I have had 4 children attend Crissman Elementary and I can honestly say I have been nothing short of impressed. Sure, there a a few mediocre teachers, but realistically that occurs in all professions and work places. Class size was large in recent years primarily due to state funding; however, this past year, teaching staff was added to two grades where the ratios were high. But as a whole, everyone is very caring and the school is run effectively. The teachers honestly care about your children and treat them like people as well as students (it is not just a job to them). Any issues that came up with my children were dealt with quickly and effectively by teaching staff. The leadership and teaching staff are committed to a "parent partnership" and I am often overwhelmed with the amount of parent involvement that takes place at this school. There are numerous events where almost every parent attends. I have had two major interactions regarding my children with the principal, Ms. Fiema. Both times, my concerns were handled appropriately and the problems were solved. I highly recommend this school.
There is so much to say about the horrific years my child has had here. Everyone I have dealt with at Crissman, from the teachers, to the principal, to the PTO, to the office staff, to the SACC teacher seems to be bothered if you dare ask a question, except for Rose (not Rosemary) in the office. There is a serious bullying problem at Crissman, and the principal does not handle these situations properly. She is definitely the kind to sweep it under the rug instead of dealing with it at the time. The teachers are all women, save for one man. If your child is a boy, watch out! There will be no understanding of the vast differences between boys and girls in the classroom. As punishment, you will see that recess is regularly taken away and then your child gets blamed for having too much energy. I ve actually had a teacher tell me, I didn t have time to deal with that because I had a lesson and 33 other children to teach. Please do your homework. There are several other schools in the area (Duncan, Beacon Tree, Beck) that would be happy to take your child and provide a safe and comfortable learning environment. I m just happy we made it out and will now be on to Malow next year.
So nice to see that Governor Snyder has passed an Anti-Bullying law for our schools. Now Crissman's principal has no choice but to address the issue.
Our child was a new student to this school in the middle of the year. He was verbally harassed numerous times to the point of physical sickness. The principal is quick to talk about her prevention on bullying but offers no real help when in the middle of it. The teacher offered no help whatsoever on this matter. Once our son left the school, the bullying continued on through cyberspace and social networking, again the principal seeing no real reason she needed to get involved. Actually stating "I can't play the parent". This school is certainly not one of Utica's finest.
Before allowing your child to attend Crissman, I strongly suggest that you do a bit of research into the "stereotype" methods experimented with by a terrific teacher from Iowa named Jane Elliott. (John Stossel did a great story on her work.) This terrific leader and teacher showed how simple it was to change a student's behavior by telling them that they were not as good as other kids in her class. (The brown eyed/blue eyed experiments.) Sadly, Crissman has a 3rd Grade teacher who has been doing this for well over 20 years. Mrs. Elliott experimented for 2 days and at the end the kids knew that she not serious, whereas this 3rd Grade teacher does it every day of the year and is terribly mean in doing it! AVOID her at all costs!! On a positive not, the new Principal seems to be improving the school, finally, but there is a long way to go until Crissman is even average compared to the other fine schools nearby in the district.
Crissman had many changes this summer. A new principal, new administrative assistant, and new programs. There have been some growing pains, but everyone is working together to adjust to the changes.
Most of the faculty members are highly motivated, friendly and helpful. There are also lots of parent volunteers that make this school great. Highly recommend this school.
Our son is now at Malow. He attended Crissman for 1-6. Our daughter attended Beck from K-5 and Crissman in 6th. Beck was WONDERFUL! Now that Crissman is behind us, we are VERY sad to say that other than a very good 2nd grade teacher (Mrs O'Donnell), all others that our son experienced at Crissman were mediocre to poor -- this ranged from teachers obviously addicted to sustances (later on 'medical' leave and moved elsewhere) to a teacher who terrorized every boy in her class... and likely still does today. On top of that, the Principal (who THANKFULLY) recently retired was also fairly impossible to go to for REAL HELP... although if one wanted pretent help and smiles, she was the best! Further, most of her teachers seem to have been chosen and directed in her image. The new Principal has her hands dull here and her job cannot be easy.
Crissman is mediocre to poor because the Principal does not seem to listen to the concern of parents. A real shame!
I love Crissman because the staff is dedicated to making kids be the best that they can be. No job is too big or too small for the Crissman staff.
We have had many years experience with Crissman Elementary and it has become almost family. I can't say enough great things about this school. The staff and students both are outstanding!!!!
Unfortunately the poor quality of teaching continues at Crissman. It is though a natural progression from the top, as the principal is more worried about appearance rather than results.
I have 2 students at Crissman. I am dumbfounded by what I've read below, as I have had nothing but wonderful experiences re' my kids' education, teachers, staff & principal. I concur that large classrooms are not ideal (& fyi are not the norm at Crissman; it's 1 grade level), but this is a State funding crisis issue, as Utica has made SEVERAL cuts and is running extremely lean. I also feel the majority of teachers care incredibly, to the point they've been proactive in bringing concerns to MY attention, are prompt to respond to my concerns, etc. B-ribbon is a point of pride that cannot be eaned without the students! Finally, I also have a lively son. I simply expect him to expend his energy approrpriately & if he's disruptive in school, I would hope they'd teach him consequences. I strongly feel this school is valuable to my childrens' future.
The staff seems to forget what it means to be a child. Specifically, what it is like to be a rambunctious, active, energetic boy. The school is dominated by women staff memebers whom don't seem to have the patience or understanding of a little boys characteristics. The academics are fine, and the children excel. It's the personality and understanding that is lacking.
Recently my 6th grade daughter was very sick. Crissman Elementary Schools, Principal, Secretary's, Teachers, Parents and Students came forward and made a very rough time for my family alot easier. We had calls, visits, cards, and hugs offered every day. Not a day went by that we as family did not feel the concern and love of everyone at the school. Mrs. Pesha the Principal, Riina and Rose, all made sure there was nothing we needed. They also made sure our 4th grader was doing ok with everything going on. We will always be Thankful for them and Mrs. Sheehan and Mr. B. for their love and concern. I do not know who could ever see anything else at Crissman, but, high levels of Leadership, Education, and concern for every student at that school. I am a parent who would not want my children to go anywhere else.
We are new to the school, and it has been a good transition. My children's placement seems a good match to their teachers. Today the school day is so packed and there is a a lot to cover, but the teachers seem skilled, and principal very good here at Crissman.
After 3 years as Crissman, it has been a poor experience for our kids. We pay a lot in taxes for an administration that is unresponsive.
We went to the 5th Grade music presentation the other night at Crissman. It was a very nice event organized by a teacher who seems to care. However, the problems at Crissman were on full display. Each class has 32 or more students, and the principal did not bother to attend the event. It might be nice next year if Utica Cchools spent money on another 6th grade teacher, and less on the administration and long-tenured teachers that do not seem to care much about our kids. The current financial crisis is impacting Utica Schools, and our children are suffering with large class sizes.
Crissman is in a wonderful location nestled inside a pleasant neighborhood. Unfortunately, this is its' best feature. The leadership seems to just be passing time. We have 3 kids, and so far a few of the teachers have been good or great, a few have been just ok, and a few have been very poor. Overall, our tax dollars have not been well spent at Crissman.
This school is a bit like a 1980 Chevrolet Malibu. No matter where you stand, there is no angle where it looks great... or even good. The leadership is poor, the teacher quality is mixed (at best), and the extracurriculars are almost non-existant.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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