Several special education classrooms are in a separate wing of the building. These students spend very little time with their non-disabled peers. Administration doesn't want the parents to see these children.
This is my son's 2nd year at Big Shanty and it's been tough. The principal doesn't seem to know her left from her right and there is too much focus on behavior and not enough on academics. There is no awards ceremony for those who excell in academics, but there is a ceremony for those with good behavior. I was shocked when I was invited to the Eagle ceremony and find that my son did not get recognized for making all A's, but he was recognized for having good behavior for the semester. I've been pretty disappointed to say the least.
As with most schools, there are teachers and staff that are awesome and there are others that you wonder why they are in education. One thing that bothered me is that I emailed the Assistant Principal twice regarding a request/concern and I never heard back from her. I feel this is completely unacceptable. However, when I emailed the Principal, I immediately heard back from her. Whenever I email my daughter's teacher, she always responds. That is excellent. Staff in the front office are usually helpful and friendly. However, the teachers in the car line and morning duty are not always friendly in the morning. Again, there seems to be a consistent mix of wonderful individuals at Big Shanty and others that could use some extra training.
We had some good teachers here, but every negative thing you've read below is right on the money. There is a tremendous emphasis on behavior, which stresses the "good" kids out, for fear that they will be yelled at or embarrassed in front of other students for relatively minor infractions, such as talking in the hallways. The school has an almost militaristic quality about it. Awards are given only for lockstep behavior, and not at all for academic achievement. And, despite countless parents echoing these concerns, the administration appears to be indifferent.
My child is finishing his first year here. The teachers have been nothing short of fantastic, very flexible and willing to work within a child's limitations. The reason that I can only give 3 stars is the "Excellent Eagles" behavior program. The children carry their agendas around wherever they go and any staff member may mark the agenda, if the child has no marks at the end of a quarter, they are a "Golden Eagle" , if they have 3 or fewer marks, they are a Blue Eagle, there is a big ceremony at the end of each quarter which all students attend, I have several problems with this: 1. Students get marks for missing homework, I don't feel this is a disciplinary issue 2. Once the child has three marks, there is no avenue for her to regain eligibility for that nine weeks. For example, if a child has a really bad day and gets three marks from a variety of staff members, there is zero incentive to behave during the remaining weeks of the quarter. 3. The child who had a bad day is then, possibly weeks later, forced to sit on the cafeteria floor and watch her friends parade across the stage cheered on by parents,,teachers and administrators.