I don't know about the rest of the school's classes but kindergarten, the starting point for students, is not what it should be for 4/5 year olds. First, over 40 kids in the class and the teacher doesn't seem mature or professional enough to deal with children or their parents. The first 10 minutes of Back to School night consisted of complaining about the kids, the "overwhelming" expectations placed on the teacher regarding new education standards, and what she wouldn't be able to accomplish teaching children due to having so many kids in the class. When asked about the new education standards, requirements, and what will happen if children don't meet expectations, the teacher had no idea, just that the kids must read a book and write a paragraph before the end of kindergarten and no offer to explain further. If I had an employee/teacher representing my business/school in this way to customers/parents, I would fire that person. The teacher did not make the class seem inviting nor did her presentation leave me with confidence in her abilities. Kindergarten is supposed to be an introduction to school and learning how to adjust to an educational environment while getting along with others and minding yourself, learning should be fun. I understand that kids will need to learn to read and write, but to throw out all the nurturing and replacing it with the focus on enforcing standards like the child must master reading a book and writing a paragraph before the end of kindergarten seems very impersonal and like preparing future assembly line workers.
My school is a very family oriented school that strives for excellence in each and every one of their students. They are on top of every problem that arises, whether it be a drop in grades or behavior problem. They strive to incorporate all main core subjects into their curriculum, even with the minimal budget they have to work with. They are always looking for ways to improve their school and academic progress. We are blessed to have our children in this school.
I believe Alice Smith is an excellent school. . . the positives considerably outweigh any concerns. Of course it has challenges but overall our family has been very pleased the past 3+ years. We have 3 students attending the school and we consider ourselves very involved. We participate in most all of the school functions and we communicate regularly with our children's teachers. On a couple of occasions, I've emailed the principal and was pleased to receive prompt responses. When you attend school events, you see lots of happy and engaged students as well as dedicated teachers. As with the prior post, I too have never observed unsupervised students. In my experience, school personnel are always present at the student drop off/parent pick up area in the mornings and each afternoon, in addition to many parents and grandparents - it's a busy place at those key times! The school requires students wear uniforms, which originally I wasn't in favor of but it's okay and ultimately, it's easier on the budget.
I think this school does a good job with all the challenges public schools face in today's world. There are things that could certainly be improved upon and I would encourage parents to stay or get involved in your kid's education. My oldest has been enrolled in this school for four years and is going on five. He has had really good teachers that I feel care. He has also had an average teacher who needs improvement but that unfortunately is at every school. I have never seen nor heard of anything like the incident reported here. I always see staff greeting kids as they come into school and a number of staff members are always out and about at the end of school. I've never witnessed in our four years students that were unsupervised, as reported, so that to me is an isolated incident that is very unfortunate. The principal when we have had issues has always been helpful in trying to resolve things. My only complaint is the school calendar, I'm not a fan of the year round schedule. I don't think anyone should be nervous about enrolling their kids here. It is a public school and faces challenges other schools might not but the staff has a genuine concern for their students.
After my husband lost his job, we had to pull our kids out of private school and enroll them here. This was the worst mistake I've ever made. My daughter, whom was in first grade, was left outside with the rest of the six-year-olds, 15 minutes early with no supervision. I pulled up to my daughter in hysterics after being beaten up by two boys. I confronted the principal and office staff whose main concern was punishing the boys. What about the fact my child could have been kidnapped by being left on the corner with no supervision? The principal defended the teacher for leaving her students unsupervised. We un-enrolled our children the next day....my first grader came in and showed the staff her black eye.
Both my kids have gone to this school since they started school. The teachers that they have had in the 4-5 years here have been great. The Principal is wonderful and very accessible. The new Principal has stopped 'Parent Patrol' which upsets me. It was a wonderful program of volunteers that helped keep the children safe. I really dont understand why the school would not want to keep it. At any rate, I feel that Alice Smith is a wonderful school and would highly recommend it to anyone in the Golden Valley area.