My children are in Kinder & 2nd grade at NCAS. Both kids have caring supportive teachers. The new principle is devoted to her students. Literacy is a top priority at NCAS. Students are happy and there is a lot of parent involvment. Parents are asked to donate to help with some programs but isn't that the norm at all schools these days. We have school choice options and we choose to go to NCAS. Demographics is an even slice out of Pasadena. My children are academically on par with their friends from private schools.
The school has a new principal and is making progress. There is still ceramics. There are still music programs for 3rd, 4th, and 5th, plus after school choir for all grades. There are new mobile computer carts but funds are needed to continue computer instruction and the school is asking families to donate. There is still a part time librarian and teachers do take students to check out books throughout the year. True, there is not much of a science lab but it needs funding. Parents who want to get more involved or who have ideas for solutions are welcome to share. Every school has its challenges and I think this school is making good effort to move forward. My kids have made progress every year, thanks to the many dedicated teachers there.
Sadly, Norma Coombs has had two disappointing principals in a row and it isn't the school it used to be. The website promises great programs but the school doesn't live up to them. The science lab is a joke. My child's mixed grade class was terrible. The Library is never open. The Principal only cares about her favorites and if you aren't in her special clique don't expect to have any issues with your child addressed. But she won't hesitate to ask you for money over and over. She only cares about using technology for education and is willing to strip out all creativity to pay for computers. It seems her goal is to have robots for teachers and chase out, and shut down, any human that doesn't follow her regime. If you want your kids to learn first hand about fascism then definitely send your kids here. There are some good teachers but most have lost their light and are just going through the motions. There are a few great parents working hard to do good things, but they get little support from the majority. It is the same small group doing everything while the rest drop off and pick up and never look back.
School does not have the funds to help educate your child. California State Test results from 2013 did not count. Funds were pulled from this school. No music class, computer class started a few months before school was out. New teachers are needed. New principal is needed who cares about these kids and the their future.
This is an appreciation of a teacher that exceeded my expectations! PUSD has a jewel in there system.Mrs Charlotte Caldwell, an outstanding and caring second grade teacher at Norma Coombs Alternative School, went above and beyond the expected time given for each class. When most teachers are relaxing on their break, she would spend extra time with my son to help him become more engaged with his school work. Also, I noticed that she took the curriculum and changed it to meet my son s needs to in-crease his learning potential. She noticed my son had a hard time focusing and tookthat as a challenge rather than a problem. My son enjoys going to school now be-cause a teacher cared.
My son went here for their hgh-functioning Autism class. The strides he made in 6 weeks were amazing. We moved out of state for a new job and haven't found anything close to this program.
Hope I'm wrong, and I admit I'm spoiled, we used to be able to afford private elementary (it had it's own difficulties), but I felt like a person there not a number on a line in the boiling hot sun chanting. NCAS, so far sub-par. A slew of kids. My special needs kid is lost in the sauce trying to figure out an overwhelming situation for neuro-typical kids. Lots of lip service when we get into IEP meetings. They're over their heads and don't call a spade a spade. We're headed for rough roads ahead in this scenario. Playground a dustbin, buildings uninspiring, curtains faded....no flowers, no grass...Kid's still sweet, hope they have support at home, b/c it's a jungle here.
I have a 5th grader and a 1st grader at NCAS. We have been through some transition in leadership over the past few years which has been a challenge. However, the teachers have been consistently fabulous. They really care about the kids and have a passion for teaching - even in the face of the budget cuts that all schools across CA have been dealing with over the past few years. Parents are very involved, which really helps keep the extras like library, computer lab, music, and ceramics going - as well as fun activities like fall festival. I'm happy we've stuck with NCAS, even with some of the ups and downs over the past few years.
This a great school. Dr. Williams was a great principal. My son is missing the pledge of alligiance, the morning show. He missis Dr. Williams. Thes darn parents from the PTSA think they speak for all the parents in the school. They want to do the principals job so bad I want to see them run a school after they obtain their Doctorate. Other than the PTSA the teachers are great & they really care for our children & their education. They challenge them to think outside the box.
My child has been at NCAS for the last 4 yrs. NCAS have faced major challenges throughout the years but we survived. People can complain all they want about the principal but what people don't realize is the principal only has so much power. Every decision must be approved by the district. It's not right, but it is what it is. There are too many politics, gossips and no nonsense bashing and it's ridiculous. Parents, STOP IT! We are here for our children's education. There are parents that should just step aside and see how they act. When you point a finger at the principal, there are 4 fingers pointing back at you. Grow up parents!
I think that Dr. Williams is a great principal and the teachers are awesome! I do worry about a few of the PTSA parents and there mob mentality............
