I have worked at this school for the last six years. I started here after my son started here in the first grade. Before I came to work for Bracken I was a perfectly content stay at home wife and mother of two. I soon found that the teachers needed parent help and wound up spending almost all my free time at the school helping out as much as possible. I have always felt that the more I could do for my teachers, the more time they would have to spend actually teaching my children versus preparing to reach my children. The staff here was so warm and welcoming, especially the principal, that when a position became available to work at this school, I immediately went to apply for it. It has been a joy ever since which is why I am still here even though both of my children have moved on into other magnet schools. The thing I think I love the most about this school is there is no PTA/PTO, but its ok. I hear from parents all the time that they like the set up we have here. It allows for all the teachers to submit work to be done and for any and all parents to either stay or take home work. And there are no fee's to join and no limits to how much or how little parents can help.
I am a grandparent to a pre-k and kinder student at Bracken. I come here daily and help out in the work center whenever possible. I have met most of the staff from working in the work center doing various projects for the different grade levels. Many times they come in with notes or sweets to say thank you for all the hard work the parent volunteers do. Because of working in the center, I am able to see what things my grandkids will be working on if they get into this school when their time comes. I am keeping my fingers crossed, because I really like this school and dread the idea of having to go any where else.
My daugher is in her fifth year at Bracken. I have spent a lot of time at school volunteering and feel welcome at all times. The set-up for parent involvement seems to better than a regular PTA/PTO since parents are invited to spend as many hours as they like at school helping out, whether it be in classrooms, the work center, or accompaning the students on field trips. I have been involved in the school carnival, painted, read to students in classrooms and so many other things and feel like my contributions have been appreciated by both staff and students. Any issues with my daughter have been quickly and fairly dealt with. My dealings with all of her teachers have been friendly and have all been extremely helpful in keeping her on track and excelling in her studies. The principal has always been accessible, friendly and seems to be motivated to do what is best for the students. Grade scores have continued to improve every year and yes the school does receive awards but that is a testament to the dedication of the principal and staff not in spite of it. Overall, my daughter loves this school and I think it's great.
I have been a teacher at Walter Bracken School for 7 years. When I came across the November 12 posting, I was surprised to read it. Our parents are overwhelming satisfied with this school. According to the recent parent survey results, in response to the question Does the school value my input as a parent? The results were 290 yes (98.7%) and 4 no (1.3%). Our principal is a great leader and is constantly striving to innovate. She makes her decisions with one question in mind Is it in the best interest of our students? In response to the claim if your child has special needs you are quickly shown the door , I can personally tell you that I have students in my classroom with IEPs and 504s. When I read that post, my first thought was that a principal like the one portrayed would not be able to hold on to her quality teachers very long. We have an extremely low turnover rate in comparison to the district, and the teachers that do leave are leaving the state not transferring within the district. I would urge any parent who is interested in our school to come view it for yourself on one of our school tour dates, and you can see what a great school Walter Bracken truly is.
The weakest link at this school is the principle. If not for the teachers who cover up that weakness I fear this school would fail. She refuses to look at alternative learning or thinking about the children first. Her number one goal seems to receive awards. This school can not even retain an assistant principle (went thru aprox 4). There is no PTA where parents could have a voice to express concerns. There used to be a PTA but it disappeared after disagreeing with leadership (Principle). This school would be even better based on the excellent Teacher base but new leadership installed. Oh...if your child has special needs you are quickly shown the door as the principle, rather than a licensed child advocate runs the accommindation meetings. ....horrible experience
AWESOME. That's one of the few words you can use to describe this AMAZING school. The teachers there are all AWESOME. I really need to stop using that word. But you know, that's the best word to describe the school. The principle is also AWESOME and knows both students and parents by first name or at least tries to. Science program: AWESOME. Math program: AWESOME. L.A program: AWESOME. (Get the picture?) All in all, Walter Bracken is by far one of the best school in the nation.