Far and above the worst school I have ever seen. The teachers aren't attentive to the children unless it's lunch time and they children are subjected to treatment on par with those of prisoners in texas. My children attended 2-4 grade here and only the 3rd grade teacher took the time to help the children learn anything beyond standardized testing. When children are gifted and learn quickly, rather than being encouraged, they are told to color or draw quietly until everyone else is done. When we asked about gifted education we were told the focus is on children who fall behind and they have no interest in children who are advanced. We came from an amazing school where my children loved to go every day and loved to learn. South Polk Elementary effectively killed that desire to learn. We also had an incident where a student threatened physical violence to my children and it was brushed off, they didn't even remove him from the bus she rode to school every day. They don't care if the children learn, they don't care if the children are safe. All they care about are LEAP tests.
The Pros: newly renovated - now has walls to separate the classes, nice principal and teacher, daily agenda so I know what my son does day-to-day. The Cons:The school counselor is inattentive, the "gym" is a joke, there is no art class, the curriculum is boring, my son's teacher is not considered "highly trained" because she doesn't have her masters degree, and very rare opportunities for parental involvement.
South Polk Elementary has been a wonderful school for our son. His teacher is fantastic, he comes home having learned so much each day, and his homework assignments are fun and effective. The staff has been wonderful and helpful, and I really could fill in an entire page of praises but I'll just say that we love this school and highly recommend it to any prospective parents in the area!
Some of teachers are nice, but the principal is arrogant and not in it for military children. The classrooms don't have walls, they are separated by curtains. That is very distracting to most children. They push the standardized test so hard the kids have no time to actually learn and remember anything.
We started the school year at Rosepine but moved our children due to the fact that Rosepine did not have books or desk in some of their classes. Compared to the other schools that we have talked to in this district the staff here is open and friendly. The childred seem to be happy for the most part and the staff seems to be happy. Seemingly small things but both of these are paramount and hard to find in this school district.
My son attended 3rd grade here. He hated it and so did I. The many of the teachers were rude and there were no walls between classes (not good for any child with concentration issues). There were constant problems with bullying. I volunteered for several events and saw boys punching other boys and barely getting a 'stop it' from the teachers. My child was left alone in the mornings after the bus dropped him off for up to twenty minutes at a time unsupervised waiting for school to start. My son always loved school before and was no stranger to moving around but hated this one. He cried every night and morning and would call crying from school b/c he hated it so much. We decided on private school for the next year.
My older child attended SPE 2nd to 4th grades, did very well there,and went on to do very well at a DoDDS school in GA without any problems in the transition. He is currently an honors/gifted student at LJHS. He has not suffered any ill effects by having attended South Polk Elementary, and has nothing but good memories of the school. My youngest child currently attends SPE and is also doing very well. Both children's teachers at SPE have been excellent, and I have found the administration to be very supportive and helpful to parents, especially to those parents who establish a relationship with their children's teachers, are involved in school activities, and who ensure that their children have what they need to succeed in school each day. Yes, the school does need some improvements, but does the quality of education really depend on how nice the chairs look?
First, I would like to say that the administration, ie Mr. Balthrop is the worst principal I have ever encountered. Parents, my son was in Mrs. Sysock's third grade class and let me tell you. Her room smelled like cat pee and the chairs were for 2 year olds. When I approached Mrs. Sysock about the matter she informed me that she was doing the best she could and that even her desk was broken. Parents!!! This is not a place we want to send our children. While I believe Mrs. Sysock was one of the best teachers at the school I feel that little or no assistants is being made to help these poor teachers. I hate South Polk!
After 2 kids going through this school I can definetly say that Army families need to do a major investigation into this school before sending their kids there. If at all possible I recommend home schooling or private school while posted at Fort Polk. The major problem is that there is no set standard between the teachers. It is completely hit or miss with whoever your kid gets. To compound matters the principal, Mr. Balthrop seems completely unrealistic with what families want for their kids at the school. The attitude is that Louisiana has a competitive educational system. This is simply not true. The education is ranked lowest in the nation and to make matters worse the school administrators do not want to admit that Army families are getting cheated out of their kid's education. When we move on to another posting our kids will be seriously disadvantaged.
I think that the teachers at South Polk are very caring individiuals who strive for the success of their students. Life skills are taught daily to help assure each student of their future possibilities, and there's a warmth about this school that causes children to be successful in their future endeavors.