My son attended for two years before we moved to private school. He simply was not challenged enough. Art and Spanish were non existent. Spanish is once a week with the children listening to tapes. That is a waste of effort. He came into kindergarten advanced and just bobbed along for two years before we decided it was enough. The teachers try hard but their hands are tied. My son's teachers were constantly taken out of the classroom to learn about data collection and assessment. This school is definitely teaching to the test. I understand they face tremendous pressure from above, but the kids are suffering. The education is not well rounded. Emphasis on math and ELA means science and social studies have been pushed to the side. There is no gym, so during the winter the kids were cooped up in the lunch room or their classroom and told to watch videos and play games quietly.
Students and their families are nice but very complacent. They know there are problems, but no one is willing to work to change them. The school is what the body makes of it, and while the PTA worked very hard on events, there was little participation from the parents. For the taxes we pay in this town, this school has been a disappointment, although I will concede this may just be the future of public schools, if parents do not assume their rightful power and protest the test cramming.
I am a former student from this school and may I say this school was the best. I made all of my childhood friends here and the teachers are incredible. It is such a shame that all the other middle schools are horrible. I will never forget my times here.
The classes are ethnically diverse, with over 60 countries represented in the school. I think that our children are learning more about the world and finding a common "world culture" than we may realize. Great thanks to the teacher who really goes above and beyond to reach each student as an individual, this really comes through at the parent teacher meeting.
St. Cloud is definitely the best elementary school in West Orange. The teachers challenge their students and encourage them to do better. My daughter relocated from a school in Bethlehem PA, that was rated a 10, on this site, but clearly St. Cloud has a superior curriculum, teachers, administration and leadership. The Principal is also doing a great job.
The school definitely needs a professional face-lift. St. Cloud obtained a new principal who has not initiated any new life to the school which previously had the same principal for far too many years. It is a typical school that does not engage the children enough and teaches only to ensure children do well on standard testing scores.
My daughter and I absolutely loves the school. My daughter loves her wonderful, amazing 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Stoner!!The teachers are great and they are willing to help their class students. And our principle, he is the best!!!!! St. Cloud Elementary School, I believe has the potential to be the greatest school in West Orange, New Jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My child is in a Kindergarten class with 24 other children and only one teacher. She is not being challenged at all. The curriculum is far inferior to that at the area's private schools where many of our friends have placed their children. It is a shame that the Town of West Orange has allowed its schools to sink so low.
My daughter completed kindergarten and I have to say that I agree with the May 2006 post by another parent. The positives- the school is diverse and they have a fairly active parent base. The negatives-children are not challenged sufficiently and principal who just retired fostered a my way or the highway approach to dealing with parents. I think the teachers are committed and I am hopeful that the new principal who started this year will raise the bar and consider ways of further engaging parents and challenging the students further.