My child attended Brackett for two years. Both years were difficult and somewhat stressful. The school is well run, the arts are well represented and the academics are good. However, if you have a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or some other documented learning or developmental disability be warned that your child may be denied support services which they in fact need to succeed and be happy here. For two years we received complaints that our kindergartner then first grader fidgeted, lacked self-control and displayed inappropriate behaviors in the classroom. Twice we tried to get accommodations for our child to help them focus and despite a documented neurological disability we were denied the accommodations our child needed. We learned the hard way that this school and district have a terrible reputation for denying special education and/or 504 accommodations to its students. If you have a neurotypical child of average or better intelligence, this is a great school. If your child deviates from this norm beware. I cannot speak of the SPED program because while needed we weren't ever going to be granted access to it.
Some of you crunchies may think test scores are either useless or meaningless, reality of life is that what makes the world go round. Like bashing someone in Harvard that got a perfect SAT score and bashing Harvard for not seeing the whole picture. My neighbor's kid got a perfect MCAS test score and got a perfect Math SAT score. He now is just finishing his 4 years in a school in NH with 90% academic scholarship. Can't argue with reality. Also, homes in Brackett sell on average for 20% more than other districts for the same sized house.
It's all about the MCAS at Brackett. The kindergarteners and first graders race through a dizzying number of work centers under a false presumption that this how children of age 5 and 6 learn. This despite countless studies that show that children at these young ages learn thru play and develop reading skills at their own pace. To see them so pushed is really sad. The teacher student ratio is high and apparently may get only worse. To advertise themselves as offering a true half day kindergarten is disingenuous at best. The way the half day is structured is such that nearly no one chooses it. It is not a real option but it could be,...the full day kindergarten is $3k. Yes, $3k. A mean spiritedness pervades a couple of the grade levels and while that may happen anywhere it doesn't help that the kids are not well monitored outside. The school administration and principal seem ok but I have not had much interaction so have not much input there. The school building is relatively new and well situated as it is across from Robbins Park. This may be the best aspect of the school. Just remember that MCAS scores do not tell a whole story. We will not be back next year.
Brackett is an excellent school. Our son has learned alot here and made many good friends, while receiving academically strong and creative learning opportunities. The parents are very involved with PTO and enrichment activities.
The Brackett school is the class of Arlington. If you want your child to get the best education in Arlington. Send him/her to the Brackett. The educators there are the best I have ever dealt with. The new Principal is a bit strange but that might be because she's new to the job. The parents are very hands on helping to run quite a few programs. That were cut due to the lack of funds.