The principal is invisible, many teachers are uninspired and boring (or down right unprofessional), and its like pulling teeth to get parents involved in the classroom. Like many parents I know, I leave frustrated and disappointed after dropping off my children here in the morning because I know they are receiving a lukewarm educational experience when it could be so much more with better leadership and a sincere sense of purpose. Yuck.
Poor Leadership. I echo what the previous reviewer thinks. My husband and I recently pulled our 1st grader out of this school and moved them to a different school. Our daughter liked kindergarten here, but 1st grade was a nightmare. First she was in a 1st grade class, then 2 weeks later a K/1 split, then a few weeks later back to a 1st grade only class, then a bunch of new 1st graders entered into her class from other schools in PUSD - how do you run a class this way? Why did principal Salinas make all these changes? Doesn't she know how disruptive they are to the kids learning? I'll never know. I tried repeatedly to meet with her to talk about it but she NEVER ONCE returned a phone call or email. People at PUSD were no help either. Principal Salinas is neither approachable nor is she an effective leader. How can she be when she dodges meetings with parents and hides in her office crunching numbers? Parents beware!
I have 2 children at this school (3rd and 5th grade) and have become increasingly frustrated with the quality of instruction and leadership by the principal over the last year. As a 4th grade teacher myself for 9 years, I have repeatedly been disappointed by the poor classroom management that I see when I volunteer, lack of communication of learning goals and objectives between parents and teachers, and the inept strategy that Principal Salinas has to make things better, which has been very poorly communicated to us parents. Some of my kids teachers have been great (yeah Ms Richey and Ms Halpern!) and I understand that other teachers need help, so if PUSD isn't going to hire more qualified teachers, why can't this school at least do more to involve parents in an organized and convenient manner? My kids come home from school with homework packets, but there is no newsletter or email blast from either of their teachers telling me what they are learning about, what their goals are for the week, what should we focus on at home, what is coming up next week. All I hear about is fund raising - these are important, but with about learning? This school should be a 6 or 7, not a 9.
Special Education is not a program or a place, and inclusive schooling is not a policy that schools can dismiss. Since 1975, Federal Courts have clarified the intent of the law in favor of the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education. (Osborn, 1996: Vila & Thousand, 2000a, 2000b) A student with a disability should be educated in the school he or she would attend if not identified as having a disability. The school MUST devise an individualized education program that provides the learner with the supports and services that the student needs to receive an education in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT POSSIBLE.
Unfortunately the school falls under Pasadena Unified School District. They have horrible use of funding. The school continues to cut down on appropriate staffing. They do NOT attempt to follow IEP, or 504 plans. In the past this school was exceptional; however the last two years has been horrible. Pasadena Unified School District is a disservice to the community, students, and teachers. Shameful.
In 1994 the U.S. Department of Education's office of Special Education Programs issued policy guidelines stating that school districts cannot use the lack of adequate personnel or resources as an excuse for failing to make a free and appropriate education available in the least restrictive environment to students with disabilities. Pasadena Unified is practicing pre 1994 policies and politics.
We just pulled our kids out of Sierra Madre because they have dragged their feet and refused to help our daughter who has reading difficulties for three years. If you have the kind of kid who will excel at any school, then you will be welcomed at Sierra Madre. Our other kids were included in lots of things, because they win Science Fairs and Math Field Day competitions, but this school improves the overall test scores by pushing out any kids who won't score really well. They remain disorganized and sacrifice huge chunks of instructional time for lots of pointless assemblies instead of improving the education. Even my GATE kids were behind when they started last week at their new schools in a neighboring school district. I wish we hadn't put up with Sierra Madre for so long.
My children are very happy here. The kids are good kids. The teachers are hard working and really want the kids to learn and get ahead. Garrett Newsom keeps the middle schoolers in line but is also very much liked which is rare from a middle school. We have a beautiful historic theatre where the children put on about 2 shows a year. The kids are very happy to study hard when there are fun things to look forward to at school like the practices for performances, acting, musical instrument, dance maniacs, art, science. The K-1 classes have wonderful teachers. Mr Griffith, Ms Martin and Ms Perez. Everyone loves them.The school is also walking distance to many cute cafe's, ice cream and shops.
Both my children attend Sierra Madre school. It's absoulutly a wonderful school, I feel very lucky to have found the school. My children run home excited to tell me about there day. Highly recommended.
Sierra Madre School is a high-performing arts-focused public PreK-8 school nestled in the foothills just east of Pasadena. Our three core values are academic achievement, creative culture and safe and nurturing environment. We have top-notch teachers & staff and highly supportive and involved parent groups. Our Principal, Gayle Bluemel, retired this past spring and we are currently looking for a new elementary Principal with the vision help our already excellent school to continue to thrive through challenging economic times. Our former Assistant Principal, Garrett Newsom, has just been appointed Planning Principal of the Middle School campus. The site-based leadership team made up of teachers, administrators, staff and parents is fully prepared to maintain the school's core values and continue to thrive during the transition to new leadership at the elementary campus.
Sierra Madre School is an unsecured school that is called an "inclusive" school, but apparently they can choose who to include. There has been a steady decrease in people with disabilities as API scores climb. Parents and community members are allowed to enter and exit the school through various unsecured entrances.
My nephew has started kindergarten here and he is doing so well. He is extremely happy and he has really come out of his shell. I am very happy with this school so far and I hope he continues to do well.
Mr. Chip Williams is one of the finest teachers. SM middle school is blessed to have this man teach our children. He inspires the children to want to come to school and do their very best. Our children will be amazing because he touched their lives!
The previous posting represents the only thing I don't like about this school! The teachers and administration are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but there's a snobbishness among some (not all) of the parents here that I find offensive. It's not "sad that it has to be part of PUSD"--it's sad that some Sierra Madre parents seem to believe that they and their children are somehow "above" the rest of PUSD's schools. Sierra Madre students are mostly the privileged children of highly motivated parents. Let's acknowledge how lucky we are, instead of putting down students and schools that do wonderful things without the many advantages that we enjoy.
There is nothing I can say that is bad about this school. The community, the parent involvement, the principal and even the middle school (which is not listed on Great Schools) is all TOP notch. Sad that it has to be part of PUSD because it's in a class of it's own!
I have had nothing but positive experiences with Sierra Madre school,the staff, teachers and kids all are awesome. I have three kids that go there, a 9 yr old son, and two daughters ages 12 and 13. Mr. Martinez is a 5 star teacher,who always puts his classroom kids first. All the teachers there care, and deliver. I love this school. -Mrs. Daniels
It offers the best small school atmosphere on a beautiful campus with an enthusiastic and engaged school community.
The school is very good enviroment for my childrens and the teachers are very dedicated to each of our childrens.
I love this school because It teach our kids to respect every human being as an individual. This respect will be demostrated by a friendly, cooperative spirit among students, parents and community. Also acquire the academic knowledge and skills needed to achieve success in their nxt level school year.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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