We are out of district and applied to Pilot Knob open enrollment based on its STEM curriculum. After about a month of school, she started begging me to stay home. She was teased and bullied by kids in her classroom and pushed down on playground, leaving her with bloody knees. The behavior issues in her class were so out of control that she and her classmates often spent a good portion of their specials classes with their heads down on their desks. My child's teacher, as well as specials teachers, refused to let children go to the bathroom except during designated bathroom breaks. My child started to show signs of a urinary tract infection, prompting me to email her teacher, specials teachers, and the principal, regarding the bathroom policy. I never heard back from any of them.
Budget issues led Pilot Knob to hire a school counselor at a half time rate, meaning there isn't an appropriate outlet to handle behavior issues during half of the school week. Therefore, teachers are left to their own defenses, trying to control behaviors while also maintaining appropriate curriculum goals.
I also found safety issues to be a major concern. The school has a state of the art safety system, with front door locks as well as automatically locking classroom doors, in case of a lockdown. However, they do not ask for any identification when children are picked up from school early. Anyone can go into the school and sign a child out, and as long as the child willingly goes with the person, no questions would be asked. Volunteers within the school are also not required to undergo a background check or to show identification when they enter the school. You sign an ipad and have your picture taken and then the door is unlocked and you are free to enter the building. There is no system of checks and balances for who is working with young children, which is quite unsettling as a parent. The school parking lot is inadequately designed to accommodate buses, walkers, and car pickups, posing another danger.
We are happy to be leaving Pilot Knob behind and moving on to new school, with hopes that our daughter will thrive. We have been informed that if we wish to volunteer, a criminal background check is mandatory. We are most excited that our child will be part of a safe, caring environment where her needs and concerned will be heard and respected.
The only people at the school who seemed to hear my concerns and truly care were the parents involved in the PTA. I wrote many emails to administration and my child's teachers that remained unanswered, but the PTA parents always took my concerns seriously and were helpful.
The teachers that we encountered, both classroom and specials, were inadequate in handing behavioral issues. Often times, the entire class was punished for the behavior of a few. My daughter was humiliated to have to sit with her head down during specials classes. Many teachers use an antiquated approach, imposing consequences on the entire group, often taking away from valuable learning time.
The school encourages reading, especially Accelerated Reader, setting minimum reading requirements for each grade level. Unfortunately, unless a child reaches his/her reading goal early, or completely exceeds the goal, they will not be recognized for their achievements. My child exceeded her reading goal well before the school year ended, however, so many students had already met the goal, she was not recognized for her achievements at any of the school assemblies. This left her feeling inadequate and frustrated, wondering why her own accomplishment was negated by the overzealous achievements of her peers.
My child's classroom had many behavior issues and an overall lack of kindness among students. Teasing and bullying definitely trumped acts of kindness. The school only has a half time school counselor, therefore, they don't have the appropriate resources to effectively combat these issues.
I truly think Pilot Knob is a wonderful school and the principal is very involved and cares about his students. I had the pleasure to student teach there and would love to send my children and even work there someday!