We love Butler! Our sons are finishing up their 3rd year here. The administration knows every student by name which is pretty impressive for the number of students they have. We have zero complaints and our sons love their school.
I have five children, we have been in 4 school systems and I have never been in one as wonderful as this. We have made Miramar Beach our home because of this school. Mrs Smith is a wonderful principal, she knows all the children, what class their in, she walks through the lunchroom talking to them each day.
This school is so large, I feel it's easy for children to fall through the cracks. As a parent with a full-time job, I have found it nearly impossible to get any feedback on my child's progress, other than her report card. I have emailed, sent notes, requested conferences, with little to no response from her teachers -- for the past 3 years. My friends who have schedules that allow them to volunteer at the school don't seem to have the same communication issues with their childrens' teachers.
Butler is generally a good school, but certainly can improve. I would not be too influenced by FCAT scores. The school is located in an affluent district and, as such, tends to serve students from successful families. The student peer-group is as ripe and prepared for education as most any anywhere. Wasted time and distraction spent on discipline and decorum are simply not issues at Butler. Given this student body, the level of educational opportunities could be far greater to help these students really soar and expand their horizons. The diversity of education is very limited with virtually no extra-curricular activities. The programming is very vanilla. The teachers are generally committed - often young and gaining experience. They run the gamut. I get the feeling that some of the school administration are just trying to keep things at an "acceptable" level, without any vision of "greatness" for the school and the student educational experience. I would suggest that senior administration could use some inspired vision building and better utilize some of the talent in the community - and study some of the really awesome school programs from Harlem to California.
Butler Elementary School is fantastic. We are somewhat new to the area, having lived here for 2 years. My children love going to school every day. The teachers are friendly and professional. The front office staff is eager to help and very accommodating. The principal is very "hands-on" and makes all students feel important. She knows them all by name! We absolutely will not move from this area until our children finish elementary school!
I usually don t write reviews but my story is one of direct contrast to a previous comment by a parent and felt the need to give another view of the same topic. My son transferred to Butler from a wonderful out of state school. He attended Butler in third, fourth and fifth grade. Automaticity in mathematics was a huge focus while he attended Butler. He also earned top scores on FCAT tests and was an honor roll student. We moved over the summer and he is now attending a K-8 school in Nevada whose math curriculum is the National Gifted Research Center's M-Cubed curriculum along with the National Council of Mathematics Teachers math series. At the beginning of the school year they tested every student s math aptitude and my son earned the highest score in the entire school. His mathematics average this first nine weeks of school was a 99. In no way do I feel he has lacked in what he was taught at Van R Butler. Every student is unique and what they retain from their lessons is based on individual student s aptitude. Tammy Smith is a wonderful principal that is very approachable and wants to see the students succeed. I highly recommend this school.
We moved to SRB right before our son started 4th grade, coming from Chesapeake Virginia. At first the idea of a small school was great and was quite a change. My son did awesome on the FCATS and was always an honor roll student even before we left Virginia. We have since returned to Chesapeake for his 5th grade and I could not believe how far behind he was compared to Florida. Math especially is where the lack of teaching shined. He is now playing catch up and his grades are suffering. We are absolutely appalled at having to ask "What DID they teach you?" Sure, the school is clean and beautiful and the staff is nice. Ms. Art is an asset to the program. However! All that is no comparison to my son being behind due to lack of teaching. If you want a nice looking school with nice staff and dont mind compromising the child's education more power to all. I am so glad to be back in Virginia, as well as our son, so maybe he can learn what is expected of the grade he is in. Yes, every teacher has their days and no school is without some controversy but if you could see the amount lacking in what is being taught compared to other school districts it is absolutely appalling!
My friends kids go there and they love it. The children seem stimulated and enthusiastic about going to school. Also, the school makes an effort to keep it clean. There's a saying that goes something like this 'A happy home is a clean one.'. My son will attend there next year. Also, I support public schools.