I have had a child at Fernbank since 2007 and I couldn't be happier with the overall education. The only teacher I didn't feel positive about in 7 years left a year after my son had her.... and when I brought an issue to Mr Marshall (the principal) about her he was very responsive. The science program is fantastic and has gotten stronger in the past few years. Nearly ALL of the teachers in the fairly large school know ALL of the students by name, which I really appreciate. I appreciate that there is PE every day, as well as lots of art, science, computer labs, etc.
I couldn't agree more with the other parents comments, especially the reviews beginning with the May 2012 onward. This was a really great school, once upon a time, but in the three years we've been there it has gone from bad to worse. The parent teacher ratio is 23:1 with no teacher's aid, and I feel like most of the children have serious behavior problems. There is also a ridiculous amount of parental involvement. This includes projects not being accepted by teachers unless it clearly looks like the parents did the work, which only teaches a child that they can't do anything without their parents hovering over them. The focus is very much on planning pajama days, teacher and bus driver appreciation days, fundraising fundraising and more fundraising, and keeping standardized test scores up.
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!