This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School1
Posted August 11, 2013
- a parent
From the New London District plan, published in the 2012-2013 year. These numbers do not lie. There is a serious problem with the leadership ruining this once adequate school: High Staff Absenteeism & Turnover contributes to inconsistency of instruction. o 20% of teachers had more than 10 absences; 67% of teachers had 5 or more absences o 43% of the staff is new to the building since Jan. 2010. (22/51 teachers)
All locals gave this school bad reviews but unfortunately since its the only non-lottery middle school in New London, my child had to attend here. The staff (except for the secretary) are all rude. The principal and teachers and guidance counselor have no patience, training or compassion towards kids with learning disabilities. When I addressed a bullying issue to the guidance counselor, he just strongly suggested that my child was just depressed! Ask the locals, there is definitely a reason why everyone dreads having their child attend this school.
This school is volatile. The reputation of this sub-par school is well known in SouthEastern CT, which unfortunately discourages teachers from applying. New London had to host a special job fair in order to lure teachers in to this school. There has been such a massive exodus of teachers (and education-minded families) over the past three years, that the core of Bennie Dover is no longer recognizable. The music program, in particular, has floundered, having lost their excellent band director of a couple of years ago. While the administration spreads untruths about only incompetent teachers leaving, it is a fact that even the new, excellent teachers are leaving - some of them excellent, male role models. Police were finally brought in because of the dangerous atmosphere and that seems to have helped, but what kind of environment is that for kids to learn in? A rumor that the former vice-principal will return as principal from the high school in 2013-2014 (and the current principal finally demoted to a less challenging grammar school) give some hope to the return of competent leadership. One can only hope that the new Board of Ed, although mostly uneducated, can help.
Bennie Dover is improving everyday. As the parent of three children (two have since moved on to the high school, one is still in the school now), AND a teacher in a neighboring district, I have been very focused and aware of my childrens' education. There was a point a few years ago where I had some concerns over behavior and administration. It seemed like expectations were set low enough for everyone to achieve an A (way too easy). In the past 3 or 4 years, there have been massive changes in accountability. The staff have gone through extensive training in more effective methods, and the student behavior is no where near the reputation that some other reviewers have mentioned. Not quite a 5 yet, as there are still areas of improvement (such as consistent discipling, availability of special education and other aids/support staff, and availability of technology and assistive technologies). They are now piloting an extended day program to help make up for language or learning deficits - very promising! Looking forward to next year!
It is not organized. There is no dicsipline. The teachers are always looking over there shoulder at the principle and vice principle. and I heard that it used to be better a few years ago. Should have listened to people who said to not move to New London unless you can afford the catholic schools or can get lucky with the lottery in the magnet schools. The local newspaper does not cover what actually happens in the school. You have to hear it from your kid or from other parents.