The teachers are what make Donelson Middle School great in the capacity that many of them have been teaching there 5-10 years. The downfall to this school is the Administration or Leadership. They keep putting newer principals or leaders in this school when what it needs is someone who is well seasoned and knows how to interact well with the community. The principal is artificially friendly and has no real people skills. The behavior at the school is out of control and I fear for the safety of the students and the teachers at Donelson based on my own personal observations and what I hear from students. There is little to NO parent involvement at Donelson and not even a PTO/PTA. Donelson is an exceptional community with lots of great community leadership, yet Donelson Middle has done a poor job of reaching out and drawing in the community support. There is really no exceptional middle school in the McGavock cluster, but Donelson Middle is one of the better ones which is not saying much at this juncture. Look into charter schools is my advice.
All of the the teachers my child has had are fantastic. However, there is no sense of community. The Ptsa, if it exists, does very little. Parents and visitors are not welcome in the building during the school day. My child tells me that students get away with horrible behavior and it makes it difficult for the teachers to teach. In the 4 years my child has been there I've wanted to remove them a few times. It's the teachers that have kept me there. The administration provides no structure, no discipline, has very little to do with the students, and is not encouraging. As a matter of fact, they are down right unpleasant. It seems every year more and more extracurricular sports and fun events have been cut. If the students don't have fun events in school, then they won't enjoy being there! When is metro going to wake up and get an amazing administration in this school? We need our COMMUNITY SCHOOL to represent the community. Some of us have younger children moving up into middle school. It sure would be nice to not feel like we have to look for another school for our children. I , for one, do not feel comfortable sending another child through that enviornment!
It amazes me that my child who is in the 6th grade this year 2010-11 at DMS never has any homework. They give them class time to do their homework, but the teachers should be teaching during their class time not giving them free time every day. I appreciate them giving them a little time at the end of the day to work on homework, but they should have some homework or book reports, something to reinforce what they have learned. The teachers overall are good, but the discipline at the school could be better. Bullying is a realy problem at DMS, but I guess that is at every middle school. The PTSO is not active, and if the parents are not involved then the students are not going to be either.
This is not your average hand a kid a book and they will learn kind of school. This school is better for kids that need to learn out loud. My child went to Two Rivers for two years then Donelson for two and despite test scores learned more at Donelson. It is not a good school for kids that need quiet. It is very disorderly and easy to lose site of goals. It's my job to keep my kids focused and their job to teach. They do teach.
We are very disappointed. Although the music program is outstanding (band and strings), there are deficiencies in the quality of the curiculum across most of the subjects, especially math and reading. We hope that the administration will also make strides to improve or enforce their discipline guidelines. The disruptions in the classroom from lack of control of the children is I think the largest reason the school's performance has not improved over the last few years.
I am shocked to see the parents in this school give 4 out of 5 stars to this school. This school has been under 'improvement 1' for the past 3 years. Parents,please, do your homework! Poor performance was attributed to 'low income' and 'minority' and yet if you look acroos to another part of town where some 70-90% are minorities, some of these schools have out performed Donelson MS.