It's hard to believe. Two clueless, callous, & cowardly 6th grade teachers have punished my offspring for their own unrepented negligence. Turner parents have no recourse! If you leave a voice message, you may not get any reply, let alone a favorable response or an invitation to discuss the matter further. Email is an even worse choice. Your efforts are still probably in vain. In addition, your email (addressed to a single recipient) is likely to be forwarded indiscriminately. Faculty doesn't give advance warning, ask permission, or even notify you after the fact. Anything you write may be taken out of context, shared beyond your intended audience, & saved forever. Face-to-face meetings are no better. Nearly every time Turner teachers have invited me to meet with them, they've implied or even specified that it will be just the two of us. When I arrive, I am ambushed by not only that teacher, but several other staff members as well. It's disconcerting & intimidating, & it seems calculated to be so. It also has the unfortunate effect of making each meeting unproductive. With so many people who don't have the back story trying to catch up (& even attempting to start completely separate discussions), nothing gets resolved. The group avoids by inefficiency even the responsibility to deny you outright; they just dodge the issues till the clock runs out! You may get half apologies from the assistant principal. She's at least acknowledged the teachers' failings both times. She also admitted before her colleagues that I'm not the first person to complain of either the email policy or the staff's habit of ganging up on parents who come to 'private' meetings. It's nice that she, at least, is honest enough not to pretend that all is well. But no one will actually apologize, work on fixing serious issues at hand, commit to making changes in future, or thank you for your time. The principal seems unconcerned with his own integrity. Willing to manipulate families with half-truths, he says parents 'must' come sign forms the law does not require. Under such leadership, it's no wonder a social studies teacher felt free to keel his student's reputation without due process/concern. It's no wonder that a literacy teacher failed my child's short story because he ludicrously claims his faulty interpretation of the prompt is the only possible one. I'm washed out. But I've tried!
Minimal homework seems to be the rule; we love that! Students do get some practice with deadlines, keeping track of projects & papers, etc. But I have never thought that kids should do school all day and then all evening too. I've lived it; my kids have lived it. Kids need time to do chores, pursue hobbies, play, & rest. No homework is better than too much. Turner has the balance almost perfect! Math is an exception.
One of my kids really needs more math homework in general. Differentiation based on mastery just makes sense. Over-practicing is counterproductive, but some students require extra drill and/or one-on-one help to truly master each concept.
For other kids, the overall quantity of math homework is ideal! But the workload is horribly inconsistent. Some weeks there is no homework whatsoever, while other weeks there's a lot! A few nights, there has really been more than is manageable (usually just because it was assigned too late in the week).
We were drawn to Turner because it is a STEM school and because its test scores were comparatively high for TSD.
The small town aspect is a mixed bag, of course. If a student happens to fit in well, a closer-knit social circle can be an advantage. But a child who feels chronically out of place among the few cliques of a small school may more easily find true peers among a larger population.
An obvious drawback is that Turner offers fewer classes & extracurricular options than larger schools can. Check carefully that anything you consider essential is in place before enrolling! We just assumed that all local middle schools would offer a full music program, failing to notice that Turner has no orchestra.
The academic curriculum seems fine, considering it's a public school under increasing federal control. There are scary gaps in our kids' knowledge, but the students seem engaged without being overwhelmed by the workload. Each of my kids has found classes to enjoy, and no one seems to hate any subject altogether.
Our biggest unforeseen issues have been with the staff. Qualification & dedication in seems below average across the board. Some are quite good; most are just okay. There are a few really destructive ones, though. And staff policies (approachability, helpfulness, integrity) are appalling.
Most of the teachers are mediocre at best. They're not all bad; some have a firm command of their subjects; some are good at teaching all students; some teach certain students really well but neglect other types of learners; some have good rapport with middle schoolers; some are good role models. It's just shockingly rare to find a single teacher who is competent, let alone excellent, at all aspects of the job.
I think this is largely due to the fact that the Thompson School District does not pay competitive salaries. The best educators are drawn to neighboring districts or simply move away. Even so, I am appalled at some of the unprofessionalism and dishonesty I've seen at Turner.
There are alot of cliches in this school and some teachers won't do much about it especially when your new and they may think your over exaggerating but after going on my 3rd year in this school and finally making a friend or two, I Love it! the teachers only get better with the grade!
We just started Turner middle school this fall. So far, it's been great. The kids have welcomed my student even though we are from a neighboring town. The school staff works hard on communicating with parents and it's great to have a school with good communication skills! We transferred from a school of choice which did not communicate well with parents. Turner has a great offering of after school activities and student/teacher involvement.
I will agree and confirm that the parent who wrote about cliches in this school. They are abundant. Located in a small town, in a beautiful old neighborhood is about the only appealing thing this school has to offer. If given the chance to do it all over again, I would have sent my child elsewhere.