I am a student at Casey Middle School and have had an amazing experience so far. Both teachers and students alike are kind, helpful, and accepting of everyone at the school. I am a member of the bilingual program and have absolutely nothing negative to say. The teachers work with the group as a whole, and with students individually in a way that each student who works at the language learns and understands everything in class. Although the class is difficult at times, nobody can expect to learn another language without working at it. Casey is extremely lucky to have the amazing teachers that they have (of the bilingual program, as well as every other subject that the school has to offer). I have had the best possible experience at Casey and would recommend it to everyone.
My husband and I have very high expectations for our kids' schools and after three years at Casey, we are still blown away by the quality of teachers and staff (the principal and assistant principal are, from my perspective, role models for what a principal should be). As for the bilingual program - it is amazing. Our son came to Casey in 6th grade with no Spanish background and is leaving Casey having tested into Spanish 4 for his freshman year in high school. Yes - expectations are high for the kids in the program but our son has never done "hours" of homework on a regular basis as some of the other reviewers have claimed. Every child is different so if your child doesn't want to put a good amount of effort into learning Spanish, the program probably is not for him or her. As for the bilingual teachers, I'll let the fact that 70% of the 8th graders in the program who took the high school placement test this year tested into Spanish 4 - speak for itself.
As a former student of Casey's Bilingual Program, I have benefited in numerous ways from this rigorous program. I am thankful to my teachers for not only teaching me Spanish, but also for having high expectations of me in a supportive environment which helped me become a better learner across subjects. The teachers in the bilingual program are experienced, highly qualified, use innovative approaches, and most importantly are passionate and compassionate in their teaching. Casey is lucky to have native language speakers as some of the teachers, which was vital in connecting me not only with the Spanish language but also with the culture of Spanish speaking countries. I fully recommend this program to any student who is committed to learning Spanish and understands that leaning a new language is hard work that will pay off for the rest of their lives.
Finally, people are speaking up about the bilingual program at Casey. This school squanders an incredible opportunity at having an innovative language program. The bilingual teachers use old fashioned didactic teaching methods and load kids up with pressure and rote learning homework. Despite the highly educated parent population at this school, these bilingual teachers absolutely do not think they can learn anything from parent input. In their home country, it may have been true that teachers were vastly superior in what they knew was best for kids, but in this community, parents have a lot to offer and this is largely disrespected by these teachers. If your child excels under pressure and lots of homework and already loves the idea of learning a new language, this may be a match for you. But if not, you may not want to choose this because they will not appreciate hearing from you or be at all open to responding to the children they are teaching who may need a different approach to be really inspired about learning another language.
Casey is a safe, diverse school with a competent staff. The bilingual program is very challenging. Independent of outside requirements, teachers expect a level of bi-literacy that requires students to devote hours of daily reading and writing in Spanish. This makes for a laborious learning experience which runs the risk of turning students off to Spanish altogether. There are no field trips and little authentic use of Spanish despite the rich social mix available in this school and community. Teachers use outdated book and lecture approaches which do not exactly inspire a love of language learning. Mostly, the program is too demanding. Parents who attempt to give this feedback are met with strong resistance. Teachers, many of whom are immigrants, view themselves as authority figures, not only to students, but to parents, interacting with them in a condescending, paternalistic manner which closes down meaningful input. The school has never been willing to hold a meeting of the parents to discuss the bilingual program, despite requests from parents for this. If you don't like something at Casey, they are happy to have you leave rather than try to respond to your input.