This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. Anthony Park Elementary School5
Posted January 15, 2014
- a parent
Wonderful school. 2/3 of the school tests gifted and talented but atmosphere is supportive and nurturing for all. Teachers are excellent, principle is excellent, parents are committed and caringe. All of the benefits of a private school with no snobbiness or attitude.
When enrolling, GT services were touted [ 40% - 50% classified}. However, it is my experience that the policy of "enrichment within the classroom" has contributed greatly to individually ostracize and dull learning in the gifted spectrum, while ignoring the pedagogical approaches for GT learning needs (often special behavioral or processing characteristics). Unlike Lake Harriet in MPS that pulls these kids out for creative expression, needed leadership opportunities and support. Our oldest became partially proficient academically for her last 2 years dropping significantly from the top 95% statewide. (Is now again a straight A Freshman honor student due to Waldorf middle school). SEVERAL teachers 08 - 12 were bullies and not sufficiently addressed to protect children (one removed by the courts, retired or to retire). Classroom bullies are often the norm in upper grades. Outdoor recess is whittled to 10 min and lunch 15 to favor rote cognitive classroom time (test results tied to school funding). I hope SAP will understand the negative effect this has before it can't reverse even under good test scores & great community pride.
St. Anthony Park is a gem -- a small, community-oriented school where each child is known and valued. It is situated on beautiful Langford Park where students have ample opportunities for fresh air and outdoor play, including regular walks to SAP's carnegie library. Their specialists (computer, PE, art, music, GT, and science) are uniformly strong, with science being a particular standout. Smart and caring kids, involved parents, and a dedicated faculty make SAP a stellar elementary school.
First, there's a new principal who has received universally high marks for her approach and enthusiasm (08-09). Second, SAP tests compare very well with top schools in the city - public or private. Third, I haven't heard of a school that doesn't have a mix of teaching talent, but SAP provides a great structure for teachers to excel and a very supportive community providing talented volunteers and financial support for unique programs. How many elementary schools send their entire 6th grade class to a week long environmental camp? Kids that come out of this school have an improved IQ and EQ and that balance is what makes it a rich and rewarding experience.
The academic experience of the young students is strongly supported by neighorbood school familes and local business alike, by parent families, it's new Prinicpal and the school's strong parent association that is soley dedicated to regular and valuable cirricular enrichment opportunties. Most teachers seem to employ a child centered methodology as opposed to to a teacher directed methodology thus, children seem pretty engaged in their learning and feel generally respected and empowered. This and GT enrichment though, is largely dependant upon the partifculair teacher and can vary from class to class - grade to grade. With 40% GT, SAP needs to have greater consistency, programs and services to accomodate its GT population properly. I am disspointed that it did not fight the move to all day Kindergarten and that a good handful of teachers do not allow parents to observe the classroom.
The level of parental involvement at this school is amazing. However, the principal(in 07/08) does not seem to provide consistent and strong leadership. The quality of your year is extremely teacher dependant. Some teachers are amazing. Some are mediocre. My biggest complaint about this school is that despite it's large gifted/talented population, it does little to really serve these kids - especially those in the highest tier. At least my child is not being served or challenged in his current classroom. Any differentiation is completely dependant on how loud the parents are and the willingness of the teacher. Unfortunately, this school will not work for our highly gifted child long term.
Our son has attended St. Anthony Pary for 4 years. It is a great school and a wonderful community. Like all schools they could use more funding, but overall my son has received a phenomenal education. I especially appreciate some of the extras they do such as art enrichment programs and interesting field trips.