An alternate universe that is out of step with the rest of the district. Favoritism runs rampant, i.e., students who want to take an advanced drama class as an elective must audition and be chosen (this is a regular academic class, not an after school activity), students interested in getting into the Yearbook class (another academic elective, not an extra curricular activity) also must prove themselves worthy and be chosen. The Knowledge Masters Open team (KMO) is really a Knowledge Masters Closed team. Students at SPMS can only participate in the KMO if they are recommended by a teacher or invited. There are not, nor have there ever been, open tryouts for KMO. These are just a few examples of the kinds of exclusionary practices found at SPMS. I would suggest that teachers and administrators look to the high school (SPHS) as an example of how to be inclusive in their regular academic classes, electives and extracurricular activities.
My child is 7th grade and his experience has been wonderful. The beginning of the 6th grade was hard for him and us because all teachers required complete assignments and projects on time, being organized of school works, and responsible for own actions. As result, all these requirements helped him become a responsible student. Most of teachers are wonderful, however, we still have to work with him after school in order to earn a perfect grade. According to my experience, compare with some of the private schools in this area, it is harder to have all A's in this school. Personally, I tutor many students from private schools but my son's academic performance is well challenged here. Also, I had an opportunity to observe the accelerated and honor classes because of my college assignments last year. I was impressed by the students' behavior, intelligence and friendly relationship with each others. Thus, if your child is enrolled in the honor classes, in my opinion, the child will be well challenged and gain excellent middle school experience.
My daughter is entering her Sophomore year at South Pas High. Her Freshman year was a huge sucess thanks to the focused, goal-oriented staff. We moved to South Pasadena from the Bay Area and thanks to this excellent high school I am grateful for that move everyday. Yes the school is competitive but my child was an uderachiever who has turned to an A, B student. THANK YOU SOUTH PAS HIGH!
Don't worry, parents who read the previous review. If your child has special needs, he or she will never encounter the advanced math teacher who ranks each kid. Yes, he does exist. Yes, he's a great math teacher, which is why all these myths swirl about him among parents whose kids aren't actually in his classes, but he's not for everyone. (No, he doesn't kick kids out of his class. He does suggest a different placement next year if kids can't handle the pace) but if your kid isn't a high achiever in math, you'll never deal with him. There are plenty of non-high-achieving kids who are thriving at SPMS, because there are plenty of teachers who are dedicated to making sure their middle school experience is excellent. SPMS has teachers and classes focused on success for ALL kids--the struggling, the middle-of-the road, and the shining stars. And for those of you who do have high achieving kids and have been obsessing over their "not being challenged enough", it's fish-or-cut-bait-time. The truly gifted will have plenty of chances to shine, and those whose gifts reside mostly in their parents' imaginations will have a great experience too.
SPMS is a great school if your child is a high achiever or can zero in on their schoolwork. If your child has a learning disability, is just learning english, or has a different learning type than the one the school institutes this school is not for them. The school is VERY competitive, one advanced math teacher has a ranking for each kid in the class, anyone who is last in the rankings or gets a B in the class, gets kicked out. There is lots of tension between students and any one who can't compete gets left in the dust, and feels excluded. If your child can deal with this kind of stress, go ahead and enroll but be wary of the challenges they will face if they can't keep up.
Of course, every parent's/child's experience is different. My child had a WONDERFUL experience in middle school--socially and academically. (She is in her first year of high school.) For the most part the teachers WERE engaging, and willing to work with my student when she needed extra help. There are various extra-curricular for students to participate in and most of the teachers provide high expectations for students. Parents are the first teachers, so we can't check out once our kids get to middle school. I am so happy my child had such a GREAT middle school experience, and I look forward to my son attending this school in the future. REALLY, this school is far above the average middle school.
An average school school with good extra-curriculum activities but not engaging teachers. The math teacher will help you a lot but the 6th grade science department is really weak.
Mean teachers! Avoid this school if you can. I am very disappointed in the principal, he should pay close attention to what is really going on in the classrooms.
The classes are big, the school feels like a huge impersonal institution, easy to get lost there. The periods are too long, there must be breaks for the students every 45 min, otherwise they just zone out instead of learning. The lunch lines are huge, and the students who did not make it to the line early enough don't get the favorite items, because they run out. The science book is BORING, and is written to turn the students away from science. The teachers are very helpful and available. Overall probably a decent middle school compared to LAUSD ones, but certainly not a shining example of what a school should and could offer in terms of nourishment for the brain and spirit.
South Pasadena Middle School is AMAZING! I should know seeing as I've attended since 6th grade and am now a 8th grader. The teachers are dedicated to helping students learn. My math teacher last year actually would help students prepare for a quiz or test during lunch. Also the classes are challenging and interesting. There are a bunch of activities to participate in like ASB, WEB, Tigerettes, Band, Math Team, etc. Also there are spirit days every month allowing students to relax.
School is over-crowded and has been under construction for quite some time. Budget cuts impacting quality and class size. Some teachers equate motivation with instilling fear. A few teachers do try. All is all - Mediocre.
South Pasadena Middle School is staffed by dedicated teachers that guide students through the especially challenging, formative years of adolescence. The principal and vice principal are full of heart and have a clear vision of the school future. The money could save some endangered programs.
This school is really great. The teachers here are really supportive and the students are very diverse. Everyone gets along very well and there are many electives and sports. Although it is a bit crowded, the campus is very nice and the city is very safe. There are places to go after school to get food and there are many fun activities during lunch time. I completely recommend this school.
We were very happy with our son's middle school experience. He is now a freshman at the high school, and he was very well prepared for a full schedule of honors classes. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, to see some of the negative comments here. South Pasadena parents are extraordinarily demanding and some have, I believe, completely lost perspective about the role of public schools, expecting a personalized and perfect experience for their children. No school can be all things to all people, but SPMS does a great job of serving the wide spectrum of all of its students.
This is a really remarkable school. Most of the teachers are very good and offer extra classes for those who need a little extra help. Also there are many fun extracuriculars offered like Band, Cooking, Art etc. VERY GOOD SCHOOL :)
Glad the Middle School experience is over. Teachers have to many kids to care - even if they are good. Office staff likes to play God. If you have the kind of child that will speak up for themselves and demand attention & time from teachers, you will be fine (mine was). If not, you are done for. If you are above or below average, you will struggle. They can only deal with the avg. kid. If you need more, they can't help you. If you are special needs, they are clueless. Hoping HS is better, but wasn't great for an older child. So. Pas elem. schools are great. Middle & HS are challenging unless you are in their face refusing to be ignored. You are the only advocate for your child.
I am a current, possibly former, student at SPMS. I have found that the academics are lacking, and that there is a real problem with bullying. There is a group of girls that is really hurting me verbally and physically, and the administration doesn't seem to care. I am apalled at how much my parents pay for rent to go to this horrible school. If anything, I would say that this school needs to work on the student culture. It is so mean.
I attended this school and now my children are attending. It is an amazing place. Many people move back to town when their children are ready to start school so their kids can have the same wonderful education they had.
We've had very good experiences so far - with a son who started in 6th grade & is now in 7th grade. the Principal is excellent & the teachers have all been great, and very committed. Highly reommend this school.
The school is great but the student teacher ratio is bit high. Teachers are not able to spend required amount of time with each of the students.
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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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