Ballentine puts up a good front of being this great school. They promote the teamwork between school and parents. It is really the opposite of that. Ballentine staff, including the principal, could care less what you have to say to contribute towards your child's education. They make major decisions about your child's education without communicating it with you. They are concerned more about stats than common sense. I have tried and I just give up. Don't put your child in this school.
I can not wait to move my child from this school. I was warned of the enrollment decline and dissatisfaction by other parents who have since removed their children as well. The principal is stale, disconnected, and impersonal. Myself and a majority of parents in my sons class are very sad and disheartened at the lack of attention to our concerns and have been met with a sour and blunt response to our suggestions. Enrollment is down, pressure to conform overshadows the needs of the child. My son's class has only 16 students in a county that has an overcrowding problem? 22 last year, 16 this year. Myself, as well as several others are removing our children from this school after this year, if we dont end up homeschooling them first. The atmosphere is sour and far from a positive environment.
My child went to Ballentine for 1 year after moving from out of state. We learned very quickly that the principal was not interested in making sure that each child is challenged. If your child is in the top or bottom 10%, I would highly recommend you look for another school. We have since transferred to another local school and the difference is amazing. Time for the school board to look into dropping test scores, enrollment, poor teacher morale, etc.
This school needs major improvement on how it handles bullying and giving the teachers skills to use when they see or hear it happen from a student. The teachers are very good here when it comes to educating but towards the end of my child's last years here it was a constant worry that the grades would drop due to bullying. Suggestion for this school is to look at new ways to show zero tolerance for bullying in their school.
If your child is on the top10% or lower 20% of the curve, your experience here could prove challenging. Public schools tend to cater to the majority at or near average, but exceptions here seem more of a nuisance than elsewhere. This school seems firmly focused on one thing - teaching material directly tied to measured objectives and EOGs. Our child attended Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Kindergarten provided some of the caring needed but little academic challenge. First grade was better, with a good mix of nurturing and academics. Second grade was an eye opener. Caring was replaced by pressure to conform and meet timed standards. Beyond that, something changed for the worse at this school somewhere between 2010-2011. Notice the absence of glowing reviews since then? Enrollment dropped and teachers just didn't seem as happy or fulfilled as they once were. Spirit, participation and fun at school events slumped. Some of the enrollment decline could be related to the neighborhood around the school growing up, but I personally know almost as many parents who pulled their children to go private as I do those who have graduated. Count me among those who went private.
Lisa Embury is a 3rd grade teacher and she is second to none. She is an excellent teacher and all around great person. Any student would be lucky to have her as a teacher, she really cares about each and every child!!!
This is my first experience with my child in public school. She has attended BES for K, 1st and is now in 2nd grade. Both teachers she had were excellent and I was amazed at how well they were able to teach students at varying levels. My daughter is on the accelerated side and seems to be challenged. The teachers are caring and very inclusive of parent involvement. As mentioned in another post, I too was aggravated by how long it took to assess/assign reading groups last year. But I don't think it hurt their learning. I'm appreciative of the time BES takes with social contracts and their discipline. My child speaks regularly of making 'good choices' and 'healthy choices'. The staff has worked very hard to make year-round calendar work for us as well. I foresee only good things for the future and highly recommend this school!