Fernbank Elementary can be good again. It is in the right place; it has good bones. The problem is leadership. The ship is adrift with the wrong person at the helm. We have to get the ship on course again. Our future depends on it.
Fernbank is definitely over rated. It's more of a parent social club than an elementary school. It is a close community, that's only if "they" accept you, students at Fernbank can be very mean and are very judgemental to be children ( you wonder where they're learning their judgemental behavior from---home of course). Average to below average teachers who somehow think their awesome. The school is being torn to the groud because it was literally falling apart and have temporarily moved to Avondale estates, about 15 minutes away, so the trek to school with traffic can be trying. My advice if you're looking to move to Atlanta, is, try East Cobb or Roswell area. Don't believe the hype!!
I am a very large fan of Fernbank elementary school. I attended this school from pre-k to 5th grade and as a student I enjoyed this school very much. The teachers their love jobs and you can tell because they have tons of respect for the children and are great teachers. I am now an 8th grader almost freshman living in california and I just wanted to share my appreciation for this school. It is my childhood and they have done a great job to make it perfect!
I've had kids there since 2005. It has gone further downhill every year with respect to education. Environment is safe and welcoming however I've sent my two oldest to private middle school and they were way behind after being designated gifted and straight A's at FB. I'm getting my third kid outta there before she also succumbs to the sub-par math and science program. Teachers are all dr. feel goods and the parents are more concerned about organizing teacher appreaciation events and pajama day. If you are going to send your kid to Druid Hills Middle they will look like rocket scientists in comparison to the average student there but anywhere else and they will have to catch up. If you are comparing FB to the average public elementary in DeKalb county this place looks like Harvard. Sad.
This school is great if you're bar is set relative to other public elementary schools in DeKalb. However, my children, after being identified as "gifted" , which means a whole lot of nothing with respect to more challenging assignments, and getting straight A's, struggled when I sent them to private middle. Parents are super involved to a nauseating fault it you count endless fundraisers and pajama day parties as involved. Lots of folks trying to hold on to the fantasy that can still get a quality education in Dekalb county public schools and lits of hovering parents that think if they are there 24-7 it must be a great place. The middle school Fernbank feeds into is just flat out scary. Move now or start saving for private school. FB's glory days are long gone.
I have two children at this school and disagree with a lot of the positive comments. I have not been impressed with the standard of teaching and feel like my kindergartner is not being challenged at all! No homework and a lot of worksheets that are way too easy. As with all schools it depends what teachers you get but on the whole there is an over reliance on TV in the classrooms. And I'm not talking about educational programs! Also there is not enough focus on reading and there are children who still cannot read in second grade.
Our family is very happy with Fernbank. We have two children at the school and now have had four different teachers. One was "fair to middlin"; the other three have been exceptional. One of the school's strengths is the principal, who hires good people and supports them. His door is open to everyone; he will always listen to individual parents, but he will do what is right for all the children and the school as a whole. He is great. We love that the school offers PE, art, science, and Spanish to every student. We appreciate the school's diversity, something most outsiders probably aren't aware of. We applaud the many involved and committed parents, which is another real strength. Our only complaint is the physical facilities - the school is generally falling apart. But even there, after the recent SPLOST vote, FB is in line for a brand new building in a couple of years. In sum, there are a lot of reasons that so many families outside the district are eager to send their children to Fernbank.
Every single adult at Fernbank does his/her job passionately and with the students foremost in mind. Although we are a large elementary school, there is a very palpable feeling of community-- we are a little village. The kids all know each other and the parent body is incredibly involved and present. Any day of the week, there are a dozen parents on site helping out and a couple more dozen at home/work who have also pitched in for the day's activities. I cannot stress enough what outstanding leadership our principal provides. He works tirelessly for the good of the school community and does not play favorites. Realizing that one size does not fit all, if he can make an accomodation that will help one child but not hurt any other child, he will do so. If a request will result in anyone else being affected, he will not do it. How can one not respect that fairness? Our International Baccalaureate program provides the kids a solid education and a selfless foundation-- looking at the world as a whole, seeking to help out concretely from your own front yard on out, and respecting differences while celebrating commonalities. Our family LOVES Fernbank and are SO SATISFIED!
Fernbank is a fantastic school with very involved parents and a fairly diverse population of students. Love Fernbank! My daughter was fortunate to have attended this Elementary School.
We are currently on second child to receive a wonderfult education from Fernbank. The teachers are great at individual and group education and take time to know each child - gifted or not. Our oldest went on to a very challenging academic environment and was very well prepared by Fernbank!
