As part of my program, I went in to observe this school. When in school, I worked with a first grade teacher for seven weeks. As some parents have already mentioned, the fate of your child totally depends on what teacher he/she gets. The 1st grade teacher I worked with had very low expectations of colored and economically disadvantaged students. One could easily see how differently she treats people by observing the parent conferences. This first grade classroom has no window; for the seven weeks that I was there, we had no recess as the play ground was under construction. Other than the 30 minutes of lunch break and specials, this class of 6 years old spent their day in a windowless locked classroom with no music, movement, or fun. This teacher also had a 'penny' system for behavior management. When a child behaves well/pleases the teacher/gives a right answer he/she gets a penny. When the child misbehaves/displeases the teacher/gives a wrong answer the penny is taken away. Kids save their pennies in a jar, they have 'shopping' days every other Friday. Kids can buy pencils, erasers, stickers, etc with the penny from their jars. We have at least one kid crying at the end of shopping day because he/she doesn't have enough pennies to buy things. I'm not sure what kind of message this system is teaching our children. The kids are reprimanded severely for talking. I have only seen them speak to each other during lunch. I felt it's a totally sterile environment for a child to grow up in. I believe in educating the 'whole child' and would recommend at least 20 mins of outdoor play every day. As an educator, I know that teachers can make learning fun. When I'm looking for a school to send my 2 year old daughter to, I know which school to stay clear of. I wouldn't imagine any child spending 7 hours*5 days a week of their childhood under such a teacher's control. If you are only focused on scores and outward appearances, this is the school to go for!
Overall a great school, however not the best environment for children who require supports outside the norm. There seems to be a culture somewhat biased against children who require additional services that may cost more dollars to educate. The kids and parents are fantastic!
Excellent school. Excellent principal. For a public school, it's unbeatable. A great public school is very dependent also on engaged involved parents and CLES certainly has their share of them. Caring involved parents, active PTA, teamwork , etc is the foundation. Found most CLES parents truly appreciate and understand the value of a good education creating a strong academic foundation for their children and are willing to be involved.
My son attended CLES for kindergarten and currently goes there for first grade. He had DeAnn Weber for kindergarten. She is a great teacher who never yells at her students and pushes them academically. My son was reading at an advanced 1st grade level at the end of kindergarten. This year in first grade he has Julie Drinkwater and she is the most amazing teacher! She runs the Caring Crocs program and has a heart of gold. She is compasionate, kind, caring, funny, etc....I can't say enough about her. She genuinely cares about her students! She has a great prositive reinforcement program in place in her classroom. It makes the kids strive to be the best they can be. Everyday my son is excited to go to schoo!
I went to CLES to sign my son out of school early today. I just signed the sign out sheet and told the front office lady my name. She NEVER asked for ID, nor did she even look at the sign out sheet to see my name. This is coming just days after the tragic incident in CT. This scares me a lot, especially since you can just walk right through the front doors and completely bypass the office! Let's get it together Crystal Lake so our kids will be safe!
I'm not happy with my son's teacher, but the school is better than the last one he attended. He was teased and bullied often, but at this school the first time it happened, it was taken care of and has not happened since. I am very pleased with this. The only complaint I have is with my son's teacher. My expectations of any Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher is that they be warm, kind, and aware they are talking to small children when they are trying to reprimand any bad behavior. My son's teacher does not seem to view her misbehaving students in a positive way. My son's first couple weeks were spent standing with a teacher through every recess for not finishing his work or talking out in class. His behavior only grew worse as he was only being yelled at and never praised. He came home once and wanted to make a flower cut out from different colors of construction paper and glued together for her. He worked very hard on it. The next day when he gave it to her, she said "thank you" and put it away. How empty. The only thing that is combating that is the behavior specialist who encourages him and gives him positive feedback for his efforts.
The teachers yell at the students, even in the cafeteria the students get yelled at and are routinely forced to take "silent lunches". They can't sit with their friends at lunch. The principal looks good from the outside, is well put together and then you find out thats about all she is concerned about...looks and appearances. When asked to solve any ptoblem with teachers or within the school she just brushes it all under the carpet. She refuses to involve the student in academic challenges that cost the school nothing. She cares little about her students and only in keeping her teachers happy. Half of the student body is on free and reduced lunch, so there is a lot of poverty in this school. The building is new and nice and it has a nice Lake Mary address, but other than that the rest of it inside is not very nice. If your concerned with appearances and not academic substance, that this is the place for you.
Our little one started in K and will be entering 4th Grade this coming year. All the teachers have been superb with the exception of one which was average. The administrative staff is good except for the Principles secretary. She should not be let out of her cage! The cafeteria cooking staff (especially the Director) is fantastic but the ones in the lunchroom? Can you say S-T-A-L-A-G??? As for the comments regarding fundraisers, it is true they are often but we too are on a very tight budget and have never ever felt poorly when we could not participate. As for the building and safety, we have always found it clean and well maintained and the end of day pick-up issue seems to be resolved (for the time being at least). Finally, as for the types of kids that attend, although we have run into bullying and belittling, it's only been twice and was immediately stopped as soon as it was brought to the staff's and parents attention. Not bad for a school of 800+ in a four year period!