This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Macfarlane Park Elementary Magnet School5
Posted January 28, 2015
- a parent
My son started here this year (August 2014) as an IB elementary magnet student - he loves it. Great teachers, good friends, great education. Feel like we are very fortunate to have an excellent educational opportunity in a public school. Beautiful facility in nice neighborhood and convenient to south and central Tampa area.
Providing you with my honest opinion which is why this forum was created. My child attended Macfarlane Park from K-5th - my rating is based on: (a) Teachers - communication, involvement, quality, classroom structure, IB curriculum (b) PTA - excellent involvement, thanks to the community of great parents (c) Guidance counselor, Nurse, Front Office Staff, Cafeteria, PE Coach, Spanish/Chorus/Library/Strings - 5 starts all the way around, highly trained individuals who absolutely love what they do and they do it with class (d) Principal - this by far was the most disappointing experience I had during the 6 years. Future parents, please be aware of the lack of leadership and care the Principal shows. It's scary to have someone in authority who uses her title to bully parents, children and staff. The principal lacks all character traits of an IB leader. It saddens me to have seen first hand the lack of ethics and professionalism from someone in such an important role. As a parent, my advice is to make the best decision for YOUR child, always be involved. If something doesn't seem right use the tools you have at hand to have it researched such as calling the school district.
Macfarlane Park has consistently been one of the best elementary schools in Hillsborough County for a decade. Great staff, great administration, great students, and the best PTA in the state makes a great school. I will say that there have been lots of teachers coming and going and switching grade levels over the past couple of years. A lot of the staff who left became lead teachers at other schools, but still, it's a lot of change. I really hope it doesn't affect the quality at Macfarlane. It hasn't yet, thankfully.
We were initially happy with this school and felt the IB curriculum was providing an advanced academic experience for our children. The school offers extras most others in the district do not (Strings, Spanish). While the Strings program is a jewel, Spanish was highly disappointing. Many teachers/staff here are dedicated and engaging with the students. However, there are others who don't model Respect, Caring and even Commitment; aspects of the IB program that are supposed to be the foundation of this school. Students here have the same issues with bullying and cliches you find elsewhere, which we had hoped wouldn't be the case in an IB school. The school has degraded in quality of both education and environment since 2010. Being a student (or teacher) here used to be a privilege that was respected and coveted by all. Over the past few years there has been a "revolving door" of teacher turnover. New hires are often first year teachers. This says a lot. We have seriously considered moving our youngest out. We now give this school a B-, downgraded from an A.
Our oldest daughter has been attending MacFarlane Park since last year (she is now in first grade). I knew before she started VPK that this was the best fit for our daughter and I could not have been more correct in that assumption. We drive our daughter over 28 miles one way to school every day and will continue to do so in order for our daughter to attend this wonderful school. This school understands that it is important to not only learn, but serve those in our community and world. Our daughter loves the variety of classes, great gifted programs, and continuous opportunities for school and community involvement. If you want a small "family" type school whose goal is to provide an environment where all types of learners and backgrounds are welcome; you will find it at MacFarlane Park. From International Festivals and Peace Day to Strings Concerts; your child will be able to pursue their interests while receiving an A+ education.
We love this school! The teachers are wonderful, caring and go the extra mile. The kids are excited to go to school and are happy and smiling when I pick them up. The small class size and small school size lead to a child centered education that is family oriented and mutually supportive. We have loved our time at MacFarlane Park!
MacFarlane Park Elementary is an inclusive, culturally diverse school. The school is intimate and friendly to all of the parents and students. The teachers are rigorous, yet fun and fair. We feel incredibly fortunate that our son is attending the "World's Best World School".
This A rated small school is nurtures students natural desire to learn. The mission statement of the IB curriculum is: "The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right." This school fully encompasses this mission statement in the classroom, clubs, and service learning programs. This school also teaches all students both violin and introductory Spanish beginning in Kindergarten. The PTA is very active in providing programs and parent-led fundraising to ensure our school has everything it needs to be successful and effective in giving our children the best education possible. The staff includes teachers and administrators with bachelors, masters, & doctoral degrees.
The IB program isn't for everyone and there are challenges when choosing a school outside your own neighborhood (playdates, etc) but we have been nothing but happy with our experience at MacFarlane. We have had a child enrolled there for the past two years and now have both of our kids there. Couldn't be happier with the content, rigor and breadth of the curriculum and have been very pleased with all of the teachers and staff. I wish more parents could and would get involved.
This is our fourth year at McFarlane Park and we absolutely love it. In fact, I gladly drive by our A-rated neighborhood school daily because I firmly believe that this is the best school in the county. There is a spirit of inclusion, diversity and high academic standards. We have two sons with two very different personalities at the school. All of their teachers have made them better students and better people. We consider ourselves lucky to be a part of the MacFarlane Park family.