I am a elementary teacher in another district. My sons have been in Franklin since K. One just graduated and the other will be in 5th grade. Franklin is an excellent school. Both of my sons individual needs have been met and with exception of 1 teacher out of the 11 years total my sons have attended the teachers have all been great. They have met my sons' need for accelerated programs and my children have thrived. Although I could wish for smaller class sizes, I have never felt that my sons have lacked individual attention. Moreover, I know of no other public school and even private schools that can match Franklin's music program. My older son who graduated has had 3 years of music, two years focused on his pick of instruments and even though he is unlikely to pursue music as a career he is very good at his instrument and is looking forward to Lincoln's music program where he will continue to get instruction every day on his choice instrument. The gifted classes available after school to the students who qualify are terrific and have encourage both of my sons' STEM interests.
I agree with the post from April 10th. But April 24th comments read like damage control. You simply cannot compare Franklin with the almost 30 kids per class to a private school where the teachers have the luxury of teaching only 15-20 kids. The other big difference is that a private school would fire a Kindergarten teacher who is always shouting at the little 5 and 6 year olds and leaving them terrified. Its clearly a policy of Franklin to put teacher's tenure first, regardless of the destructive behavior they may display. If I could give this place 1 star, I would.
Franklin "teaches to test" it's really that simple. It may be the best in the district but it is still a huge disappointment. And I agree with a previous parent's post that the funds/miney allocation is a mystery. Really sad.
Everything is relative. Compared to most LAUSD & other SMMUSD public schools, Franklin is wonderful. The principal is bright, engaged and effective. The teachers are smart, interested, and responsive - working hard to do their best despite funding constraints. The parents are friendly & involved. Are there problems? Yes. I agree with the previous parent that science, math, arts & music are ad hoc - as & when it can be squeezed in. As with many CA schools, class sizes are too large & individual, one-to-one support absent. If you want more than average, parents need to give their child extra attention to reinforce concepts, complete homework, & expose to ideas & experiences at a more in-depth level. That said, this is probably the case with most private schools as well.
Science exists in the CA state curriculum. It does not exist as a subject taught below 3rd grade in this school. Art is a once per month event. Music is for grade 3 and above only. All the hulla-balloo about this being a great school, is generated by the self-interested parents who intend to withdraw their children in favor of private schools after 5th grade, or earlier. Of course the private school of their choice would prefer to hear how wonderful Franklin has been. My daughter went into K as an advanced reader. She has been neglected by her teacher who promised advanced books, weekly writing and didn't deliver despite polite requests to continue.The school is focused on test results, yet they are falling. Fundraising is falling as the tiger-moms who used to fuel the process have now moved on. The fundraising process is not transparent. We were told $4m had to be raised to save aides, class sizes, etc. when we didn't raise it, we were told that's okay, the school district has covered it. Was it required, or not? If your ONLY choice is public school then your child will be safe here, but they will not have a solid, rounded, good education, merely a cursory one.
The more I see of other elementary schools, both public and private, the more I realize how lucky we are to be at Franklin School. The teachers are outstanding. With the high level of parent involvement both in the class and financially this public school is still able to offer many programs that you usually see only in private schools these days. The art and music real treat and a regular part the curriculum. The kids learn cursive writing and work on penmanship - this is something all but given up in most public schools. I was listening to a radio interview last week with a high school student, who had never been taught cursive and so he could not read it either! What a shame that we have let public education fall so low in some places, but not here at Franklin.
My kids are extremely happy at Franklin. They are excelling both academically and socially. We feel blessed to be a part of this tight-knit community of parents and kids. My kids get to grow up running into their school friends at the grocery store and on various sports teams which is what community is all about. They have great teachers, friends, learning opportunities, and after school activities. I feel happy dropping them off each morning at school knowing they will have a great day and their exuberance and happiness will be beaming at pick-up. They have great days at Franklin. This is what I most want to see from my kids' school. Franklin creates confident learners, exceedingly well-prepared for middle school, which is undisputed. I continue to be pleased by our overall experience which has included 5 school years/teachers total between my kids. I see no necessity for an expensive private school education when a school like this exists a few blocks away and in my own community. The principal and VP have personally made a difference for my kids on a few very important occasions which underscored their good character & leadership. I wish I had gone to a school like this, truly.
Mixed feelings. We have 2 kids at the school. Their teachers have mostly been great. Not a fan of the principal--she is nice to some, overtly rude to others. Parents are great overall and very involved. We are concerned about the fact that so many kids this year have been admitted from out of district.
I have been a Franklin parent for many years & both of my children are now nearing the end at Franklin. We started in k & are now in 4th & 5th. I actually have to disagree with a few of the reviews here about the school not helping with individual kids & their needs. They have been wonderful for my kids. My child had shown some learning issues (dyslexia) in 2nd grade & since that time the school & the administration has made sure my child received the help that was needed, testing needed to access the difficulties & they have been amazing with not only offering help, services, & solutions, but also in following my child's progress each year & not letting my child "slip through the cracks". Picking the right teachers for my child's needs etc. They have gone above & beyond in so many ways to help my child gain confidence in areas that my child excels In. Can't say enough good things about our school, teachers, parents & administration. I am sorry to hear that a few other parents feel they have not received individual attention for their child, but the exact opposite has been true for our family at Franklin. Really going to miss this school once my children are finished.
