We LOVE Oak Ridge. We elected to go here vs our designated Royal Oak school because of the peanut-free policy but it turns out it's the best choice for us all around. The parents are really active and the huge majority of the teachers are supportive, kind and encouraging. We are really happy this is where our kids will grow up.
My daughter has been at Oakridge for 3 years now. The staff is wonderful and I have found the parents to be great as well. Book reports started in 2nd grade. I volunteer as much as possible and have not heard of or seen any bullying. The teachers do a great job motivating the kids and the children seem very eager to learn. The PTA is very active and the school has many family activities throughout the year.
I am very, very happy with Oak Ridge Elementary. Although the building isn't great and the class sizes are larger than I'd like, my children have flourished there. The teachers are wonderful and go out of their way to meet each child's individual needs. Further, the teachers are very professional and really care about the kids. The children adore the new principal and he seems to have gained respect quickly. The PTA is very active, as are parent volunteers, and there are lots of special programs, like the Polar Bear Dance and school picnic, that are fun and inexpensive. The recycling program, school garden, running club, and noonwalkers are ways parents have made a difference there. I am very impressed with this school.
There has been good and bad. My son started there mid 3rd grade and it was an awful switch. Since then that teacher has retired and there is a new principal who I think is great. Now in 5th my son struggles to keep up and the staff has been very helpful with extra tutoring and parent teacher communication. His teacher is great! My son does have monthly book reports and weekly homework. They are doing a heart dissection in science and have had exciting and educational field trips. I could see how a child falling behind or a child that needs more challenge could fall through the cracks but that's were, as a parent, we have to do our part too in order for our kids to succeed. Yes, there is bulling, but I don't think it's as bad as when he first started. Unfortunately kids are mean. They always have been, and kids get in fights sometimes. I think the school has improved in dealing with these issues. I will say the biggest negative to Royal Oak is there is no bus system. Huge disadvantage compared to Troy or Rochester who also have great schools. My daughter starts kindergarten next year and my son will be going to ROM. We are excited (and a little nervous).
I have also been very dissapointed with Oak Ridge. We have had excellent teachers, and extremely dismissive teachers. Having to teach yourself cursive is not something a child should have to do. My biggest problem is the curriculum. State mandated or not, I know the school less than 2 miles from there has a 5 star rating while ours stands at 3. When my child was a 5'th grader, the lack of what they included didn't in ANY way prepare them for middle school. There are NO book reports, NO essays, and only 2 pieces of homework that came home every week!! As far as I am concerned, they are in need of a MAJOR overhaul! Speaking with parents whose children attend other elementaries, Oak Ridge is FAR behind what those children are coming to ROMS with. Pitiful, pitiful. How are our children supposed to catch up from the HUGE lacking in teaching coming from Oak Ridge? No homework, no book reports, current events, etc. What ARE these kids learning here. The state's curriculum is not the only one to blame here. This elementary really needs to STEP IT UP.
I am very disappointed with Oakridge Elementary School. My grandchild started school and was very excited to be there. His spirit and his enthusiasum for school has been squelched. There have been several incidences that started from the first week of school and have continued throughout the year that I feel have been handled non-professionally. We have never had a problem with my grandchild anywhere else, everyone loves his zest for life and his personality. He has not been encouraged to expand his knowledge. There have been many inconsistencies as far as the rules from one child to another or from one day to the next. I have other grandchildren in the Troy school district and the difference is like night and day. I would not recommend Oakridge if your intention is for your child to excell in academics. They are definitely behind the times.
My oldest came from Mark Twain and my youngest started Oak Ridge this year. The first year there was a lot of, 'You're one of the Twain families.' as if it was some kind of blacksheep or scarlet letter taboo. But after that first year, everything calmed down and the odd comments ceased. We've had issues with a few teachers and with my spouse being a teacher, she can agree with me that many of the staff is long overdue for retirement. Many lack the energy or the ability to apply new manidated teaching methods. The secretary should be fired. Our first problem was we asked the secretary tell our eldest to go to latchkey, but she forgot and my child spent an hour crying on the front porch. Second time we were called that our eldest was pale and passed out only to find out she was out of breath.
My children and I came to this school in the middle of the year, from west MI. I felt so welcomed by the staff, but especially Mrs. Kaczkowski the secretary. She is the heart of the school and will support anyone with any need, in or out of school (like glasses for my daughter). My daughter has Mrs. Kazdan for 4th and she has been a really FUN and supportive teacher. We needed extra help with math and she came up with all kinds of fun ways to practice at home. I like that my children have access to Spanish and other extras, I think at this age they need the well rounded exposure, the school scores speak for themselves, effective teaching doesn't require repeated drilling. However, my kids tend to be very advanced in language arts and I'd like to see some ap options beyond reading. H. Hall
My daughter attended private school until she entered the 5th grade at Oak Ridge. The students and staff made her feel welcome. Her teachers did a fine job keeping me aware of her academic progress. They also did a great job in preparing her for the responsibilities of middle school.