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.
Principal is clueless and very unapproachable. She has very poor decision making skills and does not support her staff. Her public presence is abhorable and she has very poor leadership skills. I have known several excellent teachers who have left the school because of the unprofessionalism and poor judgment of the current administration. The principal creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that is driving away the best teachers in the building.
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.
The teachers at this school are not organized. How can I child have only 3 to 4 grades for a grading period? When things are brought up to administration, they will do anything to try to protect their teachers acting as if you're the problem. It's really time for some of the teachers to go and/or retire. They have been there so long until they are really out of touch in how they are teaching. There is a lot a favoritism where they addressed some students behaviors and ignore the behaviors of their ALP students whose behaviors are out of control. This school needs new leadership.
This school has lost it's focus on teaching children. It has become militant with a new behavioral policy that has the children very stressed. I have not spoken to one parent who does not have an issue with this new policy- the administration is clueless, despite the numerous parent meetings expressing concerns. Their new stance seems to be head in the sand, disregarding valid concerns from not only parents but mental health professionals in the area.
This school is governed on focusing on the minority who are failing to adhere, rather than continuously acknowledging those that consistently follow the rules. Goals/rules, are so out of whack..... = does not/will not equal success for the students.