I have been a teacher at La Mesa for a number of years. I have also been a parent. Both my son and daughter attended La Mesa School since kindergarten. I was very happy with almost all the teachers my children had. I knew them as personal friends who worked long hours, both weekdays and weekends, because they genuinely cared about their students and wanted to offer the best possible educational experiences. The demographics change periodically due to a variety of factors. While the school is currently primarily military, we have a significant number of civilians. Of the military, a significant percent is foreign, offering a unique educational experience to all. Of the civilian population, the number of gifted students mirrors that of the military students, including both my children, who consistently scored in the 98-100 percentiles on standardized testing. It is unfair for critical parents to cite that military students deserve credit for La Mesa's high scores, since these parents do not have access to anyone's scores other than those of their own children. As highly educated as many are, they often object to children of color attending the school and equate these students with poor academic performance, unacceptable behavior, and view them as nonmilitary (i.e. "civilians"). Over the years there has been a concerted objection to civilians attending the school, and a minority of well educated, highly vocal parents have advocated that La Mesa become a DOD school for the express purpose of excluding civilian children. Regarding parent-teacher communications, teachers make phone calls, post message boards outside classrooms, send home newsletters and use email/Class Dojo in addition to individual teacher websites located on the La Mesa website. The teachers and parents have always worked closely together to raise funds for the school because we do not qualify for the same types of funding as other schools. We do have some issues which prevent me from giving a 5 star recommendation, but 4 stars are certainly warranted.
This school is a mixed bag. Previous comments are on point about the military kids holding this schools academic ratings so high. If not for it being directly placed in the middle of officer housing, and primarily filled with the kids of higher educated parents, the scores of this school would be the same as the surrounding area. Unfortunately, that means the kids attending will have education outcomes below what they are use to. This is frustrating for the parents. I DO NOT fault the teachers, it is the the district. That being said, when you meet the office staff and get a bad feeling about the school, listen to your instinct. There are lots of charter school alternatives. I recommend looking at Big Sur Charter in Monterey.
I have nothing but great hings to say about this school. My student has been at La Mesa since Kindergarten and has had nothing, but positive experiences. Being a local to Monterey I have seen the education being provided in other local schools. La Mesa teachers are amazing. I have had the same teacher for my son for second and fifth grade. She excels in keeping the students motivated to learn and providing a supporting "fun" environment that is still very rigorous. This school is a community and the community supports the school. They ask a lot of the parents, but the programs are well worth it. I love this school and know my child is more than prepared for their academic future.
LaMesa's scores are NOT a reflection on the school but a result if the demographics of students that attend the school. The school, in reality is performing VERY poorly. The faculty and staff are (on a whole) unprofessional, unprepared and ineffective (or worst and causing damage). The new principal (who expected more out of his teachers then ever occurred) is resigning at the end of the year. Their claim to greatness is the PTA funded programs, which may be going away next year and their test scores which have no reflection on the classroom teacher or school. Save yourself the frustration and your children the wasted year and heartache and seek other school options.
This school is in trouble! The new principal is giving up after less than one year on the job and resigning at the end of the year (after years of having an ineffective one.) The PTA is involved and pays for the PE teacher and science labs. Parents volunteer to teach art etc. Unfortunately, it looks like MPUSD is trying to strip these programs from La Mesa even though they do not pay for them. This is the BEST performing elementary school in MPUSD solely due to the fact that the majority of the children come from other locations due to military moves. If you are considering La Mesa due to convenience, please reconsider. There are several charter schools in the area, call them, see if they fit for your family, you will not be upset by avoiding this school.
One of the 4th grade teachers coerced her students into buying retail products from her, using their own money and without parental consent or knowledge. When confronted, this teacher insisted there was nothing wrong with her behavior and that selling to 9-10 year old children (who aren't capable of understanding what she was doing and who she is in a position of authority over) was just like anyone selling things to co-workers in an office. If you're military and considering living in La Mesa to attend this school, please reconsider.
I read past reviews, which are based on the past principal. This year La Mesa has a new principal who is working with many dynamics from the past. That is quite a challenge but he is devoting many hours and problem solving to support the district's new directions--one being to turn this school around (see reviews). If you want your school to improve, give this principal your support. The principal, alone, cannot change years of misdirected leadership and teaching. I believe he has the school's best interest in mind, for all concerned.
This schools reputation is not deserved. There is a large population of military children that stay for a short time and boost the school's test scores. The higher scores are consistent year to year as every year there are new students that came from better schools. Local parents that value their children's education transfer their children to this school expecting great things. Almost immediately it is obvious the high test scores and good reputation are fluff. The class sizes are large. The teachers are hit or miss. Lunch time is a negative experience due to poor time management, overcrowding, and warnings that recess will be taken away. Their funding has been cut. They do not have a school nurse. Communication is poor. Orientation was three weeks into the school year and children were not allowed to attend. This school is right in the middle of a military neighborhood. Military.... That means they do not have grandparents that live nearby to watch the kids. The school completely ignores the needs of the military and local community. Sad.
We moved into La Mesa for this school and have been sorely disappointed. Classes are huge (28-31) with one teacher. You will notice the school's issues as soon as you speak with the front office staff...every interaction was with rude ladies who made us feel like an inconvenience. Getting time with a teacher is next to impossible as is trying to communicate with them. The overall attitude is to get the kids through and if you are a parent raising issues you are ignored. There is a high turn over of students due to the military population being here for very short periods of time. Overall I do not at all recommend La Mesa and wish we had been warned before moving in the neighborhood for this school. stints. Overall the issues we expeetienced were
My daughter had a very positive experience at La Mesa for 4th and half of 5th grade due to two superb teachers. Despite large class sizes (over 30 kids) and varying levels of academic background among students, these teachers managed to challenge all children appropriately. The teachers were caring and respectful and provided opportunities for students to do special projects (mission project, book reports, historical and biographical research, dioramas). One of the most exciting opportunities for 5th graders is the week long overnight trip to science camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The science lab program is a hidden gem of La Mesa. The instrument program was a big disappointment, starting in 5th grade and being very weak. The art program thrived due to parent volunteers helping out with the Art Docent program. The PTA does an amazing job trying to recruit volunteers to participate in fundraisers that pull in large amounts of the school's budget (e.g., the At&t Pro-AM). However, communication was lacking, and volunteers pleas were often last minute. This school deserves kudos for evolving in the face of constant student turnover.