The teachers and staff are absolutely wonderful. My family is in education and we can be picky, but we moved here with the military and have been impressed. We have had INCREDIBLE teachers for Kindergarten and First grade. Contrary to the older reviews on here, they do have a gifted program that starts in first grade. It's wonderful. The class size for K-3rd grade will always be 18 students or less to 1 teacher. (It is a state law.) The art teacher has a Youtube video that she makes with her cat to teach art concepts to kids at home. My child took private music lessons over the summer and his piano teacher was impressed at how much was already learned in the Kindergarten music class at Plew. P.E. is every day, because Plew believes every kid needs a chance to be active every day. I am truly sad to move away from here and the only criticism that I can give Plew is about the building. It is an open-campus, a dated building and it is busting at the seams, because Niceville families want their children to attend Plew.
I worked at Plew for only a few months last year, due to moving, but compared to the other schools I've worked at or my child has attended, it is top notch. The music program is great and they have grade-level performances throughout the year, so you will definitely get to see your child perform. The 1st grade performance was spectacular! They host an annual Evening of the Arts, and parent volunteers work all year with the kids to create awesome projects. I was truly amazed, especially considering Okaloosa doesn't offer art in their schools. The field day was a lot of fun, and there is clearly a lot of parent involvement. Beginning in 1st grade, kids identified or suspected of being gifted are placed in a class together, where I presume they receive additional/different instruction. The additional gifted projects are evident in 4th grade. If we moved back to the area, I would want my child to attend here, as I was very impressed with the school. Also, they now have a Military Counselor who does work with all the military kids, through deployments and such.
My children have attended this school for two years now and I could not be more unhappy with the quality of the education. There is no academic support for gifted children in the lower grades. They must complete the same curriculum as the general education classes with perhaps a few extra projects. The fourth and fifth grade gifted classes are excellent though. Additionally, the Spanish classes have not taught my children any Spanish. They learn about the Spanish cultures but in two years have learned very little of the language. The P.E. teacher has yelled during so many of the classes, my children no longer enjoy P.E. The music program has been positive. There is also no support for military families, such as holding group meetings for children going through deployments. This school does have fabulous parental involvement, but overall, I would not choose this school again.
I was a student at James E. Plew Elementary School and I thought that the gifted program was terrible and that there were no good advanced classes for over achievers. Also every grade has an unfair teacher except for kindergarten and second grade.
My daughter attends this school and was tested for the gifted and talented program. I can't say enough about her first year at Plew. It was really good. The ONLY drawback of the school is district's policy of busing special education students to another school in the district. Sadly, my son missed out on the fabulous staff and teachers at this school, due to this policy. That issue is not a school issue, rather a district policy issue.
We have lived here for 2 1/2 school years covering 1st thru 5th grade and LOVE this school! The teachers and staff are great and really try to help each child and family. The parent involvement is wonderful! With lots of areas for volunteering, in the classroom, around the school, or from home! I have a normal student and a gifted and both have received the help needed and challenges for areas they needed. My younger daughter was even able to come with me to everything, granted she is very well behaved. LOVE LOVE LOVE this school! We are sad to leave the area and school, due to military.
This is the third time we have lived in this community, twice by Military moves, this time by choice. The school system here was one of the biggest draws for us and we knew that we were coming back to Plew. Our third child is now in Plew and the school remains a fabulous learning environment with committed teachers, a great principal, involved parents, and lots of extracurricular opportunities.
This elementary school doesn't have the aesthetic appeal that you would expect from such a 10 out of 10 school. But its current 10 rating is absolutely deserved. Our daughter is currently in Mrs. Zelinski's Kindergarten class. She is very organized with her class structure, homework for the children is very clear and concise, and development/progress is defined. The principal receives high marks from the local teachers I have talked with. Parent involvement is high; this area has many federal government workers, be it civilian or military, most of whom have degrees. We considered the local private christian school but are now very happy with Plew and would certainly send our three year old daughter there in the future.
We are a military family and this is our first year at Plew. I have children in the first and third grades. They love this school, and I love the fact that the parents are involved and the teachers are great. Our whole family is looking forward to another year at Plew.