This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Longfellow Elementary School5
Posted April 30, 2014
- a parent
We came to Longfellow in 2013 from a private school in Oak Park. I am amazed by the teaching and instruction, as well as the leadership and the support system Longfellow offered both us and our children. We have worked along side the team at Longfellow to bridge the gap in learning that needed to happen to bring our kids to where they need to be. I would highly recommend Longfellow Elementary School to any parent.
This school is AMAZING! My daughter is in the middle of her Kindergarten year and I was a bit concerned at first because she was an advanced Kindergartener (she started the year reading and adding in her head). I was quickly put to ease though when I learned that the students are broken into 5 groups for reading and math based on their knowledge so that all of the students are challenged- those just learning their letters and those who are reading books. Communication is great between the teachers, principle and parents and there is an excellent community feeling. Can't say enough about Longfellow=)
There are amazing teachers here. From the PKP on up. We have been fortunate to have many of them. Sure it's a dice roll, but it's like that at all schools and the odds are definitely in your favor here. The principal does listen but I do think the district itself is to blame for any "sweeping under the rug" issues. Disabilities, allergies are all taken seriously. Academics are amazing and the PTO does an incredible job at enrichment programs as well as creating some stellar events throughout the year to engage students and teachers. There are many opportunities for parental involvement. They love volunteers to come in and read to children, help with art class, stay in the lunch room, and help out in general. We've been there for over 5 years and I love the teachers. Any bullying is taken seriously in the school and although the aids could have been more attentive on the playground, they were all new last year. I'm not sure how much instruction they received but if an issue was brought to their attention, there was action. I love the diversity of our school & while that could be a disadvantage in some minds, it has only become a strength for the school and the community
There are some good teachers there but I took my daughters out of Longfellow and put them into private school. The aides did not enforce discipline in the school yard at lunchtime. When my daughter complained she was being hit in the yard every day the aides just said they didn't have eyes in the back of their heads. I was very disappointed that I had moved to Oak Park for the "good schools."
Academically, Longfellow is a great school. However, the current principal, Ms. Doezel, avoids conflict. If you have an issue, such as your child be bullied, or an issue with a teacher yelling at your child, she'll smile and tell you she'll look into it, but does nothing. Also, the school severely limits parental involvement. I have tried many times to be more involved, and have been given a multitude of excuses. There are some great schools in Oak Park, unless academics is your only concern, I would not choose Longfellow.
We had a wonderful experience with stellar teachers. Mrs. Ivey and Mrs. Arguello were incredibly warm, smart, talented and patient. But after 1st grade, we were out of luck. Burnt out teachers, unruly classrooms, ineffective PBIS, worksheets and videos in the classroom, and little to no challenge academically (even with the gifted and talented program). The worst part however, was the lack of discipline and intervention in schoolyard bullying. Lots of aggression on the playground with aides who told the kids "If I didn't see it, there is nothing I can do." One of my children was in a 1st grade class (different than above) with a very unhappy teacher. 13 out of 25 first graders had received detention by October. When I spoke with the principal during a scheduled appointment about the apathy in the classroom, the negative energy, and the lack of academic stimulation, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "We are aware of the problem." She offered nothing else. We purposefully moved from OP because we were so disgusted with the schools. This community has a great reputation-- but it's just that-- reputation alone doesn't educate kids in the way they need.
Longfellow is great! We are one of only two (out of 8) Oak Park Schools that has made Academic Honor Roll for making AYP - adequate yearly progress - on state tests every year since 2003. Longfellow has great families and a very dedicated, hard working staff. It is a super school!
Longfellow provides an excellent well rounded education for all students. The climate of the school is happy and friendly with importance placed on learning. There is a great sense of community and spirit in the school. Longfellow produces a large number of students that excel academically.