This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Signal Mountain Middle/High School4
Posted November 01, 2014
- a parent
I haven't seen 3 football fields at the school. Re: merging the old Junior High because enrollment was half the projected estimate - adding onto the Junior High was also in Phase 2 of the plan started in the 1990's, and building one combined middle/high school cost less than building just the high school and adding onto an approx. 50 year old structure. My oldest graduated from our former zone school, my other 2 graduated from here. I wish my oldest child could have had some of the teachers my other 2 had here. I only wish arts programs were given as much importance as STEM classes, but I wish that for all schools. My child at the top of his college class in a science field has told me he's found no one at the university who even cares about IB coming in. Maybe it will become more important, but I understood while the school was getting accreditation that it was a program so that a student could be at grade level & on course no matter where his family transferred worldwide. Bottom line - it's a good public school.
My daughter transferred to Signal Mountain from a semi-private school a few years ago and was instantly aware of how far behind she was by Signal Mountain standards. Thanks to the caring and dedicated faculty, she was able to catch up and is now in all honors classes and is absolutely thriving. Signal Mountain has very high standards and is not for the faint of heart but the kids come out more than prepared for college and career. The IB program helps to develop well rounded students who can think and act as problem-solvers. The school is not without its problems (most of which are very small), but overall, we are very, very glad that we made the move to this school.
The only disappointment I have as a parent is with the so-called "student transfers" from other area high schools such as Red Bank, Soddy Daisy, or Hixson High Schools. A high % of these "out of zone" kids play on the sports teams and it is starting to ruin the overall school spirit and enthusiasm. Some of the kids who live "on the mountain" are not trying out for teams because they don't like seeing kids from "off the mountain" and out of zone getting chosen over friends they have played with on teams for years. The acedemic programs are above average and the IB program is highly overrated as very few if any US colleges care about the credential for admissions.
Any review that has less than give stars is very incorrect. I'm a student here at smmhs and every teacher I have had was great. The strings program is slowly but surely making its way to victory, and shouldn't it only matter what the kids think and that they are getting a great education??? I know I am. On another note, I have never seen or experienced any extreme violence.
Coming from a school in West Tennessee, this school is a amazing. I came mid-6th grade year, and the teachers and students were very welcoming. I love having International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, and it means the opportunity to have a foreign language in middle school. I love SMMHS!
On the upside, I have encountered some extraordinary teachers at SMMHS. And also to give the school credit, the goals of the school are so broad that they are almost impossible for one school of this size to meet--high performing sports program, IB, good theatre department, etc.... One warning: the IB students are pulled out for special "bonding" and attend separate classes. This creates a divided school, with hostility on both sides. Those students in the sports programs who, except for a few, do not go into the IB program would probably get a better education if they had gone to another public school which has money available for AP classes and the better teachers are available to teach the whole student body, and not just a few. Also parents should be aware of this, in spite of what you might be told, IB is also European in its World View. Also, IB has a strong liberal arts program, but is weaker in Math and Science than AP. For these reasons, I think it would be better if the IB program was administrated as a separate school, perhaps as a magnetic school.
The old SMJH was bad enough, but then they lied their way into getting a high school built (ahead of 2 other derelict schools that desperately needed replacement), then "discovered" that their estimates of enrollment were about twice what they actually got, so they merged the middle and high schools (in a building that was not designed for it). They have three football fields, but last year my son didn't have all of his textbooks. I had a parent/teacher conference where 3 of his teachers sat with their arms folded and scowls on their faces the entire time, not looking at me or saying anything; they obviously didn't care about my son, but I guess they felt that that was the sort of thing that teachers are supposed to do. Last year the football season record was invalidated for rule breaking. The facilities are magnificent; the faculty is, largely, pathetic. I have withdrawn my son, and he is currently enrolled in virtual school.
For those uninformed, The International Baccalaureate Program is a UNESCO (United Nations ) funded program, part of the United Nationa Agenda 21, that teaches from a Socialist perspective, based on the Theory of Knowledge by Bertrand Russell. The teaching aid website theoryofknowledge.net ,read it all. So yes it is a great Socialist School.
This school has a beautiful campus and a good variety of course options. However, communication from teachers is very poor, and the school counselor is of no use whatsoever. If your child can just do the work and needs no assistance, it is fine. If you need assistance (in our case, for health issues that cause my child to miss a lot of school), you are out of luck. My child scored in the top 5% on state tests despite missing 50% of her school days, so she is a very smart girl. She gets no help here and is told to "look online" for any information regarding her missed assignments. We are moving out of the area because of this school, so I think that speaks for itself.
SMMS was always an outstanding school, and in 2008 when they added a high school, the anticipated high level of excellence was not only met but exceeded by all measures. The strongest and most meaningful asset any school can have is the faculty and staff, and ours is dedicated, caring, and always willing to set the bar higher and help the students achieve the high expectations. The involvement of the community and parents is also outstanding and integral to the success of this new school. My kids, while finding it very difficult, found their respective niches and thrived.