Franklin looks great on paper which exactly what the principal is focused on. Meeting the individual needs of each student is not a priority. If a child is struggling, there is no assurance that he/she will get the a help that is best. There is tons of parent involvement which can be a good thing, however when the PTA seems to have more power than the administration, there is a problem. I am a Franklin parent, and also currently a teacher in another district. I see the differences. SMMUSD is a good district, and Franklin is known for being one of the best schools. I would think that the best school could put a little more effort into meeting the individual needs of students AND find an office staff that isn't known district-wide for being the rudest!!
My son loves this school. He is an enthusiastic boy but when he was not happy at his previous school, he was able to tell me exactly why. I have not had one complaint from him since he started at Franklin. Standards are high, really there is academic pressure from the very start, and parents have to put in time at home to support their children's academic progress, and clearly that does happen at this school. I don't know what the fuss is about regarding the office staff. I have never seen them be rude or dismissive towards anyone. They are professional, helpful, they know what they're doing and they work very hard. If you're going to choose a public school for your child, this is the highest ranking elementary school in the Santa Monica district, higher by at least 100 schools than the 2nd highest. I do think that matters.
Due to the frequent moving of my children's mother, this is the first year of my two kids. I have been unable to reach both of my kid's teachers. This is what brought me to the office where the office staff were extremely rude and not helpful in the least. The principle is somewhat a professional but still lacks the authority to make a lot of important decisions. I would do your homework when looking for a school. The lack of parental involvement is the worst thing for the success of young students and Franklin Elementary needs to work in this area also.
My child has been a student at Franklin for two years. We have had a wonderful experience and are looking forward to another great year at Franklin! We are truly amazed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the teachers and find that the administration is first rate. For such a large school we feel a great sense of community.
Franklin is a great school that fosters a sense of community among all of its students and their families. The administration if FIRST CLASS. Both the Principal and Vice Principal are dedicated educators who are far from the bureaucratic fund-raising machines we found the administration to be at our older child's private school. They are committed to the right of education for every child, not just the one's whose parents can donate the most money. The teachers at Franklin take the lead of the administration and, for the most part, are also dedicated, engaged and committing their lives to educating every child that passes through their classroom. You couldn't ask for a more positive environment. I have an older child in a Westside private school, and find that the experience my younger child is having at Franklin to be a much more well-rounded and all over happier experience than the private education offers.
I am blessed to be both a parent and a teacher at Franklin. My daughter has had an exceptional beginning at this wonderful school. I love being able to teach at the same school where my six year old from Hunan China receives such a wonderful balance socially and academically. I also love being able to affect change as a teacher there that will directly benefit my child. She has been blessed to have two years in kindergarten because of her background as an adoptee coming from China. Both Mr. Schwengel and Mrs. Badt have given her such a strong foundation for literacy and a love of school . She is reading at a second grade level and writing stories as a six year old. I also love the administration. They are smart, authentic, and hold us to very high standards. Both Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Sinfield put children first. It is amazing to me after 28 years of teaching that I want to keep going because of such a wonderful staff. I wish others could see what an amazing learning community we have. Thank you to all of the wonderful teachers and parents at Franklin. I am so lucky.
Had not just a bad teacher, but dismissive, nasty and lacking in judgement. Many parents feel the same. Complaints land in complaint box. Anyone care? Have had positive experiences and good teachers but the bad ones sadly where so bad it has had a profound lasting effect and difficult to understand how they can just stay on. Really this site has to make API scores less relevant than the children themselves, this school didn't.
franklin's reputation far exceeds reality. there are MANY outstanding teachers, but just as many average teachers...many of whom show little enthusiasm. once you get to 4th grade, discipline gets very punitive and the enthusiasm in this grade is at an all time low in all but one classroom. the pta raises tons of money, but smartboards and computers can't replace instilling a love of learning. and all those smartboards are basically being used as very expensive overhead projectors, anyways. franklin is above average compared to many schools, but considering the resources we have, it's not living up to it's potential.
now that we're leaving franklin, i feel like i can give a fair review. my child has been there since kindergarten. out of the 6 teachers we've had, 4 were great and two were awful. when i say awful, i mean unenthusiastic, dismissive, fell short of teaching the curriculum, non-responsive, unempathetic, punitive, enacted favoritism...the list goes on and on. the complaints about franklin are a common them of parent get togethers, but most are not comfortable going to the administration. those who have haven't really been taken seriously. some have been lucky and had 6 for 6 fantastic teachers and have no complaints. others have had mostly horrible experiences and i especially feel for them.
A comment. It would seem that you should heed the comments about the office staff. There is nothing more off-putting as a first impression as rude, dismissive office staff. My family experienced this upon its first visit to the school, and was provided little help in working out the problems of entering a new school. As a former teacher, I know how important office staff is, yet I also know that the first impression of a school should be a positive one, and evidently, yours, because of the office people, isn't. It would be smart to address this in the future. My rating is based on other reviews, Great Schools ratings, and the fact that Franklin is a Distinguished School.
A rather mixed and sometimes uneven experience. On the plus side, many of the teachers - senior and junior - are truly outstanding, dedicated, hard-working and enthusiastic. I have been enormously impressed by many. But there are some notably weaker teachers, who seem to exhibit little enthusiasm or interest. The administration is competent, though in the face of genuine complaints seems more interested in damage control than genuinely addressing parental concerns. The front desk is staffed by some notoriously difficult individuals who play favorites - helpful to some parents, terribly rude and dismissive to others. There is a split between mothers who work and wealthier ones who volunteer, reflecting local demographics. Funding is a growing concern, and private fund-raising cannot be a long-term solution. Teacher union rules mean layoffs are based on seniority, not value added. A good school, in an affluent neighborhood, with strengths and weaknesses, facing funding problems.
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