It is a sad truth! Great schools are consistent with their outcomes inspite of what challenges they encounter. I am not sure why the previous parent spoke about the challenges with non-English speaking parents, when the county and MCPS is so diverse and embraces families regardless of what language a family speaks. Let me share an experience about a parent not located in the Forest Knolls Community who had their child in the same Collaborative Preschool for the Orthopaedically hanidcapped. This parent had to withdrew their child as staff were verbally abusing their preschool child. As there is no representation or advocacy for SN that begins at the school, one would never know the challenges SN parents face at the school and those who leave the school for the same reason this parent transferred her child to another school in MCPS. It is heartbreaking to keep hearing these same stories through the years and to know the administration and some of these staff members who are known to do this are still present. Great schools, especially one that is inclusive for children with special needs should not have these occurrences.
My child is a special needs student at Forest Knolls. He has gone there since he was 3 in the Collaborative Preschool (for Orthopedically handicapped and their typical peers). He is doing great. We have found lots of support in and out of the classroom for him. We have not had to fight to get every service. We are offered the services he needs. The classroom sizes for K - 2 are small because the school receives Maryland Focus Funds to reduce the size of classes. Many of the students have non-English speaking parents and that creates challenges. But overall the kids are getting a great education and are learning about all different cultures. I don't know why the previous poster talked about lack for support for SN. There is a SN committee with the PTA and if no parents want to join it then that is the parent of SN parents who are falling down on the job. My kid is learning lots and he gets extra services for having a physical disability. We get lots of support at this school and I invite other parents to check out the school.
My daugther will be starting 5th grade this fall at Forest Knolls Elementary. This will be our sixth year at the school. I researched the school before buying our house and was quite impressed with the principal, the curriculum and the building. The school and its administration have not let me down in the past 5 years. Forest Knolls has an active parent community. We have a strong PTA that advocates for our children and does a wonderful job of programming for the school and community. We have raised over $10,000 the past few years with a Silent Auction and we are able to return that money to the school for new AP equipment, teacher supplies and my other items. The school assesses all children and groups them by ability for both math and reading. I find this very helpful for my daughter as the classroom is very diverse with ESOL and special needs children along with the Gifted and Talented. By placing students in smaller groups by ability children are able to get the extra attention they need from the teacher. I would highly recommend Forest Knolls to any family that is looking for a strong academic but diverse experience for their children.
Child Advocacy: FKS is a good school. In my opinion and experience a lot of the teachers are unable or unwilling to communicate effectively with parents. There seems to be a lot of passing the buck when it comes to the childs performance and behavior. As a parent I find myself being the one to initiate the talks about my childs progress and or lack there of. Teachers are more apt to contact you when there is a challenge then when there are victory's. As with any school you have to advocate for your child and remember that the teachers are being evaluated and watched by the administration and the administration by big brother. In other words things are not always as the staff presents them to be. Take the initiative to follow up and hold the staff accountable to their actions and choices. I feel strongly that leadership starts at the top. The prinicpal in my opinion is not approachable. When I walk my child into the school there is no greeting or acknowledgement from the prinicipal; may not teach the students but again it starts with leadership. Again FKS is good school and I have not had the pleasure of being in the presence of one of the "best" schools in MCPS.
Be aware of the parent reviewer who has an axe to grind. I can tell that the same unhappy reviewer has written on more than one occasion about the school. In my opinion, this is a wonderful gem of a school, located in a highly ethnically diverse neighborhood. The population contains a mix of single and dual income families with college professionals, tradesmen, and parents who have decided to take time off of outside work to raise children. The school emphasizes caring and excellence in academics. The teachers really are dedicated and work with parents to come up with solutions, when a student is encountering difficulty with a subject or socially. There is a high level of parent and community involvement in the school. I encourage those who have a problem with the school's policies to bring their concerns to the administration, and the PTA. Many issues have been tackled as a joint venture between parents, teachers and administrators. At a time when state and county budget cuts effect all programs, we should spend our energy assisting and lending our time and talent, rather than bashing the school in a public forum.
I am just getting back from Forest Knolls' annual "Good Night, Sleep Tight" event in which teachers come back to school and read books to the K-2nd grade kids in the evening. I was looking around at this room full of spellbound youngsters and teachers who'd been working all day, who were back in their evening costumes of pajamas, and I just felt lucky that my son goes to school here. The principal later got up and read "The Cat in the Hat" to the entire group, wearing a hat modeled after the one in the book. I felt grateful because the teachers are really so fantastic and enthusiastic (many of them moms with young kids of their own). The school community is active and engaged, with numerous events scheduled throughout the year. Our class sizes are tiny compared to some of the schools in the western part of the county. That really helps provide more personal interaction between teachers and students. If you need after-care for your kids, you really couldn't ask for a better situation than the Kids After Hours program run by an energetic dad who's had the job for many years. At any rate, FKES is a strong school.
