We have had several years of experience with the elementary school. Was very pleased initially, but have seen dramatic decline in quality in recent years. Main office is more and more unresponsive/more combative and argumentative with parents. Principal has made poor hiring choices - nepotism abounds; there are more qualified candidates than what she hires. Suggest leadership in the elementary school is overall poor (not the case for the middle and high school ,however). Teachers are not energetic and they lack innovation. They fill free time with too many movies and worksheets, and this is true across the grades. Elementary school lacks focus on the basics. Students in this white collar community succeed anyway because of very active parental involvement which compensates for lack of rigor in the school. I know several teachers and they talk often about looking for the easiest way to keep up their licenses rather than to improve their skills. Mentor teachers are hardly quality themselves and do not provide level of guidance befitting their position and salary bonus (comment often made by teachers whom we know). So can't say we are pleased with the quality of the schools.
AWESOME school! couldn't be happier with staff, including Principal Hartzler. She is a great principal, I have to disagree completely with the comment of the person who thinks she is a horrible principal and shouldn't be around kids. Maybe you think this because your child is a little terror who gets whatever they want when their home, but not at school and you can't live with that. In that case you should go find a different school and leave that opening to a child who really wants to learn. Just because this school has discipline and the kids do not run wild, does not make it a bad school. So far our experience here is wonderful, my child loves it! The teachers are very caring and help each individual child. This school is about respecting each other, politeness, and overall having good manners, which every child SHOULD be raised with. I went to ames schools, and I'll tell you what you do not get the individual attention this school provides. And not to mention, I feel our kids couldn't be safer at this school. GOOD JOB to the staff of Roland-story elementary! We are proud to be a Norse!
After reviewing parent comments, I can agree with most of them. We have had a student in this school system for 14 years. And we have left this system for options in Ames. The top down leadership style is rigid and not a 'can-do' form of leadership. School boards hands are tied by federal and state regulations everywhere. The lack of field trips, shortage of teachers, and the negative comments BY teachers are real problems locally. A few bad apples have spoiled the barrel. Time for a change for those folks who don't love to teach anymore-this district pay scale is one of the highest in the state and yet teacher complaints fill the lounge. Public schooling cannot meet the needs of every person. That is a fact. Parents make a choice and sacrifice for kids-it is worth it to research and visit your child's school rooms!
I disagree completely about the principal (Mrs. Hartzler) being such a wonderful principal, although she may know every child's name, she is a very cold woman and belongs in corporate business, not working with children and their families. As I see it, she is really the biggest problem, though I am in agreement with the other two parents about the school's total lack of necessary improvement towards the quality of the school system. Though there are quality teachers and staff employed at the school, the aforementioned factors have made the entire experience with Roland Story an absolute disappointment.
Our experience has been dissapointing. I agree that the test scores are great, and most of the staff has been tolerant and kind. However, I feel that there is so much more that the school could be doing to improve, and aren't.