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William H Seward Elementary School3
Posted January 15, 2014
- a community member
The teaching staff is professionally unmotivated except for its focus on test results. We have returned to rote memory at the expense of student creativity and initiative. Timed testing pressurizes children, raising the level of anxiety for slower functioning students. Accuracy and enjoyment are sacrificed in some cases, notably in primary classes, for speed Too much instructional time is used for PTA fundraising. Teachers become hucksters for the PTA. Some families are not able to keep up, and children may be embarrassed because they cannot afford book fairs or plastic jump ropes etc...Private enterprises are exploiting students using school facilities. Academic tracking, and subsequent social tracking is loosely disguised as an "inclusion" structure(s). The principal's primary concern is security. Keeping parents away from the school, standing in the snow and rain waiting for their children, and, prohibiting attendance (e.g.at Christmas concerts) under the guise of making it easier on parents, and highlighting the concept that adults cannot be trusted. This is an unwanted but real side effect of a policy that focuses on security at the expense of building trust.
I am very disappointed in this school. The students spent months doing only practice tests for the state exams. So many that even Science class was cut to allow for more Math cramming. It is important that the students know what to expect on the exams, but a huge disappointment that they are teaching the test only as opposed to the material. Just teach them the material and allow the test to do what it is intended to do. The principal is completely incompetent. She is very focused on her fashion sense, and not at all in touch with what is happening in the class rooms. The only tutoring offered after school is for low income students. The principal does not follow district protocols and clearly does a very poor job inspiring her team to teach. A team is only as strong as their leader. As exams have demonstrated, the leadership here is a fail.