In regards to TMES, our experience with the teachers have been really good. I am afraid that change has caused disruption and this school no doubt has had much change over the last years.
The teachers do take pride and overarching concern for each student. They are the gems of the school. Changes in enrollment, and teacher staffing have taken their toll on planning issues. What stops this school from being an excellent school are some common issues that often elementary schools face: leadership and lack of vision. The school deals with the tedium of minutiae. Academic performance does take a back seat to other details. Leadership with a strong backbone for curriculum and teacher appreciation and support (minus teacher nepotism) would create the identity and mission that TMES currently lacks. Music is a highlighted aspect of the school. Hopefully this area will become more robust with time. The school does have a desperate need for a lunch space/common auditorium, indoor gym, dedicated outdoor space for recess.
Again, I emphasize the strengths of certain individual teachers that create the daily experience for the children. The 4 star support is of the exceptional and dedicated teachers, without the handful of them this school would receive 2 stars from me.
TMES (elementary) & TMMS (middle school) is a wonderful school. The teachers, staff and administration are all very dedicated, caring and loving towards students and families. All of the teachers are state certified and also Montessori trained. Every student gets weekly general music, suzuki music and visual art. It is amazing the strides my child has taken in one school year! The new building is incredible. Each classroom is large with real Montessori material. There are Educational Assistant's in each classroom. There are more students in each classroom, but if you know anything about Montessori, you know that is so they form a 'community' and with the EA in the classroom, the few extra students are not a problem, it is actually a positive thing since they learn from each other. The school does do 2 large fundraising events every year to raise money for the EA's in the classroom since the state does not fund EA's salary. But MOST of the parents realize that the benefit to having an EA in the classroom outweigh a little extra effort from families on fundraisers. It is obvious the 3 reviews previous to mine were written by the same disgruntled, person. We LOVE TMES!
The new location has garnered many requests for donations and financial contributions to support the foundation. But gone is the support for students. The new location brought about increased class sizes exceeding 27 students per class. Gone are after school activities such as fall and spring events. Before/After care facilities are no longer able to provide a wide range of activities and student community bonding. The pick up procedures are a joke. The new location is one of the most congested areas of the city.
This school has some great ideas and no way to properly implement them. They say that students are educated at an individual pace, but that is only true if the student is slower, not if they are faster. The Suzuki program is a good idea, but started way too late (it's supposed to be started in infancy) and again, there's no real way for students who already play one of the instruments to integrate into the program - they just make them start over. The art program is great, but in their new location, they stuck the art teacher in a tiny room with no storage. She can't do any big projects. The school constantly asks for money from parents but was oblivious to raising money through the big corporations in town, even though there are grants everywhere. EAs are constantly changing as they find better paying positions. Basically, this school is a great idea, with poor execution. There are some great teachers, but working within the framework they're given, they can only do so much. Also, in their letter to businesses asking for donations last year, I found 3 words spelled wrong and a huge grammatical error. Really? No proofreading available? At a SCHOOL?
Montessori Elementary School was great 4 or 5 years ago. Now all the good teachers are gone. The school boasts a great Suzuki Program, what a joke. The teachers are unmotivated and office staff are unfriendly and rude. What is important is your tax dollars and not your children. Don't waste your time with this school.