As a Trace parent I find the June 8th review a bit odd. Sure the school has issues but not having English communications/hung up phone calls are not it - we've not had issues with either. It would be interesting to hear more about "sweeping important issues under the rug"... So far we're actually pleased with the school, the teachers and the small but effective PTO. The new facilities are nice and the arts/drama/music and the Spanish Immersion program (TWBI) are fantastic. However, the administration lacks initiative (note to site editor the principal name is wrong - it is Anacelia Rocha). We've seen many good teachers leave and cite lack of support from the principal. The principal should acknowledge issues, set the bar high and focus on improvement. She should get parents engaged to help in this mission. The school needs parents helping due to lack of teacher aides - and that needs to be driven from top down as the teachers are inconsistent in soliciting parent support. The school also needs more resources for behavioral issues - few disruptive kids ruin the experience and should be moved to special ed classes. The principal should aggressively seek district help.
What a disappointment this school has been. The principal would sweep any important issues under the rug, saying they are not a concern of the Trace Families, when they very well were. They was very little communication, and their weekly phone calls consistently hung up on me. When there was paper communications, it wasn't in english, making it really hard to sign permission slips. Fortunately we will not be returning to the school.
Highs: - Strong PTO, but just low participation from parents. It's the same few parents that you see at all the events and activities. - Performing arts program is very strong with great teachers - Certain teachers are very committed to their jobs, you have to know which ones they are. Lows: - Administration isn't very strong or diverse, and many times not available for help. - Focus is on bringing up kids who are low on performance, at the expense of kids who have potential and need to be more challenged. - Not very much focus on cultural diversity education because of such high concentration of certain ethnic backgrounds. - Bullying is a big issue at this school. - Classes are at capacity, mostly 30 to a room, with no in class support except for parent volunteers. - No programs for special needs or gifted and talented education. - Need to update their communications, seem to waste a lot of paper and efforts on sending out multiple notices, seems very inefficient and costly.
The comment about hiring Keith Woodhouse is way off! The school administration is completely separate from the private after school program that hired him. Furthermore, the problem was that Woodhouse's previous employers have him positive work references, instead of reporting him to the police. This allowed unsuspecting child care organizations to hire him. I was actually impressed with how the after school program administration got this guy arrested quickly. It's a terrible situation, but it occurred because the Catholic school and day camps where he worked previously failed to do what's right and allowed other children to become victims. Trace is a good school, it has some issues, a big one is the principal Mrs. Rocha, who has no leadership skills, does not handle bullying properly, and does not work well with parents. The music, arts, drama, and two-way bilingual program are great. And so are the teachers and other staff.
This school has very bad bullying issues and doesnt resolve them tell they found out I was pulling my son out of that school, staff in the office are very rude
This school's administration is awful!!! They have no idea what they are doing. The parents here are very snobby/cliquey. If your child has any kind of special needs DO NOT SEND HIM/HER HERE. They will be treated poorly by administrators and other parents, and you will have a had time fighting for the services your child might need. Some of the teachers here are excellent - I feel sorry they have to teach at a substandard school.
Based on 2 class levels so far, K & 1st grade in the Two Way Bilingual Program, we are quite happy with both the program and the school. While the principal seems to be operating under crisis mode, and sometimes treading water, her spirit is unrelenting, in her efforts to make Trace a better school. The teachers we have met, including not only the grade level teachers in K & 1st, but also the Drama, Music & Art teacher (yes imagine that a school with dedicated arts teachers!) have been truly phenomenal, And the parental involvement, especially within the Two Way Bilingual Program, is incredible. It has given our family a chance to come out of our own cultural comfort zone to meet more folks and watch our child becomes fluent in English AND Spanish. Already a few short weeks into 1st grade, our child's ability in Spanish far outstrips most of us who learned foreign language in HS. The immersion part of the program starts off a bit challenging but has been amazingly effective for both the native and non-native English speakers in the class. Active parents get amazing results here at Trace, But don't just read the reviews, contact the PTO & meet some parents to get a better picture.
We're leaving the school this year. Our son is going into fourth, and he is middle of the pack, but has already been identified as one that won't move in the quartiles--so the teacher will just let him move along, uninspired. A kid has to be special to even make the radar. The teachers have to guess what kids have potential to move from below avg to avg or from average to above average. I tried volunteering inthe classroom, but when I grading math papers, the teacher gave a list of "hopeless" kids and told me not waste my time on their papers. Apparently, the principal said they can't afford to help those kids, they have to try to Improve their state test scores. The bottom three scores are thrown out. I guess it's no child left behind except the three who need it... Trace is morbidly managed.
For low-income kids who need extra help, Trace has put an emphasis on helping them through the VIA program in 2011-12. But it's at the expense of making sure that there is help in the classroom; and ending a parental involvement program without consulting parents is an irony that wasn't lost on parents -- or the reporters who covered the story in spring 2011. Increased class sizes are no doubt a contributor toward school desk scores dropping for the last couple years, though one can't help but wonder if the tinkering the school district was doing with the parental-involvement program also caused unintended negative results there. For talented and more advanced kids, Trace has increasingly become a holding tank, with teachers at the upper grades admitting that they have to give kids "busy-work" and P.E. consisting of running laps. On paper there is a program for gifted/talented students, but it does not exist in reality. Right now the VIA program doesn't seem open to a "How can we improve?" mentality -- perhaps more outreach and serious evaluation of it, and of the principal, by parents would give an honest assessment of how to earn back the trust of the community.
