. If you're considering purchasing a home in this district, call the office to schedule a visit, and even ask if your child could visit a classroom. If teachers know ahead of time, they can be ready to put you at ease in your transition. We've just received the National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Dept. of Ed. for the second time in six years. Our PTO is phenomenal, helping to provide all kinds of support for the faculty, staff, kids, and even the larger community.
We have been at Vandergriff for 7 years. I completely disagree with the parents who wrote the teachers are uncaring and that it matters what type of clothes their children wear. My children have some name brand clothing but not much and they are not treated any differently and we have absolutely enjoyed and been impressed with the teachers that we have had. One was not fantastic but who can except every single teacher to be amazing. That is not reality. Your child will not always have amazing teachers if you are in any educational program. You must learn to adjust and your child must too. Education is their focus at Vandergriff and now they have added a leadership program ("Leaders and Me"). My kid that is there now absolutely loves this program and it is encouraging him to be outgoing, respectful and to set goals for himself.
More than disappointed. Purchased a home for the specific reason that my child attend Vandergriff. If you believe your child will need ANY extra help or attention regarding behavior or academics, this school is not for you. However, if your child is in a position to excel academically & emotionally, Vandergriff could be the right place. With a highly praised school, comes "highly praised" people who generally are affluent and well known within society. Either you fit into such social environment or not. This should be a consideration, as it does & will affect your child & your family accordingly. This is simply my opinion, but I will say that many others I know agree.