We transferred our son out of our local school two years ago to James Foster and the difference has been night and day. His teachers have been nurturing and make sure he is also challenged. I feel like the emphasis of the school is on bringing out the best of the whole kid, not just academic excellence.
I have written positive reviews in the past for James Foster Elementary School, but I'm sorry to say I spoke to soon. My daughter's 5th and 6th grade teachers, failed to comply with my repeated requests to be alerted about an difficulty or problems with her performance before her grades were affected. Her 5th grade teacher never responded to three notes I gave him requesting he contact me about areas of difficulty. When I confronted him, he told me her misplaced my notes. Her 6th grade teacher simply did not listen, nor did she comply with my requests to be immediately notified if she started having any problems. She managed to send emails to all parent's about nonsense, but not about difficulty in with school work. How are parents supposed to help their children or the teachers if they are not being informed of areas of weakness? Work with the your students parent's, we're busy too, and cannot help unless you do your job properly. I wish schools would not hire or keep teachers on staff based on tenure, hire qualified teachers!!
My oldest daughter spent her entire elementary 'career' at Foster and I am currently trying to get my son in the prescool program at Foster childcare. I have friends who spent a fortune (which I don't have) on private school only to be surprised that my daughter was routinely at or above the level of their kids. The PTA is very active and seems to genuinely seek out opportunities to improve the school. I was a working Mom when my daughter went there and I did not have the time to participate; it does seem that the 'PTA Kids' get more attention at school functions, but I never felt that my daughter was left out when she deserved recognition. She is a happy, well adjusted, and successful high schooler now and much of that is due to the start she got at Foster.
I work at James Foster in the child care program. I get to work with alot of the teachers at the school and I think they are all amazing! the school has so many activities for the children and I have yet to meet any rude staff member although I can't say the same about parents. :( The class sizes are small and the school has a great record! Its right next to the park and over looks Saugus. Overall I would have to say its a great school! I would send my kids there. If I had any... :)
I have to disagree with the parent below and hope that I can shed some light on what the many parent volunteers and the PTA offer to the student body annually. Meet the Masters Art Program, After School Enrichment, Disaster Preparedness, Monthly Assemblies on science, the Wright brothers or just fun stuff, the annual carnival, Book Fair ( twice a year ), Kindergarten welcome magnets, the READ program, Socials/Dances and not to mention all the field trips for each grade, plus the 6th grade promotion ceremony and reception. I went to a private school all through my elementary and junior high school years. This school is equal to the private school in education and far above in parent involvement. I am grateful every day that we do not have to attend a school in the LAUSD ( though I know some schools are good ). We love Foster!
My daughter has been a student for two grades now at Foster. I have very mixed feelings about the quality of the school. The office staff gossips about not only the parents but the students too - they think we aren't listening, but we are. The PTA raises more money for parents and cancer research than they raise specifically for students programs. The teachers are wonderful, but favorite students are often those of the PTA moms, selected for class performancs and chosen to stand out in awards ceremonies, while equally capable and shining faces are left ignored because Mom won't be attending anyway. It's a priviledged school in a priviledged neighborhood, but not all families have the means to donate money to class parties and teacher's gifts. Instead any money raised should be used on things like the library some newer books. I would not reccomend this school.
My kindergartner enjoyed her school year at Fosters. The school involvement in academic achievement and making students excited about their studies, gave confidence to my child. She now reads and writes. They have a brand new computer lab with Windows XP for students. They provide child care before and after school. Parent involvement is highly valued and there are opportunities for in-class volunteers as well as for extracurricular events. The principal, Ms. Nolte, is evidently committed to the school's academic improvement. In 2006 they achieved a score of 876 API. I highly recommend this school if you live in the Saugus or Valencia area.