This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Cape St. Claire Elementary School1
Posted May 27, 2014
- a parent
My son's teacher called me to ask if I plan to send him to school on Friday. "Is it a holiday?" I asked. No, it's a field trip day and he won't be able to go because I had forgotten his permission slip. I asked if it would be an excused absence if I kept him at home. She said, "No, not without a note." Keep in mind my son has diagnosed ADHD (504 PLAN) and has issues with remembering to bring important papers home. Now, you may ask yourself as I did, "why did this teacher call to see if I would keep him at home?" I believe she wanted to make the point that because I had not checked his homework folder, he would suffer. Now, I've tried to give his teacher the benefit of the doubt. My son has diagnosed ADHD and frequently forgets important items. I often have to work evenings so I rely heavily on my care provider to check his folder. His teacher told me he tried to pay last week but he didn't have the permission slip. Why not let him pay and send an email or call me to inquire about the slip as she did to inquire about his attendance? This is a sad testament to the pettiness and caliber of people at this school.
Undoubtedly the greatest weaknesses at Cape Saint Claire Elementary School, which is none other than Mrs. Jinni Myers. She's an administrative secretary with the disposition of a bridge troll. For over 20 years now, this women has been allowed to work in a position that requires her to interact with the public. Mrs. Myers is brusque on her best day and extremely rude on most days... I've tried everything from being nice, even overly nice to being abrupt myself. She always seems to be bothered by even the simplest requests from parents. Mrs. Myers goes out of her way to make children and parents alike feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. Why she continues to be employed as the face of Cape Saint Claire Elementary School is at the very root of the school's problems... I mean if you don't like people, feel the need to be rude and generally perform poorly at your job; how do you keep it? Outside of this imaginary bubble we call Anne Arundel County employees; in the real world if you're terrible at your job, you typically get fired. Oh that's right... we don't need to try our best, just participating is enough!
Our experience with two children in this school over five years has been mixed. The school is in a supportive and tight-knit community and refreshingly free of the many terrible issues that plague urban and socio-economically challenged schools. The teachers are enthusiastic and pleasant, even committed for the most part. The administration seems fair and sincere. The education just isn't very good. After five long years and straight A's in the 'advanced' math classes, my daughter can barely perform long division or multiplication. Her homework is embarrassingly simple, instruction scattershot, and math comprehension dubious. We receive regular emails from her teachers full of errors of grammar and diction, so I'm more than a little skeptical about the quality of classroom instruction. Looking over her tests, homework, and materials returned by her teachers, she is at least a year, and possibly two years behind her counterparts in local private schools. It's sad that these kids, who aren't dumb, won't have the skill necessary to compete at at higher level later. If we had the funds, we'd transfer to a more rigorous school.
TERRIBLE ADMIN IN AN OTHERWISE GREAT SCHOOL I moved to this area because I heard how great the Broadneck schools are. For the most part, I like Cape Saint Claire Elementary. Most of the teachers are excellent but there are a couple of teachers who we all pray our kids won't get. The administration leaves something to be desired; the principal (Mrs Pergerson) seems to lack any sort of leadership skills and the assistant principal (Mrs Lorton) seems even worse. Imagine a 5 year old playing principal (but not really knowing how to do the job) and her friend just quietly nodding. Other parents and I are biding our time until they retire. The school counselors, however, are excellent and an asset to the school The school changed curriculum and I don't like it compared to the old but we'll see how the kids do. Part of me wonders if they are focusing on the Maryland State Assessments or on the overall well-rounded education of our children. The math homework my child brings home is extremely confusing for me so I don't know how she is supposed to understand it or I am supposed to explain it. Things are worded strangely and even with my strong background in math I can't help.
Most teachers are fantastic & energetic, but the administration is hopeless & lackluster. While pleasant enough, they sweep parental concerns under the rug for reasons of less-than-subtle self preservation. It is painfully obvious the top 2 administrators are biding time before retirement & don't want to make waves before. In particular, there is one 2nd grade teacher who should be removed entirely but neither the administration nor the supt's office wants to anything. I can't call her by name but she has a reputation among parents. She thinks she's a good teacher but is disorganized, rote & has major time management problems. My daughter says other teachers (gym, media center, etc.) often get annoyed by her tardiness. Children in her class have been shortchanged by not completing the same work as in other classes & many parents of students in her class feel the same. Another review mentioned the ladder system & I wonder about the children who get shortchanged by it though I feel it has nothing to do with socio-economic status. I like this school overall but it could use an administrative overhaul. Fortunately, parental involvement is very high & "green" programs are amazing.
My son's classes all have over 30 students in them. This is a 'ladder' style school where the best performing students are taught by different teachers than the regular ones. Strangely, the criteria seems to change each year, and the wealthy kids always seem to be somehow above the cut-off. I would love to see them make all their classes high achievement classes. Their current implementation seems to short change the majority of the kids. Perhaps even more annoying is the number of errors I see in the homework. The grammar in many of the math word problems looks like it was translated into chinese, then into korean, and finally back to english. When I review the math homework my son has done, I have to spend several minutes trying to figure out what they were attempting to ask. I realize the textbooks in use are forced upon the school by the various lobbies at work in our state; but that doesn't really matter. Bottom line is that the textbooks are worse than the ones I saw 30 years ago.
We have been extremely happy with our son's experiences at Cape St. Claire Elementary! The teachers care about their students, make every effort to meet their students' individual needs, appreciate parent support and help, and genuinely care about the children. With over 700 students in our school this year, it is an administrative monstrosity! Mrs. Pergerson (Principal) and Mrs. Lorton (Assistant Principal) are available, caring, and personal. Every school has areas in which it can improve; the Cape is no different; but I'd be hard-pressed to find a school I like better, or that my son likes better!