This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Northside Elementary School5
Posted October 26, 2014
- a parent
Yes, this is a totally new school compared to last year, with all new principal, , new "collaborative" desks, and most impressed with all the newly hired teachers, many from other Ann Arbor schools, that were hired for their ability to teach a project based curriculum. We have three children ages 7, 9 and 11 who we moved to this school last month from another A2 school. Saturday night my 6th grader said "I can't wait to go back to school. I can't believe it. I love it." While he has always done well, they love the project based approach and each kid gets an Apple Ipad to use in school. He loves his Ipad, too. The teachers are psyched about this new approach to teaching. All the kids are enjoying school so much. Thank you Dr. Swift, our A2 superintendent, for creating such a fresh and enjoyable place to learn and thrive. The principal Joan Fitzgibbons is awesome and down to earth.
Starting for 2014-15 school year Northside has become the Ann Arbor STEAM school. Enrollment at this school has tripled. All the previous teachers were relocated and and whole new staff was hired, including the wonderful principle. The interior of the school has been renovated, new chairs and desk and iPad airs for every student. The community of parents has been great so far. It's a school filled with parents that take an active role in their child's education and school environment. This is by far now the best elementary school on Ann Arbor and I couldn't be more pleased!!
Northside has been a very nice place for my three kids, they all have special needs and the staff has done a wonderful job with them, as parents we do stay very involved with their education, it makes a difference when teachers know you are also involved with them to bring out the best in your child.
Ann Arbor Schools are some of the best in the state, and Northside is pretty typical. It does have some of the highest diversity of Ann Arbor schools, since many University of Michigan Grad students - from around the world - send their kids here. Both of our kids have gone to Northside, and they've had a great experience. Our oldest is now at Clague Middle School, and getting all 'A's, so her preparation for middle school was excellent. The teachers always greet us, the principal is experienced, involved, and approachable. While many parents are actively involved, we often have families who don't like the diversity and don't get involved at the school. The only problem we've found is discipline problems in some classrooms and sometimes at lunch, and staff turnover. These are problems at all elementaries.
We will be transferring to Logan Elementary next fall. My daughter was one of 51 kids in her class. There are two teachers but I feel that the kids are left to figure things out on their own a lot. I also have a lot of safety concerns with Northside. there is no fence around the playground which is right next to a parking lot. On the other side of the playground is a public restroom. I've seen kids leave the playground during recess go into the parking lot and get in a car. (I'm assuming it was her parent) she sat and talked for a while and then ran back and got in line when it was time to go it, without any staff noticing. If they did they didn't care. I've also seen high school age kids cut through the playground during recess without being stopped.
The general feeling of Northside is a rather unwelcoming, gloomy environment. Teachers rarely greet parents, no art is displayed for the children, bulletin boards are bare and rarely does the staff attend any of the family events. The lunchroom supervisors seem inexperienced and lax. We pulled our son out of Northside after the first year. We felt he never received the extra help he needed in mathematics and fell through the cracks. His classroom was overcrowded and he did not seem to flourish. His teacher seemed very standoffish and a stickler for discipline. I felt very uneasy dropping him in the morning and wondering what other issue would crop up by the afternoon.
While some older reviews complain of spotty teacher quality and an uninterested principal, this is clearly not the case any more. The PTO is active and very involved. The current principal also regularly demonstrates her commitment to the children's success.