Dr. Williams is running this school down to the ground. Her "quiet zone" is a joke. She yells and screams at students and blows her whistle while in the "quiet zone." She lacks people skills and has no idea how to run a school. She has worked against the parent volunteers by making them schedule appointments to volunteer. She sides with rude office staff and allows them to continue to be rude to parents, staff and visitors. Dr. Williams' "open door policy" is NOT an actual open door policy. You must schedule an appointment to see her, and she is well known for breaking her appointments. Not a way to run a school. This woman does not belong in education. It's really sad to see a once great school and community being torn apart by an incompetent "educator."
NCAS was my first and only choice for my kids. NCAS is the most diverse school in the district, the teachers are top notch and the principal(Dr. Watkins) was the complete package. These are the reasons why we chose to bring our kids here. Two years ago Dr. Watkins decided to head back home to Georgia. Her departure and the arrival of Dr. Williams left most of us wondering if things were going to change. Well, they did. Dr. Williams has NO leadership skills. Her inability to talk to parents, allow volunteers on campus and her constant screaming in the "quiet zone" are driving my wife and I to change schools. Also, the office staff is very rude and will only act nicely to those they know. The fact that my kids LOVE the school's teachers and their friends had us stay for one more year. If things don't change as far as Dr. Williams is concerned, we will be headed elsewhere. I know of a lot of families that have left and it's a shame. The school has lost a lot of good families and will be losing a lot more because of Dr. Williams.
Since our kids began here at Norma Coombs, we have found a very warm and loving environment in all of their classes. The teachers genuinely care about each and every student. Our Kindergarten teacher sent home a note with a list of the children and each of their "special qualities." This impressed us with how well she knew each child. You get a real community feeling here, which you can see after dropoff in the morning when MANY parents stop to chat with one another and check in. We have a very active PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Assoc.) Board, School Site Council, ELAC and AAPC - the parents are committed to tackling any issues thrown at them in an effort to make this school a great learning environment. We are thrilled to be Lions and to call Norma Coombs our home!
Norma Coombs needs to address their number one problem teacher, 5th grade teacher Ms. Whitley. She is a bully, who verbally abuses children, who is unflexible and uncaring and I wish the principal would LISTEN to all of the parents of the children in Ms. Whitley's class. Norma Coombs is an ok school, until the child reaches 5th grade and they HAVE to deal with this teacher. Very sad.....
The teachers at this school care about our children, and the volunteer parent community is very involved and passionate about providing the "extras" even while school budgets continue to be cut. These programs include Computer Lab, Music and Ceramics. It is a great school and we are happy with our choice.
My daughter started at Norma Coombs in the 3rd Grade (2011-12) and, while it was a difficult transition, her 4th Grade year is going very well! The 4th grade teachers are both awesome and I stay in constant communication with each to ensure my daughter's progress and success! The teachers, parents and staff make NCAS a great learning environment for our children and I couldn't be happier with the Music, Ceramics and Computer Lab programs in place! This was an excellent choice for us...I am very excited about the rest of the school year!
Norma Coombs is a "choice school" in the Pasadena Unified School District, which means it doesn't have an assigned neighborhood. As a result, the student body reflects the diversity of Pasadena as a whole rather than one of its neighborhoods. This is one reason we chose Norma Coombs. Another reason is that they still emphasize the arts (ceramics, music, choir, etc) when most other schools have cut their programs. They've keep their library open while most other schools have lost theirs. All these factors make for a very well-balanced education for our two children. Unfortunately, 2010-2011 was a rocky year for Norma Coombs: PUSD was threatening to close the school, despite its great successes. The parents and staff fought hard and kept Normal Coombs open. And then our principal left. As a result, our API has not grown as it has in the past. The new principal is still adjusting to our somewhat unique school community, but she is making good progress. Norma Coombs has a very strong parent involvement and its PTSA (the S is for Students) does a fantastic job at fundraising and generating a sense of community. As budget cuts keep coming, Norma Coombs keeps roaring.
We are so thankful that our daughter was granted admittance to NCAS. She has completed 2 wonderful years and is doing awesome in 2nd grade... We continue to be impressed with the teachers, faculty/staff, parents, and students. We love NCAS because of the sense of community, the drive for excellence in all areas, and the well-balanced curriculum, inclusive of ceramics, computers, and library... Norma Coombs is also invested in the community, providing meals to families for Thanksgiving, participating in Toys for Tots for Christmas and numerous other community efforts... All of the boards at NCAS (PTSA, SSC, AAPC, ELAC) contain highly qualified parents and staff to provide excellent leadership... NCAS has always risen to any challenges and continues to prove triumphant.... GO LIONS!!!
My two children (K & 2nd grade) have flourished at Norma Coombs. Their teachers are wonderful and truly care about each student. Both of my kids love going to school, love doing their assignments, and love attending extra-curricular activities at the school. The PTSA Board is a fantastic, caring group of people. Many parents are involved and really feel connected to the mission of Norma Coombs. We have worked closely with the Principal and find her to be very helpful. I encourage all interested families to consider our school.
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