Goes more downhill every year. Nepotism in the administration/staff. Being told "if you don't like it leave, I have plenty on the waiting list to fill your spot," refusal to address bullying, instead insisting that it just doesn't happen because this is such a friendly Montessori environment... Public school, yet they send kids on camping trips at a Christian camp where the staff requires a prayer to be said before meals are served. The principal is rude and unresponsive when concerns are raised, her daughter (somehow the Director of the preschool, but also the administrative contact at the main school??) is even worse. If you can't deal with parents diplomatically, politely, and actually pay attention to their concerns, you shouldn't be running a school... these are their children. No respect for PARCC opt-out and in fact they tried to force kids to test anyway. The only saving grace for this school is the fact that they have respect for art and music, and have managed to recruit some amazing teachers... but they are obviously steadily losing some really good ones, too. Sad to watch this. Parents have some great ideas to help things improve, but are dismissed, harassed, and even pushed into leaving the school.
First let me point out the positives, They offer a great art program and music program which includes cello, violin or viola. The school itself is fairly small which promotes a close community feel. However, for both of my children who started here since kindergarten, it has not been a very educational experience. The class sizes are too large and as typical montessori style, it is child led. But if your child doesn't have the self motivation to learn and would rather play for 6 hours a day, they will be allowed to. I was a *weekly* volunteer at this school in not just my own children's classes and I saw on several occasions where they allowed my child to lay on the floor and play with no redirection or help. My child was 2 whole grades behind in reading and math and has struggled since we left with self confidence because he doesn't have the same skills as his peers. He is barely now catching up 2 years later and has been doing excellent at a different charter school. Another draw back is there is no cafeteria and children bring their own food from home and eat on floor mats that are also used for class work. Not very sanitary.
I have two children currently enrolled at this school. We have had experience with APS and other Charter Schools. I firmly believe this is the BEST school Albuquerque has to offer. The ongoing e-mails for notifications and updates. The AMAZING teachers who put in soooo much extra time to make sure the students know that they are not just a number or just another kid. The Principal is one of the most honest but upfront administrators out there. You may not like what she says but she calls it like she see's it. I have read some of the reviews of some "so called parents" and am appalled by their comments. If you don't like the fact that you are dealing with people who go out of their way to make a safe and distraction free school that not only challenges your child but shows kindness and concern for each and every child then do us all a favor and take your child elsewhere. That way the wonderful teachers and administration can focus on the things that matter which are the children.
Thanks so much to the teachers at TMES. I know your job is not easy and the pay is not high. But your students really love you and you are the glue that holds the school together. If it wasn't for the caring, effective teachers, we would have left TMES long ago.
The music program really helps develop this. Students only succeed in the program if they practice their instruments and get better. My son is independently motivated to practice his instrument because he wants to get better, and he wants his teacher to be proud of him. It is a great tool for developing persistence.
I do feel that sometimes classroom discipline is lax until the teacher loses patience, and then things tend to go to the other direction reactively, and things will happen like - every child will have to read silently for two hours and they cannot talk. From what I understand from friends, classroom discipline is a big issue everywhere these days, because teachers are so limited in what they can and can't do to discipline disruptive students.
I do feel that the teachers are invested in helping students learn to solve their own interpersonal problems in a peaceful way. I have heard other people complain about bullying but every time our son has had an interpersonal problem, his teacher (whoever it was) was quick to respond in a way that helped my son and the other child work their issues out calmly and productively.
Our son has been at TMES for several years. There are good things and bad things about the school, as I imagine there are about every school. The school is wonderful for children - I truly believe that. My son is reading three grades above his grade level and doing math one grade above his level, and the art and music programs have taught him a lot. The school is not great for families, and does very little to engage parents in school activities beyond fundraising. As a parent, your input is not valued or welcomed, or even really accepted. If you have a problem with the school or the administration - one that you feel could be addressed, or one you are willing to help them fix - the attitude is very much "tough luck." The principal has been known to say to people, we have a waiting list a mile long of people who want into this school. So if you have a problem here, you're free to leave and someone is waiting to take your child's place. You as a parent have to learn to deal with a lot of incompetence, lack of communication, and disorganization, and know that not only will it not change, but if you say anything about it, you will be seen as a disruptive malcontent. Simple things like emails about schedules for testing or field trips, getting permission slips in a timely manner, or getting invoiced for after care on a routine schedule don't happen at TMES. And there is nothing you can do about it. The administration sees no reason to change what they are doing.
HOWEVER. While the administration of the school lacks a lot, the teachers at the school are fantastic, and really care about their students. We have only had one teacher who was absolutely unwilling to work with us to meet our son's educational needs - and the school allowed us to quickly transfer our son to another teacher's class before the school year started. There has been some teacher and EA turnover, but from talking to my friends with kids at other schools - that is happening everywhere. There are some great opportunities for students, like weekly art and music classes and overnight field trips.
The music and arts teachers are AMAZING! The teachers love of art and music is shared with the children. The children know and understand the teachers' passions. The kids come home with new composers and artists techniques in their minds. The children tell us about the discipline it takes to truly pursue musical and artistic lives. THANK YOU for the lessons. They are burnished into young minds forever.
I am so glad that this question is asked. Thank you "GREAT SCHOOLS" for prompting this. No, I do not sense that this school fosters persistence, grit or determination. Schools can do so much to create a healthy community of strong, diligent, hardworking students!