The best part about the school is that the majority of the teachers are enthusiastic and do their absolute best for the children. There is a small percentage that abuse their freedoms, like writing grants during instruction time or not overseeing iPad usage. The major problem is the administration. The reviewer below who was a former teacher and mentioned favoritism for the parents who volunteer and teachers who support the administration is correct. The message is consistently "get involved and get your way". This isn't possible for everyone. There is also inconsistent, and sometimes nonexistent, communication from the administration to families, and little support from the administration for the teachers, who seem to be fearful of retribution. I was so hopeful for this school when we began several years ago, but I am looking for alternatives for my child for the 2016-17 academic year.
This school at its new STEAM program has changed my opinion about this school and its leader. They are both successful. My child is excited once again about learning. This school has much to offer and I just found out a new library is going next door as well. You can be sure that this school has passionate, hard-working teachers that will guide your child to success. Yes, there are some extreme behaviors still happening. They were in the other class however last year. I am not sure why they aren't gone yet? But as for my child this year was extraordinary. Her second grade teacher loved teaching. She even had ipads for every child every other week. I can not say enough about how wonderful this teacher was. She had many severe children in her room but every time I visited they were all working and excited. They truly learned to love reading under this teacher. I would definitely recommend this school.
I was a teacher at this school. The Current Principal will do anything for parents who are willing to volunteer and demand special placement for their children. The students for the most part are good. However since her arrival the severe behavior issues tripled. Violent children abuse other students and adults and nothing is done. I left because I received no support from her and children that had severe behavior issues many years long were allowed to continue their severe behaviors. I am my husband were concerned I would be severely injured by them. The teachers were blamed and made scapegoats for parents. The Principal is very unprofessional in demeanor as well. The other schools on the island have no problem getting these children to leave. This Principal takes in all the severe children without a thought. If I were a parent in this school I would be there daily or weekly. Even teachers won't put there students in classes where these violent kids are placed. One teacher said she'd quit if her child was put with one of these severe kids. Her child is of course was not placed with severe behavior issue class. There are teachers that have the majority of the good kids so that they can be used to show how wonderful the school is. The other kids are placed in rooms where loads of behavior problems wreck havoc. The parents who volunteer get their choice of classrooms, so be there! This school is run by a few parents and teachers who make demands and get them all. The Principal will do anything to make those few support the school. The dark side of this is there are students who suffer daily surrounded by violence, bullying and cursing. Nothing is done by this administration to protect those kids. Ask around and get the names of the teachers who get the good kids year after year and get your child into those classes. Then you will have the experience that those who loved the school had. Make sure yours is one of the chosen few!
JIES is a fantastic school! Parents who are questioning whether to send their child to this school really need to talk to parents who actually do send their children here. I thoroughly researched all of the school options and I got rave reviews from every single parent I spoke with about JIES. Teachers care about their students and you will feel lucky your child is in a smaller school that puts kids first. You can rest assured your child will be safe and well cared for. Tour the school and you will be won over.
James Island Elementary School is the best kept secret on the island. I have had both of my children here for K-4th grade and have been impressed with the principal (Deborah Davis-Fickling), the teachers and the staff. The cafeteria manager even gives each student a gift on their birthday! I have always been greeted warmly and am able to get a conference whenever I request one. Mrs. Fickling always presents herself calmly and professionally, even in the midst of those who do not have the school's best interest at heart. My children have excelled academically due to the emphasis on creative learning. I can still remember all the words to the song my son's class made up about westward expansion... and so can he! Students who need extra help can get it either during the school year and/or the summer program. There are a small few teachers who seem to be discontent. I think they need to find a different school to work at and take their negativity with them. I do hear parents complain about the lack of parent involvement ,but those are the same parents who never volunteer for anything. It is true that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
JIES has a great outdoor classroom and many science and reading activities. My child is now in 5th grade. He loves his 2nd grade teacher still. She worked with him even after school and even let him babysit the hamster every year! There are excellent teachers like her and some that, well- may need to retire, change grades or get trained better. The school has some awesome people that volunteer and work above and beyond. They also have teachers and staff that arrive late everyday and leave early while I observe from my car picking up my child. I have seen the Principal many times;she never seems friendly and she ignores those leaving early or arriving late. She often seems unprepared. I once tried to meet with her and was told her schedule. She seems very busy out of the building and overwhelmed while in it. Overall it is still a good school. I spoke to her and realized she lives almost an hour away. This may be an issue in managing staff and making decisions when the commute for years in so large. JIES needs a great Principal because Great Principals are loved by almost all students and parents. Next year is Middle school!
This school is where all three of my children attended. The last one finished last year. The CD-1 seemed disorganized and had severe problems but the kids liked the classes. Second seemed to be on the ball with organized lessons and my children finally started truly growing. Third seemed to be teaching to the test and were extremely strict. Fourth was okay but had a ton of homework. Fifth was our problem year. A lot of the students that were high in fifth left and they had a lot of behavior problems. Over the ten years I have seen this school through three principals. None truly had a great vision or plan. The school is growing but is picking up very low and higher poverty students from the area while other schools are getting higher socioeconomic students. I heard my daughter's teacher (who is now retired) say even teacher's have low morale. I asked about teacher goals and she stated this Principal does not do them on time or at all. This makes morale lower. The teachers do not feel they are valuable to the school. The school could be great but rezoning or becoming a magnet would help them.