We just moved to a different state to a top-ranked school, but as I am finding out, it can't hold a candle to Cherry Tree. As a parent I really appreciated their efforts to differentiate the kids early on in the school year. Gifted kids in math are moved up a grade (with others their same age within the grade) and separated into challenging reading groups. In addition, the Challenge Program was phenomenal - our child excelled in it and was allowed to grow at his pace. This school also has a stringent no-bullying policy which is strictly enforced and ingrained in the kids. Overall teacher quality is good- there are some exceptions but in general, very good. Parental support is VERY high at this school. Kids feel happy and appreciated here.
I am extremely disappointed in the lack of parent communication and the attitude I have received from both the teacher and AP of Cherry Tree Elementary. On meet the teacher day, the teacher announced that there was a nut allergy in the class and presented us with a list of foods and told us we could only purchase from that approved list. The list contains only sugar and chemical loaded junk food, like Oreos, chips, and Pop-Tarts. I told her I normally do not buy those items for my child and I would be happy to bring in fruit, cheese, or another snack item. She said to send in the box labels, and I did, but instead of responding to those, she sent a curt note back the first day, rejecting my snack and saying : "raisins are not on the list", but did not give me any other options for what to send the next day. I called the AP and left a voice message at 10:40, which was never returned, so this morning I called again and said that since no one was working with me on what I could bring or calling me back, I would not send him to school until someone does. The Mr English, the AP just told me he would rather me with-drawl my child than work with me on a placement solution.
A perception of the new principal, as a micro-manager, has alienated a lot of parents. The entire atmosphere of this school has changed from warm and fuzzy to high tension. The newest I- Step scores for the third graders are very disappointing. I feel as if the new policy in this school is to ignore parents concerns and respond in a defensive manner when pressed. I think we have some good teachers (despite the loss of some seasoned veterans). Leadership sets the tone, and ours is off key at the moment.