We have been at Barnes for 6 yrs in the English classes. My kids are thriving. Barnes has INCREDIBLE teachers and staff, they care and work hard with what they've got (ie. budget cuts/large classrooms). The thing to ask yourself if you want to send your kids to Barnes is, are you comfortable with different races, socio-economic backgrounds, and exposing your children to diversity? Barnes is full of diversity (Spanish, Somalian, Russian,...). All school meetings are 100% bilingual (Spanish). There is a strong two way immersion program (Spanish). There is a large percentage of low income working class families. The school district works hard to make educations at the different elementary schools equal but know that expensive extracurricular activities do not happen without additional fundraising by the parent board (ie. outdoor school).
I have had my kid's in Barnes since my daughter started kindergarten and now is in 3rd grade. My son is in 1st grade this year has been nothing but a problem because my son is a special need's child. I would not recommend this school for anything, especially if you have a special need's child. The principle is all about the Hispanic children which is not right, ever child is important not matter what race they are.
Both of my children are in the Two Way Immersion (TWI) program, both started in kindergarten and are currently in 1st and 2nd grade. We speak English at home and I am very impressed at the amount of Spanish that they are learning. I feel that it is a very positive thing to learn a second language at such an early age. For the most part I have been impressed and pleased with the teachers and staff and what they accomplish despite the minimal parental support. I am an active volunteer at Barnes and there seems to be a small core group of us considering the size of the school, that said, it is easy to understand why the teachers and staff are so welcoming and appreciative of volunteers. Overall I am very happy with our experience at Barnes.
Our oldest is in the TWI program and finally enjoys going to school. The staff has been excellent, very involved and hands on. There are some after school options but could be more. Our youngest will be starting the TWI in the fall and can't wait. This school is a much better fit than the last school attended.
Both of my children are attending Barnes and I couldn't ask for a better school. The teachers, staff and principle are outstanding. Given all of the budget cuts they have had to endure they are still able to deliver quality education by the best means possible. The parent involvement has increased since my oldest first started attending, but I wish it was more.
Unless your child is lucky enough to enter in Kindergarten and be accepted to the two way immersion program the education is at a very low level. In my child's case most of the classrom was at least 80 % hispanic speakers made it hard for a english speaking child to make friends and learn at the level my child should have been at. The class was seperated into hispanic and english speaking children. My child had to leave class and go to another class for reading and vocabulary. This made it hard for me as a parent to have to navigate through two teachers and very intimidating to express differences of opinion. As for parent nights everything in spanish and then parts explained in english. As far as the first day of school, welcome to ...well could not tell you it was all in spanish and fend for yourself if you didnt know any spanish. Lunch starts around 9:50am and it is like a military op. My childs teachers both years has had to pack up the classroom and say good bye. The classroom starts dissapearing two weeks before school even ends. As for the Teachers they all care but due to the overcrowding everything is in a rush.. I wish english was something to be proud of!
I was disappointed at how this school handled my son's behavior problems and special ed needs. The part-time school psychologist was useless, the principal kept handling problem as disciplinary instead of providing the special ed services he needed -- she seemed clueless. I did like the teacher and other staff there, but not a good place if your child needs extra help. I really wanted to stay local in our home school but learned the hard way that other elementary schools in Beaverton offer a much better choice -- my son is now much happier in another Beaverton school.
Principal and most of the staff are trying their best. Some teachers are wonderful, but some Spanish Immersion teachers undermine and dismiss native English speakers, regardless of other talents kids have. My son has learned quite a bit of Spanish over the years, but his self-confidence as a learner is at zero.
My son is a Kindergartener at Barnes in the Dual Immersion program and we love it! Our daughter will be going to Barnes next year. The teachers are wonderful, have very open communication, have lots of parental activities, and let the parents be as involved as they want to be.