I have two kids at Marshall lane. My daughter 4th grade and my son 2nd grade. I agree with the rest of the people rating low on academics for this school. Not only that but also its a place for PTA cliques and moms who constantly hover over their kids to pick a fight with another mom. PTA members have their own life apart from the rest of the school. Their own parties, celebrations at each others homes!! But most important is that the school is geared toward funding and only cares about STAR testing. I like to move.
I deeply regret choosing Marshall Lane for 5th grade. The used to have an excellent 5th grade teacher, but this year they chose to boot him down to the 3rd grade. So far this year there has been no homework with the exception of a tiny heritage report. The children are learning no history. Math is being taught at the 3rd grade level as they are still in review mode. There is no music and no art. My child is constantly being sent to PE, but is given zero challenging academics. The school is setting the kids up to fail in middle school.
My son went to Marshall Lane K-4th but we chose Rolling Hills Middle School for 5th. We made the right choice. Rolling Hills offers band and several after school sports programs, gives regular homework and tests, & offers online Power School where you can see all grades on all tests and homework daily. Rolling Hills also offers several field trips to 5th graders. My son found 5th grade math too easy so Rolling Hills principal worked hard to get him into 6th grade PreAlgebra and it's a good fit for him. Marshall Lane has a caring, smart and diplomatic principal and fantastic community events run by the PTA volunteers and hard working teachers, but little focus on academics especially 3rd grade and higher.
Marshall lane is a 5-star school for younger kids, K-3, because the staff is so warm and caring. However, for the older grades (4-5), the academics need to be more rigorous, and they are not. If possible, I would recommend parents choose a different school for older grades. (There is 1 teacher who challenged the kids academically, but he is inexplicably assigned to 3rd grade this year.) For instance, my daughter has math 4 times a week, with hardly any homework. However, she has P.E. 6 times a week. What the ??? The cluster math class does not work out very well either, because her math teacher is not her "regular" teacher. There is also little education outside of the STAR test topics. Hardly any art and no music at all. The younger kids have Music for Minors, which is singing, but at the 5th grade level, there is absolutely nothing. I have been extremely disappointed in the 5th grade program.
ML is a typical public school, with its emphasis on maximizing STAR (standardized testing) scores. With a few exceptions, there is not much exposure to subjects like Social Studies, art, music, science, etc because proficiency in those subjects don't affect funding, and it seems that even the cursory attention paid to music/art has dwindled even more over the past couple of years. Because ML is a public school, the teachers generally cater to the lowest common denominator, which leaves the brighter kids bored. The school tried to fix this issue with differentiated math classes, but IMHO, with mixed results. Usually the assigned math teacher is not your child's regular teachers, so there is no accountability. There is very little homework assigned, and nobody checks it anyway. If your child has issues with math, then your regular teacher has no knowledge of it and therefore no advice during school conferences. You can try to schedule a conference with the assigned math teacher, but good luck with that. She is already overwhelmed with her "regular" kids. The education for the young grades is excellent, however, because of the very high parental involvement at that age
My children have attended the school for years. I welcome the new principal, but withhold judgment. She has not been at the school a sufficient amount of time. I do believe that she is taking control of the school. Too long has there been a hands-off approach to the PTA and the staff. The new Principal has been assertive in making the lunch healthy and instituting playground restrictions of what otherwise might be child behavoir that risks injury to children. The academics are by and large above-average across for the country and for California this school is stellar far exceeding what is provided by most school districts. CUSD, on the other hand, is a problematic district with its strange politics and questionable decisions to build undesirable structures. I suspect that scrutiny is warranted to determine if an unnatural nexus between local contractors and the district exists.
Although it took 10 weeks into the school year to get started, differentiated math for 3rd graders has started. Nice job teachers and volunteer parents and grandparents who are working hard on this. The problem was that the children were re-earning years of math and the ones who 'picked it up' the first time had to sit through the lesson again (and again, and again, and again). This went on for 2 months until some parents spoke up and math group clusters began. Next year, please start the differentiation after only one week of review so the kids who get it the first time don't have to waste away in class hearing lessons over and over. And kudos to the Grandpa in Mrs. Wright's class who is teaching my son differentiated math. He's not bored anymore.
ML is an excellent elementary school! The quality of the teaching staff is outstanding. My child currently is in Ms. Jones's 3rd grade class. We feel very fortunate to have our child in her class as she offers such a creative and challenging experience each day in a stimulating and nurturing environment. ML now has a new principal who is engaging, very educated and is now offering excellent leadership for the school. I am sure my child would not have received a better education in any private school environment. There is very active parent participation both in the classroom environment and for school events.
The Marshall Lane campus is beautiful and the office staff and teachers are caring & considerate. However, as a parent of a kindergartener we are not happy with the 6 hour long day with no rest period. This is too long! The kinders get dismissed only 6 minutes before the 4/5th graders. Kinders should get out long before the older classes & this would alleviate some of the parking chaos due to whole school exiting almost simultaneously. Staggered starts and dismissal times for the varying grades might alleviate the parking/safety chaos that exists. Plus, while this country's education has deteriorated to teaching for test scores rather than teaching appropriately, I dislike seeing kinders treated as mini-adults which they are not. Learning should be joyful and accomplished through fun & play and not through lectures and lessons more appropriate for older age groups.
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