I don't feel like homework is necessary in grade school. I can see the last year before middle school giving homework to help with the transition into middle school, but from K-4th grade, I think homework is unnecessary.
We have really loved Birch over the years. We've been at this school for coming up on 10 years now and have had great experiences with teachers and staff. We've seen this school through a few transitions phases as well, but nothing has ever wavered.
Last year we did receive a new principal. I will say that the transition since then has been a little rocky. Maybe it's tough because we had such a great principal before, but while the new principal is nice, I don't get the same feeling from her as I did from the last one. She gives off more of an authoritative vibe, which I think might mesh a little better with middle school or high school students, but not elementary. Hopefully it's just because it was a transition year and things get better. Overall though, with the staff that this school has, as long as they stick around with this new principal, you can't go wrong at Birch.
My family loves this school. The kindergarten teacher Miss Brown is amazing. She works every hard with all her students and she not only teaches them school but manners as well. She is an amazing teacher and I was my son could carry her with him for the rest of his years. :-)
My kids and I absolutely love this school. We live about 20 minutes away and choose to open enroll there. I couldn't ask for a better community orientated school. I love that the teachers are open & caring about each student. Communication is always open & welcoming between the staff, children, and parents. I am completely thrilled that I was able to open enroll my kids in such a great school!!
We are in our 2nd year at Birch and have had a great experience. The office staff are always so helpful and friendly. The principal is always up for new and fun ideas and makes the school experience fun for the kids and parents.
We came to Birch from a private school and have found that our kids get all the same advantages here that we we paying for previously. Individualized attention, focus on reading and literacy, involved staff, a great school leadership team and parents who are passionate about the school as a whole, rather than just their children. The Great Schools rating belies the true value, as similarly rated schools nearby do not offer near the same level of instruction or involvement.
Birch Elementary is a socio-economically and culturally diverse school that focuses on teaching the "whole child". The Principal at Birch introduces herself as having 380 kids. That is how she, and her staff, approach their teaching... with a loving hand. Over the past few years, I have watched Birch follow a path of introducing new writing and math programs that are making amazing improvements in learning, and are reflected in our TCAP scores. In addition, their positive behavior mechanism (PAWS), is a wonderful example of how behavior is approached throughout the school -- encouraging the positive. I feel incredibly lucky that we live in this amazing neighborhood, but would, without hesitation, open enroll into Birch if we didn't. It is a wonderful combination of a feeling of community, and a place where my kids can learn to be good citizens, good students, and good friends.
Birch is a great neighborhood school that has high standards and expectations for all students. My children are early elementary age and feel as though Birch is part of the family. Communication is honest and frequent: parents get regular messages about what is happening. There are many opportunities for parent and community involvement, and there is a clear and shared focus. It feels as though everyone is on the same page, pulling in the same direction, giving kids the tools they need to succeed and excel. The principal s attitude is encouraging and innovative. She is student-centered and sets the tone for the rest of the school. She is super-visible to the kids, gets to know them on a personal basis, and they love her! In addition, the school has a great mix of new and veteran teachers in a supportive learning environment. The small learning setting increases student contact with teachers. Staff recognizes that some students must overcome significant barriers, but these obstacles are not seen as insurmountable. Curriculum, and assessments are aligned with state standards and BVSD does a great job in supporting district schools.
I love first and foremost that the school and its teachers and staff are so accessible. Rarely have I sent an email or made a call that has not been answered. Additionally, the teachers and staff reach out to me if I need to be made aware of something, and there's also plenty of opportunity to be involved at the school. Birch's principal, in particular, is very involved with and passionate about the students. In the short time we have been at Birch, I have seen the writing and math programs grow by leaps and bounds and seen how it's affected my own child's schoolwork. I live in the Birch neighborhood and though I could have open enrolled at other BVSD schools, I chose this school because it is a slice of real life the families here are socio-economically and culturally diverse and, though at times that can present its own set of challenges, I love that those challenges exist. Through them, my kids get to see that hard work and perseverance, by anyone student, staff member or parent (and there is a very passionate and hard-working PTO) can make a positive change to his or her own life as well as the community.