This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Scarsdale Middle School1
Posted November 17, 2014
- a parent
Very disappointing. They don't take into account the adjustment from elementary school to middle school. Very large class sizes. Teachers just send the kids to the "teacher pages" to get the assignments. Not very hands-on. Some of the teachers are joyless and out of touch with the fact that they are teaching middle school, not college. They just pile on homework, tests, and stress. What about learning? If you are thinking of moving to Scarsdale "for the schools," think twice. The elementary schools are okay. Middle and High Schools are extremely high-pressured. Not worth the taxes.
Overall our elementary and middle school experience has been very good and overall exceptionally better than other school districts we experienced. The pros are: great environment, well organized schedule, moderate homework, frequent quizzes to check on student needs, learning methods similar to college where the child is given more responsibility to research and study on their own without a lot of teachers hand holding, well educated teachers, responsive teachers, excellent language, music and PE programs, very good art program, large system with lots of after school clubs. Teachers available for after school help. Cons are: Parent teacher meetings are 3 minutes per teacher which is not enough time, but teachers are open for one on one communication any time. The art program in middle school is only for one quarter, and should be extended to the whole year. Parents have to spend and invest time in the evening if you want your child to excel to a B or A level student. Teachers seem to breeze over subjects rather than drill down into them, and may be this is good preparation for more high school and college levels. This is where, as parents, we see the need to be more involved.
This school is great! As a student, I think I have more authority and experience than a parent and less bias than a teacher. I have had a great experience here and I'm sad to be going to high school! This school emphasizes critical and creative thinking skills and I have extreme respect for all my teachers. Every teacher is different but I find them all to be intelligent, professional people. Parents in Scarsdale tend to get upset over small instances or if their child isn't doing as well as they'd hoped. If you ever run into the mother of an SMS student, there's a fifty-fifty chance the mother will complain about "academic stress." I agree that this school is more stressful than elementary school and than other middle schools in the state, but of course you would expect a higher degree of intensity in one of the best public schools in the country. I think most of the issues people are experiencing are because of the coddling nature parents have for their elementary schoolers and then middle schoolers as well.
If your child is an independent learner and overachiever this is the perfect school. If your child needs ANY additional help, go elsewhere. The house counselor is jovial and pretends to be dialed into everything but there's no substance behind it. Our child struggled with the transition to middle and the grades reflect that. We have been asking, calling, emailing for months searching for options on how to better manage and improve. We have never been given an executable plan and the lack of follow-up is laughable. There seems to be an effort to silence the voice of families who are dissatisfied as not tarnish the stellar reputation of a Scarsdale education. I'd like to point out that my child is a C student, not failing, not excelling which equates to a blatant black hole of zero attention from faculty. As a parent I feel duped and fed up.
I am giving this school one star because my child has a learning disability. If you are a parent who is even thinking of moving to Scarsdale, know this: they only educate high achievers. If your child has any kind of disability or difficulty learning, they will sink like a stone. The school does not allocate its resources to children who need help. Makes you wonder where the tax money goes.
Unfortunately, this is the weak link in the mighty Scarsdale school system. It is where useless or fired tenured individuals get placed after they aren t wanted elsewhere. The house system is antiquated and doesn t work, and the house counselors are a clueless bunch of paper pushers who are way overworked for what they are capable of not much. The Principal was a cast off from the high school and is well past any prime that he may have had during the Nixon administration. When you check out alternative schools and other locations you see what POSITIVE ENERGY a freethinking non-bureaucrat can provide a school. No one in Scarsdale wants to say too many bad things about the schools, as our inflated home prices and ludicrously high taxes are directly tied to the reputation of the schools, which is unbelievably still good. The elementary schools are fine and the high school is the gem of the system, but surviving the Middle School is not worth subjecting your children to!
We moved to Scarsdale for "the schools." Watch out when your kids get to middle school. They take children straight from the nurturing, grade-free environment of fifth grade and immediately begin loading them with projects, hours of homework, and incessant tests. They do not help them with organizational skills, or help them develop study habits. My child has no life. She does homework from the time she gets home until she sleeps (exhausted). .The school district makes no effort to transition children to this newer, more mature environment, and gives no leeway for kids to make mistakes, or allow them to develop at their own pace. Extremely punitive, sink or swim environment. Very little communication between parents and teachers. They are treated like mini college students. If I wasn't locked into the real estate market, I would move. If you have not yet purchased a home in Scarsdale, please look very carefully into the school culture before you do. Some people in this town thrive on this type of thing, but if you are not one of them, you and your children will be very unhappy.
This is a great school, and a good district. Thought the level of empathy is VERY low at the school. As a parent i tell my children to be kind to others, but i know that this school teaches my kids about what real life is like!