This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
S. D. Spady Elementary School5
Posted August 14, 2014
- a community member
I attended this svhool from 2001-2006 and still to this day my experiences and memories at spady are still with me today. I have kept the same friends that I met at this school and went to 2 other elementary schools before. Hands down the best.
I've been a parent at S.D. Spady for 3 years now and we have been generally very happy. I have two daughters there, one in K and one in Pre-K3. They are always happy to go to school, they are happy to see their teachers and they seem to be learning at a very fast pace. Where I think it gets complicated is on the parent involvement side. Since this is a choice program, you get a mixed bag of families. Some are very involved, some never even read their children's homework folder. If we could improve parent involvement I think Spady would be a 10/10, no questions. The more involved I am, the better education I feel my daughters get. The teachers give me personalized comments on my daughters' progress, every time I've been in the classroom (and this year only I've already logged over 20 hours of volunteering and I work full time) I've been really pleased with the work my children are doing, with the Montessori material and with the sense of closed community Spady gives us. I think in this world you get what you put in, too many people complain without investing the appropriate amount of time. Not saying the school is perfect, it is not, but we the parents are not perfect either.
S.D. Spady was a great school for my oldest daughter who is now in eighth grade. She loved it there. However when she left after 5th grade, everything seemed to go downhill. My younger daughter hated it there. Her teacher wasn't teaching her anything because she was too busy moaning about her personal life, the ex-principal was making it seem like a jail, (at recess the students couldn't go past the playground, you weren't allowed to play basketball, kickball, baseball, or any sport at P.E. and more) and the ex-principal also didn't listen to any parent's opinions. For example when they transferred my daughter out of her class, she was very upset and when I went to the principal she said there's nothing she can do about it and your child should grow up. You don't say that about a young girl. S.D. Spady is spiraling out of control; and not to mention that it isn't in a very safe neighborhood either, my eldest daughter claimed to witness a house go down in flames next door.
Just finished our first year at Spady, and it was better than I had hoped for. My son loved his teacher (Ms. Franko), and he feels like Spady is his home. I was impressed with the school culture, the academics, and the family involvement. Looking forward to another great year.
I can tell you as a parent & the PTA president of Spady our school is not always perfect but what school is? But ,what I do know for sure is our Spady community of teachers, staff and parents are that of a loving, caring & accepting community that I am honored to be a part of. We are all human beings & sometimes do not get things right but just like any parent or person we are striving to do our best each day. Here in SoFL where there are so many cultures & it is very diverse, it is nice to find a small community of people who truly care about each other & their school. We are blessed to have been at Spady since K and as we move on next year I can say being at Spady was where we were meant to be. Kimmy Cooper, Proud Parent of Spady
Sigh. Thank you for looking into this school. It is a sign that you are a conscientious parent trying to figure out what the best scenario is for your child's education. I commend you on your efforts. BUT the best way to learn about a school is to VISIT it and get opinions from people you KNOW AND TRUST. Online reviews either come from people who are ecstatic about their choice or people who are bitter. You will most likely not get a balanced, fair review. Is Spady the epitome of Montessori? No. It is a public school that has to meet Statewide standards that are constantly in flux. Are all teachers at ANY school perfect? NO. Is there a school that exists that doesn't have children with social development issues, problems at home, learning disabilities? NO. No school...NO SCHOOL... is perfect, and no school is perfect for EVERY child. Best of luck to you in your search. For me, for now, I love Spady and so do my children.
When problems happen at Spady, we don't simply punish. Instead we see discipline as a skill to be learned and so we use conflict as a teachable moment with a problem-solving reflection. We discuss the situation with the students involved & focus on them understanding mistakes that were made & learning to make better choices in the future. We ask them to think about their part in a problem, to consider the other person's feelings, and to plan for different options for themselves if the problem occurs again. As Charles Swindoll said, "We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." I believe teachers & administration do a great job of teaching students resilience, focusing our kids on self-regulation & communication skills, encouraging positive interactions, and treating both children & adults with respect. I wish Great Schools would structure reviews so that feedback on BOTH a school's strengths & weaknesses would be provided.
I am an active parent at Spady as well. Both of my children attend the school. Spending time at school really gave me an opportunity to see the real picture. First of all, I have to mention that THIS IS NOT A TRUE MONTESSORI SCHOLL!!!! May be it was in the past but not anymore. Upper elementary grades have only some components of Montessori education. Lower elementary teams focus on drilling kids reading so they can pass the expected levels. Creativity does not exist in the classroom. Kids are not allowed to use crayons anymore even in preK because being creative means loosing instructional time. Very Sad. Yes, there is bullying and stealing seems to be a normal thing. (even from the teachers purses). I will even call it an epidemic. It seems that every classroom has someone with sticky fingers. I agree with the previous posts that there is lack of caring from administration and from some of the teachers as well. Most of the teachers do not have Montessori certification and not all of the teachers are Montessori trained. So, if you are looking for a Montessori education for your child, THIS IS NOT A SCHOOL FOR YOU!!!
I had heard so many great things about S.D. Spady before entering my fist grade son. But as the year progresses I notice that there seem to be a lack of caring? The amount of children without manners seems to be a big problem, and it is not addressed at all. I also noticed that the aftercare program is horrendous! The kids are bullied with no seeming consequence. The aftercare teachers are too busy texting on their phones to even notice what the kids are doing. Then when they do notice strict punishment and referrals are given out like candy.