I have two kids at Fernbank and they love it, I love it, and I believe they are learning a lot. I compare my kids (what parent doesn't) to friends' kids in private schools. I see no advantage to private school given the reading and math levels at which our respective kids operate. Moreover, the kids seem to really enjoy school. Fernbank operates within the confines of the DeKalb County School Board and its requirements as well as those of the state, so there are things that must be taught in a particular order. So, the ability of these great teachers to do their job is hindered a bit by the need to comply with the state requirements, but that is true at every school. Overall, I think any parent looking for a good educational opportunity for their child would be crazy to skip Fernbank. I saw somebody else in a review mention "social engineering" and have no idea of what they are talking about. My wife and I have very different political views and we are both actually happy with the lessons and structure.
Of course, ITBS ranks student performance according to percentiles so a student in the 85th percentile scored equal to or better than 85 percent of all students across the nation who took the test. We have been at Fernbank for 5 years and it has been an extraordinary experience. I can tell you that we would have been very pleased with any of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade teachers. They are that deep in terms of high quality teachers. They have a dedicated science teacher to boot who is phenomenal. Really.
Look at ITBS scores, which compare kids nationally. FB 1st grade scores are high 90 s, by 5th grade they re down to the mid 80 s, meaning FB takes smart kids and dumbs them down 15%. Demand DCSS repost ITBS scores to website. CRCT obscures what a poor education our kids are receiving. CRCT passing bar is set well below national NAEP bar: 15 pts math, 35 pts reading! Accept only a national, norm-referenced test. FB academics weak, particularly math & science. IB program is just an adjective list, no world history/geography taught, Spanish only foreign language. Gifted program=Magic School Bus videos, busy work, law only requires 4 hrs/wk. Overcrowded. Over 800 kids in a building designed for 400. Only a third of teachers are good, as another parent noted VIP kids consistently get the good teachers. FB is a star in DeKalb b/c of neighborhood, DCSS=huge mess. Compare FB nationally via ITBS, it s no good. Internationally, Americans at very bottom. College competition is global. Will FB kids ever recoup the lost 15%?
Great teachers, challenging curriculum, and unbelievable parental support. I love that my daughter is challenged, has made great friends and is learning in such a great environment. The teachers are great and the administration top-notch.
We have had a mixed experience at Fernbank. As with any school, much depends on the teacher your child happens to have. Oddly enough, the children of school employees and other lucky "VIPs" seem to wind up in the same classes each year, with the best teachers. Some teachers use ability grouping, while others do not - so there's a lot of wasted time for more advanced learners whose teachers favor the latter approach. I don't think the IB program is as big an asset at the elementary level as it is in MS/HS - it certainly doesn't seem very challenging so far. The biggest strength of the school is parent involvement - most of the parents are highly educated and there are some really effective advocates for the school among them.
Fernbark is a really great school! We love this school with fantastic teachers. The teachers are truly care about the children. Kids receive challenging. Both of my son and my daughter are in the gift program. I feel very lucky my kids are at Fernbank. Again, we love this school.
This school is absolutely amazing. I have a daughter in 3rd grade and a son in kindergarten. I'm constantly impressed at the curriculm and how they incorporate the IB into all that they do. I must totally disagree with the one parent who felt their child was not challenged. My daughter is in the gifted program and my son is reading at a very high level in kindergarten. He has homework everyday and it's always very creative. I came from Northern Virginia, where the schools are the best in the country. Fernbank is just as good as those schools in every way!!! I feel in many ways that eventhough is's a public school, it feels more like a private school. I feel so lucky and blessed that my kids are at Fernbank. Maybe the other parent had a bad teacher, although, I have yet to meet a teacher that I don't think is great!!
We have been very pleased with the curriculum at Fernbank. The teachers have been enthusiastic and caring. The administration has done an excellent job and provides a great environment for learning.
We have been at Fernbank only two months and couldn't be more disappointed. The only work we see done in class is worksheets covering math, spelling and grammar. There has been little evidence of any creativity on the part of the teachers in terms of lessons given or work asked of the children. The picture I see is of a dull day with shallow lessons delivered by the same tedious method of worksheets. The spelling words that are received each week are words from early in the year in the New Jersey public school system. Many of the words are the same week after week and they are words that should have been mastered long ago. Online lists pulled for my child's grade are more complex and would offer a slight challenge. The lack of challenge overall is one more disappointment with Fernbank. Lackluster and not enough learning here! Beware.
Fantastic teachers, great kids, wonderful administration, dedicated parents!
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