Olive-Mary Stitt School has been in the forefront in embracing, educating and executing fine educational programs that have benefitted each student that they are responsible to educate. They have taken time and money to educate the teachers in these fine programs and have been accountable to the outcome of these programs.
The Olive teachers, students and community are the best. As a former employee who worked under various leaders, I feel it is unfair to point fingers at administrators and/or the multi-age program for the school's successes and struggles. The expectations placed upon schools nowadays is far different than it was even 10 years ago. In the age of NCLB and a high emphasis on testing, schools are given little choice but to place an emphasis on testing. Let's try to be fair to those educating your children.
Olive is still a great school, but its glory days are behind. Under the leadership of Marybeth Anderson, the once-touted multiage program has been eliminated and the focus of the school has become max out ISAT scores. There are still many, many wonderful teachers, and that is where Olive really shines, but the feckless administration has not been good for this school. Having said that, it is still several notches above surrounding Districts.
Both of my children attended Olive School from K-5th grades. They both had great success as individual learners in the multi-age environment. This enriching,hands-on instruction gave the boys the opportunity to learn and process using their individual styles. The staff at Olive far exceeeded our expectations. Our children were given the gift of caring, intelligent, respectful, kind, fair, human, hard-working, and compassionate teachers. Both boys were ready to move on to the next stage in their educations and have continued with success with the excellent start they had at Olive.
I've heard other parents rave about the multi-age program in the past but I feel only regrets after choosing this for my child. Academically and socially I feel he has missed out. When I hear what other students are doing in the straight-based level I feel he is being left behind. I know he is! After asking three times that he receive extra help, finally he is, but with only two months of the school year left. We will be spending our summer catching up to grade level reading. Olive has been in a transition with old and new teachers. It is very possible that the old teachers were excellent at multi-age and the new ones are struggling to meet expectations. If I could do it over I would not pick a multi age class.
This school was a once an environment of academic success along with strong focus on the emotional and social development of the student. It is now a school that programs students to succeed in the ISATs. This school holds little in the way of childhood celebration. I would choose any other school in District 25 if I had the opportunity.