My child attended for one year and we couldn't get him out fast enough and in to one of the excellent, local private schools. Sarah Smith's good days are over! Now you can expect excessively, over crowded classrooms, teacher changes mid-year, your kindergartener being sent home on the bus to an empty home while you sit in the car pool line for him, teachers with poor grammar, children with huge learning differences in the same classrooms so the smart ones do busy work while the teachers have to cater to the slower ones (not to mention the ever increasing large number of those who can't speak English!), abysmal parent participation for class projects and activities, extremely poor communication and return of phone calls from administration because they think everything is wonderful. It's a shame that this neighborhood school has gone downhill and is forcing families to find expensive alternatives.
The grammatical errors that come home on communications are egregious. I am appalled. It seems like few have advanced degrees and attend programs to further their research and education. Teaching seems more like a hobby or babysitting for most of those we've had. My in-laws came to the classroom once and remarked that the teacher was sweet and would make an excellent babysitter. Part of the problem is that the class sizes are huge and the student population is so diverse. The different learning levels within one classroom makes it impossible for one person to effectively communicate a topic to 26 children of varied intellectual ability.
Fairness towards all students is severely lacking. If you have a below-average learner, you're fine because the other children are expected to sit there and do worksheets and help the students that struggle or don't have an adequate command of the English language. Students that are well-behaved are also subjected to students who have poor behavior and act out aggressively or violently. In one instance an entire second grade classroom had to receive training on how to handle a violent child's outbursts after he physically injured the teacher. The school was attempting to protect the children in the classroom from potential future injury, but this only was "fair" to the unruly student and not "fair" to the rest of the class to have to adapt to his unacceptable behavior. It's situations like this where SRS caters to the lowest common denominator that frighten me.
Amazing school! We just moved here this year and are overjoyed! I am so impressed with the type of support the teachers have, the resources, and just the general community feel and love extended to the kids. Dr. Hamilton and the staff are AMAZING!! When we get out of the car in the morning, teachers are there greeting us with smiles and my kids cannot wait to get in the building. Just today, my daughter's teacher used Periscope to live broadcast the science lab to all the parents, in real time! The extra-curricular activities are also out of this world! My children take chess, golf, karate, and tennis. This is such a nurturing and diverse environment. My daughters are thriving and being challenged. This is the best schooling decision that we have ever made.
Dr. Hamilton welcomed us on the day we registered, listened to my concerns, talked with my daughter, and even discussed possible class placements. She made time for us, when she didn't have to. AMAZING! Most admins won't even make time for these types of conversations, much less 20-30 minutes. I felt comfortable that my child's best interest was in mind.
The teachers are big on accountability. Students are taught from day one to be responsible for their work, learning, and being their best. I was very impressed to hear how important that was, particularly in the fifth grade classes.