Pros: the new Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) is a school district priority and has a wonderful opportunity to grow. Immersion educations are great. Teacher quality seems good, and many parents seem interested in improving King.
Cons: MIP seemed to take a step backward from year 1 to year 2. There's a noticable disconnect between the school administration, the dual language immersion office and the teachers - oversight, rules and policies seem to be made, cancelled or modified on the fly. Given the number of established immersion programs out there, and the desire to turn King around, why wasn't a well-organized immersion program set up in the first place? As others noted, the principal seems to be a revolving door position. Quite a few children don't participate regularly in classroom learning, disturb others and shift the teacher's attention away from teaching. The school building is lacking in ... just about anything you can think of. There is a continuing safety problem around the school, 5 shootings last school year alone, and all occurred during the day or early evening. The bulk of parents lack a platform for getting the ear of teachers and the principal to make their voices heard. I would like to give King more than 2 stars but there's no way it should even be considered "average" - way too many problems with no fixes in sight.
My child has attended the neighborhood school at King since Kindergarten. Three principals in four years makes for an unstable school. Teachers and kids are not held to high standards because principals are new and scared. There is little communication between teachers and parents. A lot of meanness amongst kids of all ages.
A lot of behavioral issues at King. This affects all the kids at the school. The Chinese immersion program has the same problems as the rest of the school: poor discipline, misbehavior, bullying in and out of the classroom, low expectations on the part of the teachers and administration and poor academic outlook. It made little sense to put a Chinese language program at this school since the families in the area did not ask for it or want it.
When our daughter was a baby we started becoming involved, playing at the park, talking to some teachers and parents, attending PTA meetings and school events. We really got a feel for the school. After gathering all this 'insider' info we took the leap and decided to enroll her, and she has excelled and thrived more each year. We trust in the school's leadership, I have always been able to communicate openly about any concerns, and they have all addressed my concerns and been onboard with hearing ideas. This year, to be honest, I have had no concerns. her teachers are incredibly talented, classroom size is small, rich diversity which we greatly value, and strong academics as well as arts integration, World IB Curriculum (Spanish language focus), a Chinese Immersion Program. The school has strengthened partnerships with Portland Playhouse, Right Brain Initiative, American Music Program, Art-a-La-Carte, VIBE, PSU, Portland Art Museum. Afterschool class options such as Spanish, Baile Folklorico, Yoga, Art, Chess Club, African Dance and Drumming. Middle schoolers started a Jazz Band. Really excited to see our neighborhood school, kids and families thriving.
2nd year at King and my daughters love the Chinese immersion Program! I have a Kindergarten and 1st grade child in the program and they favor the Mandarin class over English. Very impressed with the selection of teachers and the variety that the program has to offer. My girls are writing characters, speaking, singing, and taking lessons from the teacher, all in Chinese and it's absolutely brilliant!
My daughter has really struggled with bullying at King School. The middle school kids are really rough, and mean. Girls have fistfights in the halls. Teachers are teaching classes that they're not certified to teach, and admin is a mess. I can't recommend it.
I am glad that King School is my neighborhood school. My son comes home and says: "I loooove I.B.!" He is referring to his units that are part of the International Baccalaureate program. With the adoption of this interdisciplinary curriculum and vigorous differentiation to meet every child at his or her at his level of ability, King is making major strides. I most definitely am a parent and a regular participant as a PTA member, so I am mystified by the comment by the parent of the sixth grader. She says she attended a parent meeting but her concerns were never raised in a PTA meeting. If a problem like she describes were to come to us as a parent community, we would have worked alongside her to get them resolved--whatever it took.
I don't normally post reviews but it is clear that the other 2 reviews were not posted by parents. My oldest attended King for 1/2 of his 6th grade. At first I was excited that the teacher/student ratio was low but there was a reason. The teachers spent 50% of the time keeping the students inline and the other 50% trying to conduct learning. They have failed to meet state guidelines every year. My son who used to love school now hates it. I fought long and hard to get him into another school. He was bullied constantly and learned nothing while there. I was at the school weekly dealing with threats placed upon my child. I attended Parent meeting, met with the principal and wrote countless letters to the superintendent. I am now faced with my youngest entering into school and the district has denied her transfers and has placed her in King. I will not do this again. If you wish for a great education for your child...it is not here.