Be cautious of the overinflated evaluations by zealous parents who have overrated Forest Knolls Elementary School. As the true ratings were modestly low, parents encouraged other parents to write evaluations to boost the school ratings. Don't get me wrong, Forest Knolls is a good school. As with any school there are excellent teachers and some mediocre teachers. Yes, there are teachers who "yell," at students and it seems as if this is tolerated by the administration. Then, there are exceptional teachers who are passionate about their jobs and really care about their students. I believe the excellent teachers and staff out number the few "bad lemons." The PTA is strong and the parent community is actively involved in numerous activities. Diversity is adequate. The administration is somewhat rigid and as one parent mentioned earlier, there is tracking.You must advocate for your child or else, they may be left to lag behind. The school is inclusive and has many support services to offer students who qualify for them. If the administration was less rigid and more genuine Forest Knolls Elementary school would be a great school.
In a word, Forest Knolls Elementary School is wonderful. Our son's teachers have all been highly committed, professional and talented, and hard working. We have been very impressed by the close attention that our son receives, both by teachers and the administration. They rapidly identified our son's reading deficit, developed an action plan, and the issue was quickly and effectively resolved. Doing so required close attention to detail, teamwork, and effective communication with us. Today, our son is a star reader. The PTA is very active, vibrant, and lively. Through a variety of PTA activities, such as International Night, after school activities, the book fair, and the silent auction, there is a genuine sense of a school community. Overall, we feel fortunate to have such a great school in our neighborhood.
The school excels at providing individualized instruction for student, meeting each student's needs. The school has a strong PTA, and offers a very welcoming environment for parents and community. There are many opportunities for parental involvement. The entire staff knows my sons' names, even if they were not actually my child's classroom teacher. I am always greeted with a warm welcome and all my questions and concerns are addressed in a timely manner by the classroom teachers, the administration and the specialists who work with my children. The school fosters a caring environment and the students seem empathetic to the needs of others. It is very diverse in terms of ethnicity. The school hosts the Occupational Health services for the area, so students of varying abilities work together in a co-educational environment. I do not feel that any group suffers from being placed in heterogeneous classroom settings (note: this is a State and County mandate and not particular to the school), if anything it fosters better understanding, cooperation and raises the overall expectations and standards for the classroom as a whole.
Great school. This is our fourth year at Forest Knolls and we are very satisfied with the teachers and the special support provided for advanced students such as above-grade math and reading (William & Mary Program). This year the PTA organized many after-school activities which added to the overall great school experience.
This is really a great school. Teachers and staff are friendly, and the teachers are very highly skilled. They do a great job of placing childred at the appropriate learning level given their skills. I also don't get the sense that the children are able to rate one another as far as who's in advanced placement settings, so they must be pulling it off without the kids feeling as though they are being "ranked" Teachers have also worked well with behavioral issues that have come up with my kids - nothing major, just having to tailor situations to ensure they are following rules, constantly challenged so they don't act up when they're done with the classwork, etc. I moved to this neighborhood from the Bethesda Chevy Chase district, and I like FKES better. It's smaller, the kids get to know each other better, and the teachers really know them. If you need before and after school care, Kids After Hours, which has their program on the school grounds is really great. Price is good for the area and the kids have a ton of fun. They never want to leave when I get there to pick them up.
Be prepared to FIGHT for your child at this school in order to get the education they deserve. The good stuff is there, but it will be a battle to achieve it for your kid. Also, it seems like there is tracking in the classes - so many of the high and lower performing kids grouped together in classes? It doesn't feel right. Hope that your kid gets placed in a "good" class.
The community is good, and many of the teaching staff are excellent. However, the current principal is not very child friendly. The atmosphere at the school has changed to allowing screaming at children by administrators and staff. Lunchtime is a particularly unpleasant to experience -- my children are afraid to talk at all. I am worried that excellent teachers may decide to leave the school.
Forest Knolls is a wonderful school with a strong and involved parent-teacher community. The teachers are talented and caring. After many, many years of a long-standing principal, there has been a lot of flux at the administrative level in recent years. But, that has had little to no impact on the classroom instruction. Hopefully the BoE will settle on a permanent administrative head for the school soon.
The community is wonderful. The teachers are highly qualified and have been an excellent resource for us. The administration seems genuinely interested in helping provide the tools which the teachers and students need to succeed. I feel welcome at the school. There is a very high level of parental involvement at the school. The school really feels like a community for our family.
I absolutely love this school. My son's experiences learned while at this school will serve him for years to come!
I have been very happy with the teachers, faculty, other parents, PTA and students of Forest Knolls ES. I have two children who attend there and when I recently moved, we stayed in this neighborhood just for the school.
The teachers are mostly wonderful and advocates for their students (there are a few duds in every school). However, the administration leaves much to be desired and hardly seems to care about the children. They seem more concerned about following rules and are mired in red tape.
Forest Knolls ES is truly a gem of a school in the down county. The PTA is extremely active with many eager and informed parents. It services children with OT needs and provides many resources other schools are not as fortuneate to have.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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