My son started first grade at Garlough this year. We are outside of the district and we toured several schools before deciding on GEMS. I am glad we went with our gut and sent him here. We have been extremely happy with the level of dedication the teachers show--the principal is very talented--the school is orderly, clean, and warm. I have volunteered numerous times--and the kids always seem calm, happy and well behaved! I love the diversity and I love the focus of the school. I should also mention that the front desk staff are kind and friendly and have gone out of their way to help. Also, Mrs. Zimmel, the gym teacher is a favorite. Lots of great teachers that we are only beginning to know--we are glad to plant roots here through our two boys' elementary years. I was compelled to write this today because as I dropped off my son, a teacher was playing piano in the hallway and people were stopping over and singing with her. When we started in the fall, the teachers were lined up outside the school singing to us as we entered. A happy, fun school.
We love Garlough!! I have 3 boys at the school. In making the transition from homeschooling to school, we were looking for a safe, friendly environment where their creativity and varying abilitiy levels would be nutured. I have been so impressed with the testing that was done at the beginning of the year to see where they were at acedemically. In areas where they excel, they are continuing to be challenged and in areas where they can use extra support, that is also provided. They are continually excited about learning, never bored! I also wanted a place where their high energy would be seen as an asset rather than a problem. Garlough has so many opportunities for hands on, exploratory learning, and fostering their natural curiosity. For my boys, the best part is how much they get to move: Going outside to sketch the clouds, moving in the classroom (dancing/stretching) while they review concepts, roller blading in gym. They are active all day long! For me, tne best thing about Garlough is how connected and proud they feel about their school. They know that they are cared about by their teachers, counselors and principal.
I went "against the grain" in choosing Garlough Environmental and have nothing but positive things to say about this school! It has a very dedicated staff, diverse student population of students, pets in every room, therapy dogs, and a playground that promotes creative learning. The school is surrounded by trails and forest not to mention the partnership with Dodge Nature Center. These kids are learning measurements by reaching their hands into a frozen lake. They are grasping the importance of local and organic farming by growing their own vegetables and cooking with them. My child is so happy! She is learning difficult math an science concepts and enjoying every moment. The school really stresses kindness and acceptance. This is something you can sense when you walk in the school and observe students. Don't let some of the scores fool you. I worried about that too. It should also be mentioned that one of their K teachers(Ms Saatzer) was chosen as one of 15 primary teachers in the US to recieve an outstanding award from Obama. Take a tour! You'll see! A++++!
Don't be fooled by the lower Great Schools rating for Garlough - this school is truly a gem! Many of the children are bilingual - of course they will not score as high (on MCA tests) as those who only speak one language. My third grader received the education he needed to meet and exceed the MCA standards. My kindergartener is reading like a champ and loves going to school. Both boys favorite day is when they have a class with one of the naturalists from Dodge Nature Center. The curriculum is engaging and pulls the children into the learning process. The principal knows every child in the school by name and is tireless in her efforts. The teachers are all dedicated and really care about the kids. This is an awesome school. Jill Walsh, parent
Garlough Elementary school this year has transitioned into an environmental magnet schoool and is now Garlough Environmental Magnet School or G.E.M.S. It is remodeled with a new computer lab and library. Ratings in previous years do not reflect the energy, effort of all staff to fully integrate students in the new curriculum in conjunction with with Dodge Nature Center and its staff. As a parent of a first grader the school provides a caring positive environment often missing from many schools. Any sceptecism I had about the value of having my 7 year old at Garlough has been eliminated by experiencing the work of the principal, teachers and staff, first hand and in particular the quality of after school care provided. As the environmental curriculum is implemented in the next few years more positive ratings will result from the schools new environmental mission. Simply see for yourself. Tim McCarthy