At McDevitt, some of the issues I observed were:
- staff who don'tunderstand the importance of parent-teacher communication. no effort to use translation and interpretation services for non-English speaking parents. I heard two teachers say they "never" contact parents; one said it with pride.
- Two math teachers and a science teacher are "screamers."
- illegal treatment of students with special needs. This year there is a large group of Resource Room students—SEVERE emotional disturbances /behavior disorders. It is against the law to have no aide. Nine people have held this Resource Room position in 8 years.
- one general ed class had--I'm not joking--21 students with special needs. Too often, kids are put into SPED when the truth is that they have just fallen behind; they don’t have disabilities.
- in S.S., students just memorize facts and color maps. no higher order thinking, understanding culture and history.
- students take mid-terms and finals, with up to 100 multiple choice questions. Too many questions test rote memory, not true understanding. These tests are extremely successful for the school’s large special needs population.
-the aids just have high school diplomas. One aid is a woman who is not fluent in reading or writing English.
What's missing in this district is any sort of plan for addressing students' emotional, behavior, and academic needs, K-12. It boggles my mind that there is no social/emotional coping skills curriculum, mentoring program, anti-bullying programs, interventions to address a student population that has extremely low academic skills and engagement. There are plenty of research based programs out there.
Response to Intervention and the use of tutoring would prevent many students from being misidentified as having a disability. An intensive effort to get parents involved, starting in elementary school, could make a tremendous difference. Now working at a different school, I feel even more sad about Waltham's students. Fifth graders in a good district are more academically skilled than eighth graders in Waltham. I hope one day that the district gets an administrator is a true visionary who can bring about real change.
I honestly had a terrible time at mcdevitt because of strict unorginized teachers who make it hard to learn anything and bullies that annoying the living heck out of you and that destroy your social life and not to mention that none of the teacher do anything to stop the bullying,if you are looking to have a unproductive 3 years of your life go to mcdevitt middle school.
The faculty I've encountered are enthusiastic and child-focused. they are very willing to take extra time to help a child. Staff are supportive and work very hard to help kids adjust and not feel left out.
I'm a student at McDevitt, and it's one of the best schools ever. You learn so much while having fun with friends. You would have to be living under a rock if you ever said you didn't like it there. That place builds character in everyone.