Initially, we were thrilled and looked forward to this school. From what other parents who have older children have said, it used to be a great school. However, this school has no accountability standards because it only goes to 2nd grade. Teachers do not seem happy or supported. There is no library to speak of and frankly, it is like a circus with the principle and her assistant who seem to want to perform a show and not at all about the children. We were told by the principle that under no circumstances could we request to move to a different school and that the school we wanted was not available to transfer to and we could not leave during the school year. Later, I found this to be untrue. A different child from my son's class easily changed to the school we asked to transfer to with support from the same principle. This school is not child centered.
This magnet school does not offer much in the way of gifted or talented. The administration is very dysfunctional. Discrimination and favoritism. I would score the principal a zero but you can't do that.
I'm mixed on Nishuane. It's great for the arts and I like the aesthetics/creative I courses. All kids get to be in a yearly school play. Having a foreign language at an early age (even Mandarin) is great. However, I do not like the every day math. Watchung and Edgemont do not have this and it's obviously reflected in the school report card statistics. My daughter gets good grades, typically 95 or higher on both reading/spelling and math tests, yet she isn't getting into the 'creative I' courses for either of those. I'm not sure why. I'd like to see her have more of a chance to advance in the traditional academics.
My child's needs were dismissed even after it was determined there had been a huge discrepancy in her academic giftedness. The Power Moms run the school dictating to the Principle and Assistant Principle which of the best teachers, the best situations must occur for their children. The scraps of what is left is what is then offered to the rest of the student body. Children should come first, politics with parents or the PTA or School Action Team should not rule over the school with an iron fist. We felt we could not express this while my child attended and many other parents have said to be wary of doing so. Favors and favoritism are rampant here. We felt the focus was not on the children but more about the Principle and Assistant Principle pushing out seasoned teachers to replace them with cheaper inexperienced ones. Clocks did not work but highly disruptive chatter every 45 minutes from the office on loud speaker did. Halls were often dirty and bathrooms broken. Gifted and talented magnet? If your child is not in a class that has enough students to test into the gifted program, it won't be offered because of the cost.
This is a wonderful school with an abundance of strengths that include a friendly, open principal; extremely warm office staff; very committed and enthusiastic teachers; high academic standards; a wide range of creative/aesthetics courses to supplement a strong academic program and a very involved parent community. My child attended here after a disastrous start in another local school, after moving to the US from Australia.Desspite obvious academic challenges, the teachers in 1st and 2nd grade here, excelled in bringing my daughter up to speed and bringing her out of her shell to be far less timid and shy. This is the best school experience we have had anywhere in Australia or the US so far, and cannot recommend it highly enough. The staff feel like part of our family and we will miss them dreadfully as we now move on to a new school for 3rd Grade.
Last year was our first year in Montclair and we couldn't have had a better experience at Nishuane. It is a wam, accepting environment, well run by the administration, and our first grade teacher was wonderful, both academically and personally. I am very excited to have two kids there next fall!
My daughter started at this school in the second grade coming from a private school, I thought that she would be prepared and on grade level. Unbeknowst to me that Nishaune was above grade level. As soon as her teacher identified the problem we were able to work together along with the school's remarkable STARS program to get her on track. Within 6 months my daughter was not only reading above her grade level, but her math skills have increased dramatically. Nishaune is a WONDERFUL school that is dedicated to the children and their learning and studying habits.
My grandaughter went to this school until she moved out of the community year before last. She still misses it. The faculty was extremely dedicated, creative, and focused on a common mission. It, and the population, were racially and ethnically very diverse, and the symbiosis was extremely positive and apparent. Parent participation was nearly 100%. This school could serve as a model for how to operate a successful school in an integrated community.