Our son went here for K and 1st, and now our daughter in 1st and son in 2nd. The families of the kids that go here are great -- which means good peers. I think that's half the battle in picking a good school.
The other, is whether the principal cares about the school and the kids and advocates for the kids. Mr. D, the principal is amazing and really cares for the well being of the kids.
We've been fortunate to have great teachers for our kids. Actually amazing teachers. I've heard of some there were so so, so I can't say all teachers are the same (of course).
Administrators are what you expect for the school - some awesome and friendly, some trying to just make it through the day.
I noticed all schools these days assign tons of homework.. but lack attention in the classroom to ensure each child understands everything learned.. I tutored in Howard County and noticed the same things. So be ready to supplement as needed if you're a parent. Don't blame the teachers if your child didn't "get" a topic from class.
I highly recommend you attend especially for Elementary since we're in it!
You can't escape the fact that this is part of the Baltimore City School System. The administration is purposefully opaque in all their dealings, just like North Avenue.If your child has a disability, they will try to con you out of accommodations. Don't trust them. Get an advocate
I attended RPEMS from kindergarten through the beginning of seventh grade. My experiences in elementary school here were almost entirely good ones, but for an inevitable few bad teachers. However, once I began middle school (I was in the Ingenuity Program), everything went downhill. There was a definite sense of elitism amongst the students, and for many students their self-esteem was based almost entirely on their grades. For math, each class was divided into two groups, the "fast" and the "slow" learners. Having these more personalised classes could have been quite beneficial, but because the children are taught that intelligence/gpa is their sole source of value, being placed in the "slow" class was very damaging to many students (myself included). This also created a more intense atmosphere of competition, because if a student did well enough in the "slow" class they could be promoted to the "fast" class. The rest of the classes were awful. I think the teachers did their best, but with so many students it had to have been difficult. Rather than teaching more difficult topics (as one would expect in an advanced program), the teachers merely assigned more classwork and homework on simple topics. This caused a lot of stress for many students, because it was impossible to get good grades without spending nearly all your free time working on homework (even if you understood the topic). I remember having an average of three hours of homework a day in seventh grade. Many students in my class that year dropped out (including myself) due to anxiety & depression caused by stress- CHILDREN were cutting themselves because the Ingenuity Program taught them that they have no worth beyond a number on a paper. Protect your children's mental and emotional health- do not send them here for middle school.
When we first entered Roland Park Elementary School in 2003, it was a moderate-sized academically challenging neighborhood school. Our kids were happy and we felt blessed to have found one of the only decent schools in Baltimore City. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said 10 years later. In fact, we pulled our last child from Roland Park after 5th grade and transfered to private school. Through a combination of over-crowding, decline in academic rigor, poor school management on the part of Baltimore City Public Schools, terrible curriculum changes, and declining facilities, this school has had a fundamental negative shift during our 10 years of attendance. Teacher morale is low (I'm a former employee as well) and student behavior is intolerable (by my standards, which admittedly are high). Many great teachers continue to struggle on and do the best they can - my hats are off to them, as they are the one bright spot in this once great school.
We moved to Baltimore February, 2014 and have had such a poor experience at Roland Park that our child now attends a private school in Baltimore City. We moved from New England and have always attended public school as a matter of fast I sat on the School Board in our town suffice to say we believed in public education. We moved to the neighborhood for the school and understood there will be an adjustment period for our son but he lost interest in going to school, felt no teacher connection, found it difficult to make friends, and never ate lunch. We expressed our concerns to teachers and vice principal and our emails were never returned. The delay in getting us into the parent portal and their online classroom parent communication system caused us to miss school events, extra curricular activities and even a day that our child was dismissed half day and no one from the front office called me (stay at home Mom) to tell me my child was sitting on the steps for hours in the afternoon. No accommodation for transferring midyear. No buddy family and no classroom buddy. Goodbye Roland Park, I am sorry we wasted my son's second half of third grade was a shame to say the least.
I attended Roland Park School K-8 50+ years ago and received a wonderful education. I've gone on to earn two graduate degrees (MSW and JD) based on this firm foundation. Lots of good memories. Thanks to all the teachers, now passed on, who educated me so well - I still remember their names. - Don Hope