This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted December 17, 2014
- a parent
Smithfield is a great school if you are a white, middle to upper-class family with neurotypical children! You will feel right at home with the PTA, who will exclude and shun all others. If you don't fit that mold, expect the front office and door monitors to pretend they don't recognize you, each and every time you pick your child up. Expect to have your concerns ignored and be bullied out of speaking about them by Principal Harris. Also, who are you, parent who also loathes Class Dojo? I was made to believe that I was the only parent who disapproves of it. My child loves the school and enjoys his classmates, but administration grates. We will not be returning next year.
We like Smithfield in general but do not love it. I will give very high marks for Principal Harris - without her leadership this school would likely suffer greatly. I agree with a prior reviewer that the PTA is a social clique and basically worthless. Many teachers seem straight out of college and overwhelmed with no assistants (not Smithfield's fault). Due to this, the "squeaky wheels" get the grease while other students can be overlooked - unless they too misbehave. This year, they took the highest achieving teachers out of the classroom (?) and "promoted" them to a non-classroom role that noone has been able to adequately explain. Finally, they instituted a "Class Dojo" system this past year that has infuriated almost everyone we have spoken with - at least those who dont completely ignore it. The only kids that seem to benefit from this app are the "Teacher's Pet" types. We are looking into Charters for next year.
My three children have all attended Smithfield and our experience has been absolutely wonderful. The staff is cheerful and caring, children feel loved, and there are lots of ways to get involved. Best of all, every one of them had a great teacher every year.
This is NOT a great school despite all the cheerleading you hear. Suggestions for change aren't welcome by leadership The PTA is active but is a social clique that is not welcoming to 'different' parents. Smithfield has a few excellent teachers, but too many of the teachers seem more interested in keeping the kids silent and in their seats than engaged. One teacher who has been there for a long time has a reputation as mean and controlling. Everyone knows it, even the various Principals. Students are afraid of her and yet they keep her as a teacher. We did not have her, but many parents said when they complained their complaints were blown off by the Principals and Vice Principals. In general, I saw more teachers and school personnel over controlling kids so they are like silent little drones, always being corrected and admonished. This seems to be a bigger emphasis than learning. I would not choose to send a child to Smithfield again. It needs a lot of change. Also, my children's test scores, which were always high, dropped while at Smithfield and then went up at other schools. I
Smithfield is a positive and encouraging institution for learning. When you enter, you see the enthusiasm of the students, staff and parents. Witness the strong relationships during welcomed lunch visits. Every staff member is approachable. You will see students encouraging one another & being respectful of others. The school impressively has ALL students participate daily in recycling & re-purposing items. Their lunch ends with the students sorting out their trash into recycle, garbage & compost (used in the school garden). They strive in being current with today's technology and preparing our children for success in the changing world around them: computer testing, Smartboards, iPads, tablet Apps, Bring Your Own Technology to School & Sensory Lab. I have 2 children attending Smithfield. Every time I had a concern, I was given time to discuss and work with staff on it. The principal puts so much personal and professional commitment into students. Her high energy and passion show through her interactions with students, staff, parents, and community. For a large education system, we are surprisingly pleased with our experience and education over the years at Smithfield.
This school is very welcoming. I had to transfer and Principal Harris was incredibly caring and helpful. My son is challenged and I love the way this school integrates TD so that kids don't even know they are doing something "different" than the other kids. My son's teacher keeps in contact with me when he has concerns. This school is diverse and has a lot of great clubs. Also, since the middle school and high school in this home area are so close, they work a lot together and the older students have volunteer opportunities with the younger students. Great programs!