The Principal lacks leadership and vision. I am shocked that MCPS parents have allowed her to coast in neutral for such a long time. The Principal needs to be the person steering the ship. The ship, of course, is the educational system, and the direction is as important as the ship. There are bad captains and floundering ships. Every trip needs to have a plan, or you can get lost and have an unproductive trip. Well-made plans ensure the best trips and provide time for handling unforeseen obstacles. A clear vision for the school -- and a plan to achieve that vision -- is the most important quality in a Principal. It's called leadership.
What we have at NCC is a Principal with no vision, no plan, and a floundering ship going in the wrong direction. She is coasting on the past success of the school. I will say the Principal is always pleasant and accessible. She patiently listens to many parent complaints, but doesn’t do a darn thing about it. Since she has no vision and perhaps no one has modeled it for her, then I guess she simply doesn't know what it looks like.
Talent spotting is not her strong point. She has made bad new hires, and failed to put the right teachers in the right roles. In the face of constructive criticism, parents are met with some standard lines from the Principal, like “Oh, I so appreciate you, thank you for bringing this to my attention.” I suspect she doesn’t even investigate the complaints, but one thing is for sure, she does not take any action to improve the situation. It’s her job to see that everyone is working to improve continuously, but unfortunately, since she’s coasting, bad teachers are also allowed to coast despite parent complaints.
The only reason why I'm rating NCC with 4 stars is because despite the Principal, NCC has
(1) some truly strong and dedicated teachers who pride themselves in excellence, and make a real difference for the kids in their class;
(2) some wonderful programs that pre-date the Principal run by parent volunteers ; and
(3) a dedicated group of parents on the PTA who work tirelessly to enrich the experience of all students at the school.
NCC unfortunately suffers from poor administration. The school has all the ingredients to be one of the best in montgomery county: amazing students, good teachers, involved families, but is a disorganized mess in the principal and guidance offices. New teachers are not sufficiently prepped for the school year, children are often placed in sections not consistent with their performance, and parents concerns (often voiced) are routinely disregarded. Excuses from the administration for the above range from being overworked and understaffed, to "the unexpected" arising. The lack of accountability and responsibility can be amusing were it not alarming. Despite the administration's shortcomings, NCC will continue to perform simply because of the caliber of students and the parents willingness to teach and enrich their kids outside of school hours. Under better, organized administration, NCC could be on par with the other schools in its cluster. Right now it is a three year black hole that is a detriment to our kids education.
North Chevy Chase is like a private public school. The teachers are fabulous and all three of our children have had a wonderful experience and received a top-notch education there. It feels more like a family than a public school. Many parents are involved and the principal is great. I can't recommend it highly enough.
This is our first year at NCC and so far our experience has been extremely positive, the environment is very calm and focused, both my children and performing well above grade level and support by their respective teachers. It has a small school feel. The teachers we have are extremely involved and supportive of all their kids, both my kids look forward to each day and these teachers are really helping reinforce a love of learning, the principal seems to run a very tight ship.
My child has had a very positive experience at NCC. The teachers and principal are involved and confident in their abilities and in the abilities of the kids. The school feels calm, relaxed, and in control when I'm there. The staff and teachers have always been friendly and available to me. This school has a good culture and is a good environment for learning.
My daughter goes to this school and loves it, especially the after-school program called 'Wonders.' The caregivers are so loving and wholesome. She loves the picnics and the activities, like painting, kickball, mulberry bush picking, and climbing. The fact that 'Wonders' is in the school building gives me great piece of mind so I don't have to worry about her safety. I just come pick her up after work and she's already had her homework done and ready to go home!