Stevenson Ranch Elementary has been the pride of our community for many years. Unfortunately, in the fall of 2013, a new principal was hired and the school's prestige, professionalism, pride and morale have plummeted drastically. I am concerned that my children will be attending under Dr. Block's direction for another couple of years. Positive, energetic leadership can only be found in Mrs. Hicks, our assistant principal, and in the hard-working teachers who were inspired by Mrs. Fleece. I am hoping that the Newhall School District identifies this principal as a detriment to its district and remedies this problem promptly.
Sadly, this school has gone down hill the past couple of years. When the previous principal left and the current one arrived, the tone of the school changed. There is no longer an emphasis on student performance. SRE used to be one the best schools in the state and used to be the best school in all of the SCV. The new principal lacks the ability to lead an elementary school and is inaccessible. The previous principal's car was always in the parking lot and her door was always open. The current principal is often not present after school and it is difficult to communicate with her. While most of the teachers are professional, some of them look like they just rolled out of bed. Mrs. Diane von Buelow and Mrs. Candace Fleece were assets to the Stevenson Ranch community. It's too bad that their tenures are over. I guess all good things have to come to an end; I'm just glad our long tenure with SRE is just about over.
We moved to this neighborhood just few months before our eldest will start K so he'll be in SRE. He's now in 6th grade, our other kids in 3rd and 5th. That was the best decision we ever made!!! They all love going to school, love excelling in their classes, love their teachers and getting involved in their various school activities. SRE has excellent GATE programs, Math and Literature classes to help advance kids reach their fullest potential as well as classes to help students with academic problems. The teachers are awesome and really encourage their students to do their best. PTA in this school is very active and involved. Through its voluntary fund raising activities, they gave the school its updated computer lab, science lab and Smartboards in each classroom. They have 0 tolerance to bullying. I should know since I was called once to the principal's office since 1 of my kids said something hurtful to his playmate. I had him apologize to the kid and talk to the mom the next day and it never happened again. The only thing that I wish for them to have, are incentives/recognition for outstanding kids. We don't even have student of the month awards coz of " No Child Left Behind"
Most of the teachers in this school are wonderful, and the parents are the type that would put their kids in private tutoring if they are not getting what they need in school, so I'm sure the test scores will stay high. However, since the new principal started in August of 2013, I have personally spoken with several families who are making other arrangements for next year because of the way this school seems to be changing for the worse. The previous principal was extremely involved and accessible. It was apparent as soon as the new year started that this new principal was not to be bothered. The front office shields her from the parents. If you want a meeting with her you'll probably have to wait a week, but good luck getting her to return a phone call; she doesn't. And if your child gets one of the few less than good teachers, your situation is truly dire. Not only does this new principal not seem to know or care what is going on in the classrooms, she seems to hold no authority over the teachers.
The good: This school is great at fundraising and receives a lot of parental support. The campus is clean and safe. Most of the teachers are good. The bad: The curriculum is ONLY focused on test scores. If your child excels in math and reading, they'll succeed at SRE. If they struggle in this area, they will be promoted into the next grade even if they are failing. God forbid a student FAILS at SRE, let's just pass them through - No child left behind doesn't work! My child's Star Testing scores are dismal. Testing in the low 300's, 3 years in a row. She receives 1's on most of her work. I have begged the school district to hold her back one year, she is obviously struggling and they continue to promote her to the next grade level. So she starts each year failing and her self esteem suffers. I have told all of her teachers that she has ADHD and is on medication and all I receive are emails telling me she has forgot ten to turn in work or didn't complete her work in class. Don't they have anyone who knows how to work with students with ADHD? SRE needs to stop obsessing about rankings/ratings and test scores.
The school is still recovering from the previous principal. She only cared about test scores and her so called writing program which was nothing more than the characters, plot, etc... The school has become so test driven with all the curriculum specialist, when are my children allowed to be children? Also good luck getting any help from their resource specialist in room #201 she loves to play games on her computer.
Regarding Stevenson Ranch Elem.: we have decided to pull our child out after 4 years and try a charter school. It's hit and miss with teachers at every grade level so far. Some really care, while some just go thru the motions. The school has become more and more like the Wild West at lunch recess. Little to no supervision has led to several injuries and many cases of bullying. The worst part is the school admin will do whatever they can to side with bad kids so they don't have to record they have problem. Obviously my family has had to deal with this and we are done.
I have spoken to many parents at this school with similar issue as mine. The abundance of bullying is increasing and no longer creating a safe, healthy environment for students to go to learn. The yard duty does not get involved and help the kids in need. Very disappointing.
We moved to Stevenson Ranch 16 years ago, when our oldest child was 10 months old, because of the reputation of the Newhall school district. As a parent with children who've attended and continue to attend Stevenson Ranch Elementary since 2001, I've never regretted that decision. I'm impressed with the level of dedication from teachers and staff, as well as parent volunteers. I'm as equally impressed with the additional resources we are fortunate enough to have at SRE. I have a child who struggled with math concepts and another child who's challenge was reading comprehension, and SRE offers before school intervention for both subjects. So if a child needs that extra help, it is available and you need only take advantage of what is offered. This school also has an excellent GATE program that my middle child could not wait to attend every morning. I now have children in both jr. high and high school, and the education they received at SRE was a strong foundation which prepared them for their current success. The classes at Rancho Pico JH and West Ranch HS are no joke. I actually can't fathom how anyone could give this school anything other than a stellar review.