We have been in El Paso for 8 years. We recently moved our child to Tom Lea. She is in the GT program. I had no idea how far behind she was! The level of education here is awesome! The teachers are great and really helped to get her on target. There is a great deal of parental involvement and a wonderful PTA! This school offers so much for student and parents! So happy we made the move.
I'm torn as I write this review. My daughter attended Pre-K and Kinder at Tom Lea. The Pre-K program is exceptional, and has won city-wide awards. However, Kinder has been a complete nightmare. Many parents with children from different kinder teachers have had really horrific problems. The problems seem to occur on recess after lunch, and/or during P.E. class. In a nutshell, there isn t enough student supervision, and boys have been exposing their private parts and a lot of other vulgar language and actions have taken place during these specific times of day. Although many parents have been asked to leave campus grounds, many have stood firm in helping supervise recess after lunchtime to keep the children under control. What's more, my daughter has gone "lost" (a term used by her former teacher) several times during the day. The teacher can't provide an explanation for why this occurred more than once! (We placed her with a new teacher.) Again, there is not enough supervision. Also, many military parents have complained that their on-site military liaison fails big-time. She has no clue how to transition military children into the El Paso school system.
My son attended 4th and 5th grade at Tom Lea and had a great experience. His teachers were very attentive and supportive and kept me informed of my son's progress throughout the year. Highly recommend for the North Hills/Sandstone community!
My daughter has Ms. Rodriquez for 2nd grade this school year. My daughter loves having her as a teacher and I have heard no complaints about the other instructors she has. I can tell she has a lot of patience with my child. Her reading and math are all at the level they are supposed to be at for 2nd grade. I love how the school is so military friendly and I've found that parents are very involved with their children at this school. My daughter has not had any problems with other kids in her grade, unlike her 1st grade class at Desertaire Elementary. I think the only thing they could improve upon would be the amount of homework they receive every week. It does amount to about a good hour every day after school, not including the reading they are required to do.
My eldest began attending Tom Lea Jr. last year for morning pre-k. This year he is in kindergarten and I have had a great rapport with both of his teachers, the staff in the main office and even those in the cafeteria. As a military family we are thankful that they have a counseling group available for children of deployed soldiers. When we had to pull our child from school for pre-deployment travel the vice principal was very helpful in assisting us with the excused absence paperwork. There are classes held weekly for parents on topics such as child development, homework tips, nutrition, etc. Tom Lea also works with Nixon elementary to host monthly military coffees for networking and to exchange ideas in regard to providing support to military families. If you are a parent interested in volunteering within the school there are many ways in which you can do so. Just ask your child's teacher and/or one of the staff members in the main office.
We are a military family with two children who attend this school. I feel it is one of the better schools in the district. It is located in a nice area of newer homes. It is brand new and is working hard to make changes that need to be made. There was bullying by middle school kids after school and now they are not allowed in the school without permission. They even have soldiers helping out, by being there at lunch recess, and after school to help monitor the students. I do wish that the students had the day off, during teacher training (workshop) days. A lot of the subs don't speak English well and get angry with the class and yell and use words like SHUT UP! Not acceptable as far as I am concerned. I would rather my kids go to school an extra week in the summer, then have so many subs. This is a district problem, not just a school problem though. Overall, this school is better than most.
Keep in mind this school was just built in 2010. The ratings are based off of one year of data. Based on first impressions, the school is brand new, but already the tiled walls have damage and graffiti on them. The school staff was not very welcoming when we registered our kids (we stood at the desk for 15 mins before any one of the three women talking about the summer even acknowledged us) and we even had to request to meet the school principal even though she was standing there when we asked the ladies to meet her. Our smiles digressed to blank stares and we couldn't help but wonder if this was a prelude to how the school handled things. It was. Unfortunately, I only have 523 characters remaining which is not enough to type up my experience with the school, but one issue is regarding staff teachers who I assume should be there 5 days a week, but has a sub 1-2 days almost every week and it's acceptable. An explanation would be nice, considering the fact the teacher evaluates each child for an academic year. Yes, there is good things to say about the school, like there are teachers who care and teach well, but one would find that at any school - the good, bad, and ugly.
This is an excellent school! It is a mixed ratio of local and military children. It's conveniently located in NE El Paso near good neighborhoods (and some newly developed ones). The principal runs the school very well instilling school pride in the children and getting parents involved. The cirriculum for my 1st and 3rd grader (this is their 2nd yr) is challenging and progressive. 1st yr (2009-10) the PTA was installed and has been actively raising money for the school. Love the fact that when there is a need for change, the principal/teachers see the need and make changes. One example I've witnessed myself: last year the children were throwing away most of their lunch/or rushing through their lunch to go out & play before lunch time was over. This year, the children have recess first building up their appetite for lunch. Definitely a positive change.