Marble Elementary School is fine. It's safe, most parents and kids are happy, and teachers try hard. Negatives: It's not academically rigorous with a goal of reaching minimum standards. Principal turnover is high, and teachers--who are almost all amazingly dedicated educators--are challenged by large class sizes, small classrooms, rotating leadership, and classroom management challenges. Pros: Families are actively involved and there is a deep community feeling. Heavy emphasis on getting along/being friendly. Talented and dedicated teachers trying their best. Children are generally happy and lots of families who really LOVE Marble for its supportive social environment.
The teachers are visibly trying their best to teach the students they have, with what support they have. Morale seems low, as class sizes continue to grow, ongoing contract uncertainty, rotating door in the principals office, and classroom management issues take up a lot of energy. Given adequate resources and flexibility for teachers to teach to their definite abilities, Marble Elementary School could really be a special learning place.
Academic expectations are not high. Focus is on getting students to minimum requirements. Persistence is learned by struggling students (maybe) but for average (or above-average in ability) learners, the expectations are not high enough to teach persistence. Little attempts at innovation or creativity, with overemphasis on testing. PE is a notable exception: VERY innovative teaching in this area.
Very strong emphasis on social aspects of school: anti-bullying efforts, being friends with all other students, community, families all know each other, etc. The social worker is dedicated, kind, and does amazing things with clearly not enough resources for the growing population of students with needs of various kinds. Very community oriented.
We are considering moving into another district a Marble seems to be going back further to the 19th century in terms of lowering expectations for students, increasing boring repetitive worksheet curriculum and doing away with project learning and field trips, and increasing class sizes. Fundraising, sports and behavior take priority over academics. The principal is always in a hurry and not parent friendly.
Marble is a good school because it has mainly well cared-for, prepared kids with educated parents. The school doesn't push the kids academically, however, and class sizes have been growing. I do admire the zero bullying tolerance, it sets the kids up for high behavior expectations that will make learning easier in the higher grades. I agree that the school could be a lot more innovative in learning approaches, especially integrating music and art more into the curriculum.
I am very happy with Marble School this 2009-2010 school year. The principal is very friendly and has great credentials. I'm not fond of the rigid lunch rules that are now being applied but if that is the worst thing that happens, I can live with it. As the parent of a girl, I can say that I'm very tired of all the emphasis that is put on the girls getting along and now the girls have to sit with the social worker at the school to talk about 'being friends with everyone.' Boys do things sometimes that mimic some of this behavior but it is okay because it is on the sports field. I have seen the girls at Marble have a wonderful time together and I am very proud my daughter is friends with many different girls. This anti-bullying msg. is important but they are overdoing it.
Marble is a nice school with a friendly environment. The kids and parents are wonderful the teachers and administration are welcoming. However there are very low academic expectations. There is nothing in place for children who are excelling and need further challenges. I would also argue that the curriculum is not challenging for most kids. We found that continuing to approach the teachers and principal about this resulted in nothing of substance to the academic environment. We do not plan to continue in East Lansing schools for this reason.