Teachers are wonderful and try very hard to make do with what they have. The principal, S. Sydnor, is very old school. She has actually told me she believes that not hearing from a teacher is a sign that everything is ok and could not comprehend why I would want more communication from my child's teacher. For such a progressive school partnering with UPenn, I honestly don't understand how such a leader is in place.
My child just started kindergarten and so far the experience has not met my expectations of the school's rating. I feel like there is too much "sitting" time and less focus on active learning "centers" in the classroom. The kids at this age have a hard enough time with just a half hour of recess, it's really a shame that they sit so much for learning instruction. Also please note that the principal at this school does not allow email contact with teachers or administrators. Parents can only write hand written notes or call the front desk.
What school does house searches to conform if someone lives in the neighborhood? I feel like they only do that to the foreign families. my daughter attended Pa since the 6th grade.. Half the kids who went there didn't even live in the area. Finally I had enough and I took her to Masterman. I felt racism within the administration at Penn Alexander. It's sad because nothing has changed.
My fifth grader has attended the Penn Alexander School since he was in kindergarten and I could not be more pleased. The leadership, quality of instruction and facility are all top notch and all the school's stakeholders take great pride in ensuring that things stay that way. Parents are not only involved but welcome at the school. Even in the face of the current District-wide funding crisis, the staff is doing yeomen's work by wearing several hats at once to keep things operating as smoothly as possible for the students. I am proud to be a part of this school community.
I've been a student @ penn alexander for 5 years. There were extremely good academics, and activities. Also there were good teachers, and good gym, library, and computer science. Although, one down fall some of the teachers were strict, but that changed. The principal was extremely good, caring about her students, and you knew not to disrespect her. I respect this school.
To all the people who keep saying that Penn Alexander has no extracurriculars, you are incorrect. As a student at PAS I am a member of National Academic League, Carver Science Fair, the School Play, Yearbook Staff and the School Newspaper. Most of my friends play instruments and there are many clubs. To name a few, we have chess club, women's history club, Student Council, Spanish, reading olympics and many more. The school is amazing and challenges me everyday but not to an excruciatingly high level. Oh, and to the person who said that Masterman is a better option past fourth grade? I have multiple friends who left for Masterman or private school in 4th or 5th grade and they all want to come back to the amazing program at PAS because they hate Masterman. On a final note, the principal isn't as horrible as everyone seems to putting her out to be. She seems tough and unkind at first but when you get older you see that she just genuinely cares about her students.
to the parent who wrote there is no music program to speak of: Penn Alexander has an outstanding music program with all orchestra instruments being taught, plus guitar, middle eastern percussion. Multiple performing opportunities for all!
I don't like Penn Alexander past the 4th grade honestly. Some of the teachers in 5th grade aren't particulary good. Some of the middle school teachers aren't good either. The school has no art program, no language, and if a student were to go from there to high school, they would need help, to do well in high school, i recomend to apply to JR Masterman High School in the fourth grade to try and leave by 5th, becuase Masterman will get you on a better track.
PA hardly warrants the $100k premium placed on homes in its catchment. It has no arts, music program or extracurricular activities to speak of, and will have you incessantly fund raising under the guise there's some great plight to provide these benefits to students. Schools downtown afford students an array of enrichment programs and activities and are on par with PA academically (McCall, Meredith and Greenfield are exceptional options). Communication with PA is also suspect. No e-mail made available for its principal or teachers. Our son s teacher told us she doesn t really use it much. PA s failure to meet our child s special needs led us to disenroll him from the school. If applicable to your child, be diligent in confirming that the school is meeting the obligations of his IEP. Our son s therapist was MIA until a week before Thanksgiving. The positives: A beautiful facility, clean and safe. It also boasts one of the most diversified student bodies of any in the city. These kids are much lauded, and rightfully so, for academic excellence, happy and highly motivated. Their parents are, likewise, extremely proactive and committed, an amicable bunch overall.
I am a student who was in the first graduating 8th grade class. I don't know how much Penn Alexander has changed in the past few years but when I was there it was not strong academically at all. I was not challenged in the slightest and easily scored straight A's. I did not feel prepped for high school and initially did not have a smooth transition into the 9th grade. There were not many extra curriculars then and according to recent comments Penn Alexander still lacks them. My favorite teacher at the time thankfully still works there but I still see the names of a few teachers that did little to no good. Yes the school looks very pretty but is that what is most important? I hope Penn Alexander changes for the better sooner rather than later.