This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
South Pasadena Middle School5
Posted December 15, 2013
- a community member
teachers and staff are very caring, nice, and AWESOME at spms. I'm a student here and i learn so many things. the teachers gives me and other students extra help when we don't understand things. there is also band and choir for all grades. instead of band and choir you can choose to do electives which include, cooking, spanish, art, computer and woodshop . i think south pasadena middle school is very awesome!
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.
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.