As a student at sears, the new junior High science curriculum and program is highly lacking as is the math program. Very few kids make the high school level math program (infact nobody in my grade did) and the students in red math feel significantly under prepared for high school. In our science class this year we are learning things that the majority of us knew before junior high, such as photo synthesis and and cellular respiration (When I heard we were doing biochemistry I was excited until I learned that we would be spending two months learning what cellular respiration is which could have been taught in a week tops). However the 8th grade social studies teacher is great and I have probably learned more in his class than all my other history and social studies classes before this combined. We have deep and meaningful discussions and I have learned a lot about how to write a good essay and how to properly use quotes in papers. I have also learned a lot and read some great literature in the language art program at sears which is great.
We have moved many time over the years, including overseas, and Sears is by far the best school our children have attended. It is not only the teachers, administration and curriculum that make for such a unique and rich experience for our children, but the entire community. It really does take a village, and in Kenilworth and at Joseph Sears, we are fortunate to have a community that truly looks out for, and nurtures, each child.
I validate the 9/11/09 post and last year Sears had a few issues that adminstration and school board took very seriously as appropriate and due to all the end of the year parent survey feedback. This year policies are adhered to more strongly and faculty disclosed more empowerment to do theire jobs even better under new stellar qulity and simple but consistent and true leadership of new principal Dr Powers. Dr. Kalinich is an exceptional magician of a superintendant with graceful skills of managing this exceptional public school almost like a private one, with all the public perks. There is much praise for the studious work of Student Services Director, Dr Noell , that empowers her teams of professional to accomodate learning needs across the spectrum ( although the parents with super gifted students seem to always want more and more). The dedicated PVA/PTA 's work provides enrichment beyond comparison.
As a former student at Sears, I can say with ease that it gave my classmates and I a significant advantage at New Trier High School over other students from various other schools in the area.
I can't imagine a better school experience for my children. This is a great school!
Sears is an awesome school! The Village of Kenilworth is a tight knit community and Sears is the pulse. There is a lot of parent involvement both of time and money, which is the KEY to the success of a Public School. Yes, there is always room for improvement but overall you are hard pressed to find a better school on the North Shore or Chicago-land area.
This school provides a top-level education in a private-like setting. With less than 600 students and grades pre-K through 8th grade at one location, the whole community supports and participates in school and related activities. I have had two children recently go all the way through school at Sears (they are now in high school). Both received a quality education and tools for success in high school and life. Yes, there have been isolated incidents involving cliques, bullying and entitled parents which get alot of notice because it is such a small community. These problems are everywhere. In my experience, they are related issues as the bullies have parents who won't acknowledge the truth. The school has reacted appropriately to these situations. Anyone considering moving to the North Shore must look at this school and the village of Kenilworth. Your children will have the best in education, sports, and community spirit.'
We attended the school for two years and while the academics and teacher ratios were great, the social climate was not. There was a very strong air of entitlement among the kids (and parents) and a focus on how much money they could spend on birthday parties, clothes, etc. We move out of the area to avoid raising our children in that type of money oriented environment. There also was a bullying problem, starting in the third and fourth grade. One girl we knew was taunted by girls for months and the school did not step in to act. The administrators were not very open about discussing it or detailing what their policies are regarding preventing bullying. The problem was also detailed in a local newspaper story. In the end, the great academics did not outweigh the trade off of having to raise a child in that environment.
This school has an excellent learning environment. The teachers are extremely passionate about educating the children. Everyone is friendly and caring. The programs offered are outstanding, as are the technological resources. This is by far the best school in the area.
The Joseph Sears School is not what it was many years ago. Bullying is a serious problem within the entire school. Lack of supervision in unsupervised settings is a major problem. Parents totally control the school, and enable administration to act upon discipling children. Teachers are unable to challege students in fear of losing their jobs. Cliques within the community are filtered through the children. Children are ostracized from social setting, sports and extra activities after school. This is not a safe, nuturing environment for a child to learn in.
Parents (and taxpayers) should expect that this school would have a stellar curriculum focused on strong academics while steering clearing of educational fads and fuzzy methods. Sadly, that is not the case. Like most North Shore schools, Sears revolves around the appearance of quality -- curb-appeal education, we can call it. Grab a copy of the Core Knowledge Sequence (or the popular press equivalent books by E. D. Hirsch) and you'll be in for a shock: it's not clear if Sears comes up to that standard for any subject in any grade! Meanwhile, what you will get for your astoundingly high property taxes is an overall emphasis on process over learning.
I loved Sears school. We are moving away, and the kids and I will really miss it. The first grade curriculum is so fantastic: so tightly designed, so interesting to the kids. Fifth grade is tough, but all of the teachers did a great job of preparing my daughter to excel in sixth grade. Overall, I couldn't ask for a better education for my kids, private or public!
Joseph Sears School is an excellent school. However, there are a few issues that need to be addressed. Music program for 3rd and 4th grade is not adequate - needs to be more sophisticated and engaging. Discipline is a concern. Boys fighting on the playground suggests that there are not enough teachers to supervise or teachers supervising are not skilled enough to manage the children. Tenured teachers is a problem (as I imagine it is in most schools). They rewrite the rules to suit their needs. It's happened recently in my child's grade and I am not happy. This is where leadership comes in. The school is in a state of transition. It shows. We are not quite sure whether the principal is staying. We have a new superintendent. Teachers and parents are not sure of what to think. Leadership needs to be stronger to deal with opinionated parents (like me).
We were lucky to buy a home in this community when our children were very young. The entire community is centered around the school. The education is outstanding. (I come from a Boston Private schools background so educational standards are extremely important to me.) The social climate of responsibility and caring provides a great foundation for my children. The PreK-8 grade setting maintains the feel of a 'young' school and so you do not get many of the problems of a typical junior high when you get to the older grades. The parent organization runs the school and is phenominal. We have felt extremely welcome here in Kenilworth.
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