My 6th grader has had a smooth transition to middle school. Overall, her teachers are strong, with some being more effective than others (like anywhere). Her block teacher(social studies, writing, language arts), math teacher and art teacher are all great--high expectations, creating dynamic and interesting learning opportunities, and also supporting 6th graders in learning how to juggle numerous subjects and be organized. Socially she has connected with some great kids. Parents are definitely less connected and involved than in elementary, though I gather from friends at other schools they feel that way, too. There are, of course, plenty of opportunities to be involved if you seek them out. The principal is retiring and the vp is new this year; so that transition will be interesting and hopefully positive. SMS is in a great neighborhood community and seems to be a solid school overall.
Sellwood was a wonderful school for me! I recently graduated and am heading on to a local private high school feeling very prepared. I came into sixth grade from another state knowing no one and though it was a struggle I found that the counsler and teaches were(and still are) more than supportive and willing to help and listen. I have had some increadable teachers whose lessons, life or acidemic, I will never forget. This school is exteremly welcoming and open to all types of people. I have made some incredable friends and have had little trouble with bullying and cliques. My only problem was the in my eye lacking science program(cough, cough Ms. Manley), not a great deal of what I learned will follow me through high school and it somewhat ruinied my love for it. Also, the pricipal at the moment is awful, hard to work with and unwilling to help or listen whether it be a parent, teacher or student. However, I overall loved my time at Sellwood.
If I could rate the teachers separately than the principal and vice principal, I would give the teachers five starts and the two women in charge -6. My son attended all three years here and I only had the opportunity to speak with the principal ONCE..and believe me I tried. She doesn't appear to have much interest in the kids or the parents..strange as that sounds. My son was having serious issues and needed help and support from her and I got zero. The vice principal isn't much better. The counselor and the teachers however are awesome and work very hard. If they could find a principal as involved as the teachers, the kids at SMS would be far better off.
I am extremely disappointed in this school. When my child needed some extra help in math, we were told to either come for 20 minutes during lunch or go to Sylvan. Those are the only options? Sadly, I think this is typical for many portland public schools. Tried in vain to get the vice principal to call me when I needed help. Left several voicemails and finally gave up. On the surface, everyone is very kind and seemingly caring ....but I guess they are just overwhelmed. Can't imagine what else to think.
Honestly, Sellwood's just a bad school. Most of the teachers treat the students like dogs, and all of the students treat eachother like scum. There is almost no hands-on learning, and the curriculum follows a distinctive pattern: read the textbook, do the worksheet, take the test, repeat.
Sellwood is a pretty good school, but i think it all depends on what teachers you get. One downfall is the cliques, their is a huge group of popular kids and they usually talk behinf your back. The band program is great and their is a fairly good selection of electives.
As a current parent, I am pretty disappointed. The teachers do not inspire, there is not an expectation of higher achievement, and my child is barely challenged. I feel like we are just biding our time until (hopefully) better times in the public high school.
Well, truthfully, as a former student, i didn't like it that much. It had little to none diversity, and when i say diversity, i mean things like letting kids be themselves, and trying to fit in, and not just trying to be in the 'popular' crowd. At Sellwood, it's all about being in the popular crowd. If your not pretty, with good grades, and basically 'perfect' then you are basically made fun of (behind your back of course, usually) I had a pretty bad experience