Trace is a Diamond in the Rough. While it is true, the PIE Program, Parent Involvement in Education, has changed, it is for a good reason. So many parents were excluded in the old PIE program. Now, with VIA (Volunteers in Action), all parents can participate. By recognizing the impact parents can make on their child's education at home, students have a chance to succeed. The education gap is not going to resolve unless parents get involved in their child's education. Teachers are a only a part of the equation. I have been involved with the VIA program and feel that although the Principal is not Hillary Clinton, she listens and cares enough to make changes that result in quality learning. The Superintendent cares enough to poll the parents and community to try to make a lasting difference. Who does that? I do know people that have left Trace because the PIE program changed. Had they stayed, they would have seen that in the first 90 days of school, the program has over three times the involvement it had last year. That is pretty amazing for a school that burned down and had so many problems last year. That speaks volumes for the spirit of parents at Trace.
Trace school is not the school it once was years ago. The teachers are overwhelmed,they lack leaderdhip and personal skills. The administration doesn't care. The school is overcrowded and they do not seem to care about the safety of children. They don't monitor anything that goes on in their campus . Including aftetschool care. My children were assaulted at the afterschool daycare on Trace property. The principal,district,and the teacher showed lack of compassion. My children are no longer in that school and they were behind when they moved to a new school and there were things Trace should've been teaching that they weren't. My kids are now safe and at the top of their class and are finally getting the education they deserve. Trace needs to be shut down they are below standards!
Our children attended Trace for several years. The administration is singularly focused on low achievement scores and the school is languishing in multiple years of program improvement status. Now that we are in a new school (and district) it is clear that the curriculum at Trace was significantly below average -- our children that tested "advanced" at Trace are considered "behind" in the basics at their new school. In this age of school funding cuts, the arts and drama programs at Trace are a plus. We experienced a broad range of teachers - from the exceptional to the uninspired. There is also a small group of committed parents that are trying to maintain a sense of community there, but they suffer from a lack of support from the principal and the district. With the dismantling of the Parent Involvement (PIE) program and more parents fleeing this year, I'm afraid Trace is just another failing urban school.
This school was really improving about 3 years ago. With the current principal and the abolition of the wildly popular PIE program it's now in it's second year of Program Improvement. Under the NCLB act, any child living within its attendance boundaries is entitled to a transfer to a better school. Use your rights!
We moved to this area last year and this school year was my daughter's first year at Trace Elementary. I absolutely love this school. It is true things have been a little disorganized but many things have happened at Trace this year that have caused disruption. I think the administrators have handled it fairly well. It has been a tough year and the kids really need us to pull things together. I was also part of PIE and I loved spending Mondays there to help the teachers and kids out. The children especially benefit from PIE and parents involved. Next year I would like to see more parents involved.
Trace is in a period of transition - due in part to NCLB and massive state funding cuts - and unfortunately the principal is not up to the challenge. Trace will lose its very successful Parent Involvement program next year, which is a huge loss. Class sizes are way too large (30 students in all classes K-5) and communication with parents is poor. The teachers are excellent, but they do not have the resources or the leadership they need to make a real difference, either for below-level kids or for kids who are above average. Also, I was very disappointed to find that at the art, music, and drama school, my son (in kindergarten) received none of the above from March-June. Pros include an awesome drama program and excellent instruction (when they get it) in music and art, and a lovely campus. And the new TWBI program is one of the best things going for Trace at the moment. But the cons outweigh the pros and we are starting to look for alternatives.
Trace seemed to go down-hill for the last 2-4 years prior to this year. I believe the new principal is doing wonders to put things back in order. Unfortunately it can't be done overnight. As for the students performing under grade level, the after-school tutoring program was a good idea, but once again, I think it is a matter of trial and error before finding a GOOD tutoring program. My third-grade daughter participated in one of the tutoring programs this year and did not benefit from it, at all. I have not yet decided as to whether we should stay at Trace (I fear her falling further behind) or attempt another school. My final thought is: Trace has potential and is on the right track, though it will take some time before seeing the results. Since my daughter is below grade level, I don't have the flexibility to wait for the positive changes to take place!!
We have been at Trace for three years, and are not planning to return next year. The administration is very weak. As other parents have commented all the focus of the administration is on getting test scores up; no effort is spent to challenge or inspire kids who are performing at or above level. There is a lot of bullying on the playground and very little supervision. We would really liked to have stayed at our neighborhood school, but have had enough.
We have been at Trace Elementary for many years. It was our choice and still is. We are apart of the parent involvement in education program(PIE). This is what brought us to Trace. The wonderful part about the PIE program, you can put your hours in however it works for your family. I volunteer in my children's classroom weekly. This allows the teacher to be able to pull small groups of children to read and do individual testing. This helps all of the children. We have had a wonderful experience with all of the teachers. They are fantastic !! Another wonderful thing Trace has is the arts, music and drama departments. The teachers are amazing. Every child performance yearly in a play. What a great experience for them. My children love it. We are so lucky to have a new theatre. From third- fitth grade, they can take electives-early morning drama, playing an instrument or choir. Not only are my children receiving a good education, they are also very well rounded. We are very happy with our school.
My family has been at Trace for 4 years and my 2 very different children are both happy and thriving there. I love the proximity (it's my neighborhood school) and I have found the staff to be dedicated, caring, and professional. Despite its large size, Trace has a safe, community feel to me.
We have been attending Trace for 3 years, and we really liked it in the beginning, but it has gone down hill recently. The school is so focused on meeting the minimum standards and making their AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) numbers as set by No Child Left Behind, that they have lost sight of their responsibility to teach all the children. The district and the administration have been only modesty committed to making changes and many parents seem frustrated and ready to go somewhere else.
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