I have read the negative reviews and I really think these parents are not informed. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher, or maybe I just also spend anytime I can volunteering at this school, but I think the school is great. The mention of 20 minute lessons is particularly confusing. Occasionally only 20 minutes of work in handwriting or spelling is necessary, but most lessons (math, science, reading) are in 50 - 60 minute blocks. I've observed this myself, and it's been confirmed by teachers and my own children. During that time, they do different things- maybe go over homework from the night before, use manipulatives, and then look into the lesson further and prepare for homework. This is reasonable and I hope no school expects children in elementary school to one thing for a straight hour with no differential instruction. I find the class sizes fair, especially for public school, and that's a county and state budget decision anyway. The teachers, even part time teachers in library and art, know my children's names and can answer any questions I pose about grades or behavior. My children (who are average in many areas and one has an learning disability) have never needed a tutor, and I only know one parent who hired a tutor and she was happy to do so. I am very impressed and would never move or transfer my kids. There are tons of extra-curricular activities (considering it's only elementary school), and the school lets the community use their fields for local recreational sports. The PTA is very active and just built a beautiful new playground. The teachers are wonderful (I rarely request because they are all so fantastic), administration is very quick to act if there is a safety concern or something that can be improved, and they have struck the perfect balance between academic rigor and lots of fun/special events. I'm impressed- keep up the good work!
My son got a new teacher this year and even she is great, pleasant, kind, patient, and a phenomenal teacher all around. She really cares about each child and you can tell. It shows. (Ms. Morrow) Is everything I want all of my son's teachers to be. She teaches 2nd grade. Ask for her next year if you have a first grader. I love all of her ideas for dealing with emotions in the class room. She has a cool off jar where if you're mad or sad you pick out an ice cube to help you "cool off" and do what it says on it. It's adorable and works. Great school as well, the fact that in her first year she is so impressive says a lot to me about the hiring process and school in itself.
I have three kids currently enrolled in this school. It is a fabulous school; my kids love going to school, the teachers challenge students with advanced lessons yet are very approachable and open to unique solutions to my child's classroom behavior. There are many opportunities to volunteer as a parent, we love POES!
I have two children enrolled in Piney Orchard this year and could not be happier with their teachers. I like how the teachers communicate with me frequently through written notes and emails. There is a lot of homework to do, but I appreciate that my children are being challenged and the work, for the most part, appears to match their skills and abilities yet pushes them a bit in terms of stretching their thinking. The women in the office seem alright, although I haven't really interacted with them very much.
The negative reviews are accurate. The children are rushed through the day in a series of 20 minute "lessons"with no teaching done at all. Children go completely unnoticed if they aren't top 2%. The teachers cannot explain the grades given because they don't know your children. In order for your child to learn you will need to teach them at home or obtain tutors, which most parents are doing. The teachers are mediocre and cruise since the parents are doing all the work. Although the student population is diverse, there is a noticeable lack of diversity in the staff outside of one white male music teacher every staff member is a white female. The relationship between the staff diversity and the achievement gap of the schools minority and male students is evident as this children are ignored and are not given opportunities to participate in the limited extracurricular activities/clubs. It took me a few years to see the issues because it is in a great middle class community, after spending time at other schools in the county I realized this school is doing a disservice to its students. Class size is 25-30 per class with one TA in each grade alternating between 4-5 classes monthly.
Our son will be going to Piney Orchard in the fall and the staff has been great in terms of going through the process to get him registered. If this is the way they run the school, I'm sure it will be a superb environment. Everyone is polite, professional and organized. I like the way this is going.
Overcrowded, larger than normal class sizes, and teachers/faculty that just seem to be doing a job. No ownership of their roles of educating our youth. Very disappointed in this school. Looking forward to the ability to move out of the enrollment zone of this school. Looked great on paper, but does not live up to the hype.
I have been following this school for years as my daughters were enrolled here since kindergarten. Pleased to see the ratings start to reflect the change in administration as I have seen and felt the difference and was concerned it was only myself.
Piney Orchard Elementary School is a topnotch school. The teachers and staff are committed, dedicated professionals. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the school community, whether it be by volunteering at home or in the classroom, joining and being involved in the PTA, or attending school events. The school has been recognized by the State of Maryland for excellence in gifted and talented education. All students receive increased opportunities for advanced instruction in both math and language arts. The cultural arts classes are engaging, and the instrumental and choral programs are incredible. Being located so close to a military base, it is understandable that the student population changes throughout the school year. We are thrilled that our children have had the opportunity to attend such a fantastic elementary school.
I am so glad that I am not the only person head over heels in love with this school. My son attended POE last year for the first time. We are military so I picked the location to live in based upon the reviews. If your child is not a "genius" they are very likely to be over looked. You must advocate for your child, ask questions, and stay on the teachers. His teacher recommended him to be placed in another "on level class" for next year, even though his reading Dibels score at the end of the year was double the requirement. Her reasoning was he needs to finish work in a more timely manner. I 'm not buying it. His teacher showed no genuine interest in my child, and had I not addressed my concerns he would have just been passed on by.. another child left behind. The office is not welcoming, The principal is almost none existent, field trips are done by lottery picking (so they say) and only 5 parents can go; you can't go to field day to be with your child unless you are volunteering, you are limited to eating lunch only on birthdays and can't bring younger siblings to any functions! For meet the teacher, or any other events, children are not allowed. Please proceed with caution