This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Thomas Starr King Middle School2
Posted November 23, 2014
- a parent
My sons are in the 7th grade GAT magnet school. I am not satisfied with this place. Thought it's a gifted arts and tech schools, the teachers are really trained in dealing with with gifted students and there is a lack of any real technology aspect unless pasting pictures into reports is considered technology. Additionally, due to lack of funding, there is no computer given to the students. They can use the library computers, etc. , but not a one to one program as was in place at my kids' elementary school. It's an acceptable neighborhood school, but the fantastic magnet school we had hoped it would be. Too bad for us. Hopefully some of the hard core changes will be made in the future and students will receive an exemplary education. Definately not the case now. Reading through the reviews, I notice a couple of negaticve reviews in the past which are not there....wonder why they have been deleted. I thought a couple were spot on.
I grew up in the area and I remember when this school had a bad reputation. What a difference the past few years have made! 1. An API jump from the 600's to the mid 800's and rising in the span of a few short years is amazing. 2. The transition to an ALL magnet school (Film, Environmental, and Gifted) has really helped this school blossom. 3. Increased parent involvement with a very active group called the Friends of King. 4. Great teachers who really care about the students (my son is in the environmental studies program). 5. A pretty campus with a lovely vegetable garden smack in the middle of campus. 6.Excellent field trips 7. Great afterschool programs and extracurricular activities. We are so lucky to live in a neighborhood in which all three public schools (elementary, middle, and high school) are excellent!
There is so much to love about King. I love the trees and garden; I love that the 6th graders are on the hill, a bit separate from the bigger kids; All the teachers are intelligent and invested. A lot of the learning is project-based, clever and stimulating, and multi-disciplinary, too, where the different subjects & teachers feed into one big assignment. This is all GREAT -- in groups, individually...creative engagement that requires imagination and care. Love it! My only issue -- and it is a big one -- is the demolition of the accelerated math track. King has opted to no longer offer Algebra in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th grade. For kids in the GAT who could swing the advanced subject matter, the fact that the accelerated math path has been erased (in alleged compliance with the Common Core) is infuriating. Maybe with enough parent protest, they will reinstate what they formerly offered. On balance, I think TSK is an excellent, understanding middle school. I'm just disappointed by the loss of a true (not just "taught faster") accelerated math program, where mathematically-inclined kids who are ready for more challenge are being told to slow down, and 'wait.'
This is our son's first year in the Environmental Studies Magnet program. He absolutely loves attending Thomas Starr King Middle School. As a parent, we are so grateful to have extremely dedicated teachers that really care about the students academic success. Our family is very happy to be a part of this school community. Thank you to everyone who works so hard to give our children the very best education.
Our son is in the Arts and Tech Magnet in the 8th grade. He has been there all three years of middle school, and it has been a wonderful experience for him. The teachers, for the most part, are fantastic. Devoted, inspiring and setting the bar high for these kids. I feel our son has developed a real love of learning and being challenged to think outside the box. And we feel King has prepared him nicely for high school. We would highly recommend King to any family looking for a challenging education.
My kids have had a lovely experience in the GAT magnet. Their teachers have ranged from pretty good to outstanding, with many in the "outstanding" category. The one blot was the 7th grade social studies teacher who is an odd character to say the least, but my kids did learn the content (and so did I along with them). BTW my kids LOVED the "militant" 7th grade English teacher referenced below and blossomed in her class. I think this program prepares kids well for academically challenging high school programs. A great option for a neighborhood middle school.
Our son just started at TSK Gifted Arts/Tech "GAT" after a very poor academic experience at Larchmont Charter. So far, we are thrilled with with TSK, both the teachers and the program, but it has been only 2 months. I think this year will continue to be great, but when doing my research on the school, I did hear negative feedback on the teachers for 7th grade. So, I am concerned about next year. I heard that the science teacher is a creationist & a battle-ax to boot, so really hope she is put to pasture by the time my son is in 7th. I am writing this review both to praise the program in 6th and to remind the school admin they need to fix 7th!
Thomas Starr King has been changing on the inside for years and now that it's 3 magnets and API scores increasing each year is a true testament to the work done before we started. Our daughter attends the Environmental magnet and just loves it. My hubby and are are part of the beautification committee "I Keep King Clean" and see a bright future for generations to come.
Truth-be-told, I spent the better part of my son's elementary school years filled with dread/anxiety about sending him to this school. However, over the past several years things have changed tremendously, and I'm so happy we're here! TSK is now an all-magnet school, which means no more have's/have not's, and all the kids benefit from the same great opportunities. The collaboration between parents/administration/and teachers is pushing this school to new heights and it shows! My son is in the former "home school", which was transformed into the Film & Media magnet, and he is happy and thriving here. There are so many fabulous teachers who care about what they do and the kids they teach and welcome parent involvement. We came from one of the top-rated elementary schools in LAUSD, and as our neighborhood school, TSK is now completely worthy of the students that are filling it's halls. The only down-side is the lack of standard music/art education as part of the core curriculum, but unfortunately, this is a cultural condition, and not a fault of TSK.
Growing and changing. This school is in an amazing process of becoming a true neighborhood and citywide gem. The teachers and families are committed to higher standards of academics and environment. With three magnets the school can accommodate varied interests and challenge levels. The kids have a ton of spirit and Lion pride.