October 21, 2015
My child is in his second year at Thomas Stone. I cringe reading some of these reviews -- and not just for the awful grammar. (When someone says a school is terrible and then he can't get the English basics right in his comment, does that prove him right or wrong?)
My son is one of the 7% of white kids in the school and when we were first considering where to send him, I worried that being in such a tiny minority would be isolating for him. Thus far, it hasn't been. His crush is African American, his best friend in class is Latino, and so on. The school seems to make a real effort to have the kids treat their different backgrounds with respect, and the kids really seem to.
As with any institution created and staffed by human beings, there are some staff members who’ve been rude on some days, some teachers who seem burnt out, and so on. But by and large we’ve been impressed by the administrators, teachers, staff, and paraprofessionals who work at Thomas Stone. Far from ‘working for a paycheck,’ they know the kids’ names, care about the kids’ success, work to engage parents, etc. The principal holds a monthly chat for any parent who wants to talk about his/her concerns or ideas. At one I attended last year, a parent made a suggestion that was then implemented almost immediately.
A lot of the kids in my son’s class are whip smart and their parents are active participants in their education so if I had to guess why the school is ranked 1 out of 10, I'd guess it’s due to the impact on test scores of the large English-as-a-second-language immigrant population. (And truly, if Donald Trump has your vote for president, this school is not for you. Many of the parents speak no English and all of the materials are sent home in both English and Spanish.) But we have never felt like our son wasn't getting individualized attention. So I would urge you, before judging a school by its test scores, get in and talk to the principal, observe the classrooms.
In fact, nearly all of the concerns I have about my son’s education have little to do with Thomas Stone or even PGCPS and a lot to do with the national shift in education policy priorities away from unstructured free play to shorter recesses and mandatory testing. And none of that is going to change if people like me abandon quality public schools just because Congress has its head up its ass.
- submitted by a parent