You will be impressed from start with the pleasant and helpful front office staff, hands-on principal, and sense of teamwork amongst the staff. It is obvious that not only do the children love their principal, but so do the staff! The school is structured, organized, and a wonderful educational, nuturing environment. Staff are always present at PTO functions and actively involved. The guidance counselor goes above and beyond to play an important role in this school. All staff, from the Music and Art teachers to the janitorial staff work as a team which promotes a wonderful environment for learning and growing for all children.
Many East Penn schools including Shoemaker failed the 2012 AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress - No Child Left Behind law yearly assessment test). This school is run like a daycare center with a lot of crafts and "one size fits all" teaching. Teachers say there is differentiation in the classrooms where children are divided into 4 groups according to learning speed. I've seen the work of children in 2 different groups. One who needed more help and one who needed more challenge. They were both doing the exact same work . Shoemaker is behind in what other schools, such as Jaindl elementary in Parkland SD, are currently working on in math and language arts and there doesn't seem to be any interest on the part of the administration/teachers to get up to speed. Unless something drastically changes, Shoemaker is going to fail the AYP again.
I have no wish to deride the personal experience/feelings of the parent who posted feeling "out of place". The majority of the school population is Caucasian/ Christian and that is reflected. However, that being said, and I am sorry if the person felt excluded, the school is very warm and caring from the teachers, to the front desk ladies, nurse, counseler and principal (Mrs. Brinkman is very hands-on and open to questions). From what I've experienced, everyone has been extremely helpful in nuturing and educating every child. It is a great atmosphere that welcomes parental involvement. Interestingly, I find the parent who didn't find the school had the tools for special education more problematic. This school goes out of its way to help with special needs kids.
Shoemaker Elementary is an excellent school both on and off paper. This whole PA Dutch culture referred to is absolute nonsense. The teachers and office staff are superb at what they do, and this reflects in the school and the children who attend. Shoemaker School is the best thing that ever happened to my child.
The comment about "feeling out of place" because of not being PA Dutch is just plain ridiculous! I was born and raised in a huge city in the Midwest and have only been here 9 yrs and I have never, ever felt anything like that from anyone in this area much less anyone at Shoemaker. There isn't enough space here to list all the good things about Shoemaker. From the principal- Mrs Brinckman to the office staff everyone is wonderful, friendly and helpful. As the mother of a special needs child and a non-special needs child I can tell you that both are treated wonderfully and both are thriving. They both love their school and look forward to every day there.
There si no better school than Shoemaker. For students at all academic levels, they are challenged, supported and loved. The teachers never just give their best, they go so far beyond. There is no closed-mindedness here, and everyone puts kids first. Those of you who think otherwise have not tried to get to know the people here. It is a great school on paper and in every other way. Hats off to the administration for always being available to help and for being amazing, and to the teachers who truly care about every person for who he/she is. Shoemaker is extraordinary, and I am so very grateful for having my children there. he/she is.
This is an excellent school -- on paper. If you are thinking of moving here, please be aware that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" (German) is the prevailing culture here. If you are of another ethnic group or culture you will be made to feel out of place although the teachers/school say they practice diversity and tolerance, actions speak louder than words, and sadly the actions are strongly monocultural. Most of the teachers seem to have graduated from Kutztown University and are a nepotistic group. Yes it does give a feeling of safety, yes there is a "Rah Rah, lets fill the bucket" attitude. If you want your child to be challenged by the curriculum and/or if you are not Pen-dutch, you may want to look into another school system.
My son attends this school going on his second year, the staff and their' bucket filler' belief system working together in doing just that.. 'filling buckets' in many ways. Working together with pretty much just going the extra mile. I am not saying one couldn't favor a teacher verses the other. So far I haven't seen such a great bunch! At this point I haven't had any problems with my son, but if I would I would like to think my feelings and their actions wouldn't change.