The comments below about disorganization and lack of school culture have really been addressed with a new principal. There is a ton of emphasis on school spirit (my daughter regularly tells me "I'm a Kennedy Tiger!"). The teachers for the younger grades (K-2) are heavily engaged with parents and seem to love their jobs. The PTA is perhaps slightly obsessive, but that's a good thing. In 2016, there's a lot of curricular emphasis on mindfulness and self-regulation, which is perhaps trendy, but also really important for kids' development.
Of the Somerville schools in this general region, the facilities are also better than average. Lots of playground space (with good equipment), great library/media/computer center, pool, new "Maker Space" science lab.
There definitely are kids from a WIDE range of economic backgrounds here. I think that's a good thing. The Heritage Day assemblies are really vibrant. It does mean that field trips and other activities emphasize "what everyone can afford". But I don't see my child being deprived here.
Also, great after-school program. Variety of clubs/activities, with emphases on both learning and physical activity. Very reliable, always available during vacations and prof development days.
Our child is having a great experience at Kennedy - we love the teachers, strong academics and having so many other families that live right in the neighborhood. The new principal seems to be doing an excellent job - he communicates well, listens carefully to what parents say and acts on it.
I've had experience working at all the schools in Somerville and I am puzzled that this school rates higher than others in the district, and maybe most specifically puzzled that it rates higher than Argenziano...this is a perfect example of how test scores are not everything. There is a really interesting mix at this school of underprivileged kids and students who have caring parents/parents who are really helicopter parents. There is IMO quite a bit of bullying here. There is no (and I mean ZERO) emphasis on building school culture. I think problems are for the most part ignored until it is too late. The school is unorganized and the kids sense it. The principal is retiring which is sad as I think she is very smart...but I do not enjoy the culture of this building. There will be a lot of turnover next year. Will be interesting to see what develops, I think there will be a lot of shiny new beginning teachers, we'll see how the test scores fare. The two teachers mentioned in the two comments below are fabulous, and there are some really great people on the staff but they are not encouraged to work as a team.
My daughter is just finishing first grade in Ms Johnson's class and I am astounded at the progress she's made in reading and writing this year. At the start of the year Ms Johnson noticed my daughter was lagging behind her peers in her reading and provided extra help to her each week. My daughter initially found reading so challenging she said she would never be able to read and write like the other kids. Yet by the time of this writing, early May, she has progressed through reading levels A-H, and is ready for the next level. She now happily reads bedtime stories to her little brother and absolutely loves books. She also really enjoys writing little stories and making books of her own. She feels Ms Johnson really cares for her and she loves her school and especially the school library.
My daughter is in Mrs Scrima's kindergarten class. I have never known a teacher more dedicated and more loving and above all respectful of the children as Mrs Scrima. She came to visit our home in the summer to get acquainted with my daughter and make her feel excited about school. She stayed two hours, playing with the children and helping us parents with the multitude of school forms. At school in the morning Mrs Scrima stoops at child level and greets each child by shaking their hand and saying their name. The child is respected like any adult. Mrs Scrima emails us a weekly schedule of upcoming events so we don't miss anything. My daughter is absolutely thriving and loves her teacher. We are so very fortunate she has such an amazing school to start her education.