Students who need to be evaluated for learning disabilities and intervention are ignored. There is no recourse for students ahead of grade level. Students behind grade level (regardless of reason) are simply held back in their classrooms an extra year.
On the surface, yes. However, when there are bigger bullying problems they tend to be ignored as if they don't exist. The general response is that it just doesn't happen at this school because of how conflict is handled. Well, some kids don't respond well enough to the peace table talking it out method and there just seems to be no plan beyond that.
The administration is running what could have been a great school right into the ground.
I had to pull my child out, due to extreme bullying by classmates and complete neglect by her teacher. The administration refused to offer any alternatives - my child either had to stay exactly where she was and in the same horrid situation, or leave the school altogether. Now, I am all for teaching a child to get through one bad elementary year. Sometimes we get stuck with teachers or people we don't get along with and that's a great lesson. But students stay in their elementary classrooms for three years. Requests to transfer to a different classroom over the summer were denied, (after first being approved, which caused further distress to my child when the decision was reversed at the last minute). I was told by an insider that there were 12 classroom transfer requests that year and it was just "too many" for the principal to deal with. ....Isn't that her job?
Whether Montessori is supposed to be student-led or not, this is a public school that is supposed to adhere to state standards. If a child is left sitting doing nothing for the entire school day, day after day after day, with no intervention, the teacher and school have failed that child. The fact that my child's teacher couldn't tell me until the end of the week that my child had gotten nothing done all week is unacceptable. Where was the teacher Monday when nothing got done? Tuesday? Any day before Friday afternoon?!
There are some great teachers but even the good ones are losing steam under the ruthless administration. The principal is unkind to anyone with anything to offer, taking offers and ideas to help out around the school as a personal insult that she is not doing a good enough job. If you are willing to be ordered around and micromanaged, you can volunteer to help out. But don't bother bringing your own ideas to the table.
The school never stops asking for money. In fact, it's not even ASKING. They guilt trip the hell out of parents and expect huge donations regularly. Then they make massive changes without inviting parents to participate in any of that decision making. Found out after the fact that the cute "grandparents day" event they said up was nothing but an attempt to get money out of grandparents too... gross. Not why my parents went to visit my kids at school.
In regards to TMES, our experience with the teachers have been good and bad.
Some teachers take pride and have overarching concern for their students and some are just fearful, anxious, arrogant personalities.
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 extreme details, micromanagement problems. Academic performance takes a back seat to other details. The school lacks true leadership. 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 library, lunch space/common auditorium, indoor gym, etc, etc.
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.