This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Karl G Maeser Preparatory Academy5
Posted March 09, 2014
- a teacher
I've worked here for four years now. I was hired when the middle school was added so I can't speak to "how it used to be." However, I've taught at several schools in multiple states and I have never loved a school more. I feel as if I can honest with my students and not treat them as little children. I can challenge them. I can have conversations with parents and parents actually CARE about what I have to say. I'm supported by my administration. My colleagues are open to discussions and cross-curricular lessons. I can try new things and have hands-on learning experiences. There are not a lot of elective options when compared to a school five times our size, but our student-elective ratio is not unreasonable. Our electives are extremely well taught and usually provide competitive outlets. If there has been a perceived drop in rigor it is due to excessive feedback indicating the homework load was too high. Which, I believe, is a strength. The school and administration is willing to listen and respond to student and parent feedback. We're not perfect, and we're not for everyone. However, Maeser has become my home and it is a great school. My kids will come here.
Though this school has transitioned a few times, the transition always produced better student outcomes. These CRT scores are good, but I was also impressed the average ACT score is 25.6, a whole 5 points ahead of the state average. The learning environment is a must see. I would recommend a tour for all.
This is my 1st year teaching at Maeser, & I have been blown away by how wonderful this school is. The school has created a very positive culture in which students love learning, excellence is seen as awesome, teachers speak positively about students & each other, & there is a real community feeling throughout the school. I have been so impressed by how much the students love learning here & how invested they are in their education. Where else do you hear 8th graders who love to discuss deep issues like prejudice & empathy for nearly an hour & beg for more time? I've also been very impressed by the kindness & commitment of the other teachers & faculty. It's a great place to be. The students are held to high expectations/high character values & they meet them by & large. Students are winning academic awards, placing in the top tiers in drama & debate, excelling in sports at the state level, etc. Student success is also celebrated. For example, different students & student achievements are highlighted in weekly announcements & schoolwide newscasts. The school is incredible & I'm very grateful I've had the opportunity to teach here. I would definitely send my students to this school.
I immensely enjoy teaching at this school! I feel valued by the administration and supported by parents. The students are, by and large, respectful, and well-spoken. Some reviews have mentioned the departure of staff members, teachers, and the old headmaster. Schools are organic and dynamic organizations, which will change over time. I've taught here for several years, and while there are a few teachers every year who do not come back (often of their own accord, and for whom we are very happy and supportive), there has been no mass exodus of talent. Yes, we are a challenging school. Yes, we can do a better job reaching out to those who are struggling with the academic rigor. Yes, we can work more closely with parents to ensure their students' success. But show me a school that doesn't need to do those things better. I love the students and their energy, and I love the involvement of their parents. I enjoy the autonomy I am given as a professional. I highly recommend talking to students and families who are successful here to find out how we're different and if Maeser would work well for your family. If we do, awesome. If not, that's okay too.
This school has declined from what it used to be and no longer cares about students. The school formerly announced high-achieving students and encouraged students to become motivated, both of which is no longer true. The school now makes my high-achieving son feel as if he is learning in a harsh, condescending, and inconsiderate community of administrators that suspend and expell students left and right, for trivial reasons. The administrators now feel that the massive count of students leaving and their opinions about the school do not matter at all, as the school has already established its "reputation", which is not true. The school was previously "#1 HS in State - Newsweek", 2010. Now it is "#5 HS in State - Washington Post", 2013, with CRT State Test rankings much, much worse. Most parents would now agree with me that the school doesn't even deserve #5, the school should deserve much worse. Most of the teachers from the last few years have left, and the newly hired teachers are taught to be nothing more than "I believe none of my students deserve an A, but I won't help them become the A student". Teachers and admin (especially director/headmistress) lack concern for students.
I think this school was a very fun and exciting school to attend until 2013. I am a senior and I am finding it very difficult to stay on top of the school year due to the new requirements the board and headmistress created. Most of the new teachers and staff members are very inconsiderate and rude. I no longer feel the want or need to learn from those specific teachers, along with helping out the staff and my fellow students. I also no longer feel safe from being ridiculed by teachers and other students. One thing this school did teach me is to think independently and critically. To believe in myself and others. I hope next year might change in a more positive way instead of heading into the gutter. Good luck 2014!
I need to express how impressed I've been with this school. My son is finishing up his seventh-grade year at Maeser and it has been a great experience. I am impressed with every one of his teachers. This has been such a nice alternative to the huge junior high down the street. His teachers clearly know him well and how to customize the curriculum for him. For example, the English teacher offers him extra readings since he excels in that area. I don't think that Maeser is a negative place at all, as one reviewer states. The teachers have been so positive and so easy to work with. The friendships he has made here have been so good. I feel like kids at this school are accepted for who they are. We are definitely returning next year! Thank you Maeser for a great year and for such a positive experience for my son in middle school no less.
I'm very sad to give this low rating to Maeser, as we loved it the first 2 years there. Some changes started last year, and unfortunately, this year the school has really gone downhill. Rather than creating positive conditions to foster excellence, the school environment is very negative, and more and more restrictive. There are fewer and fewer options for electives, and several additional required courses that seem entirely unnecessary, such as a Senior service class. Although the claim to offer an afterschool math lab, the teachers are actually not willing to do any tutoring. Many of the excellent teachers were fired or left last year, so few remain. I do not feel my son is being challenged any longer--he rarely has homework this year. Also, when he missed several in the fall for a broken hand, the teachers gave him no mercy in making up his missing work. Many of my son's friends have left the school this year or are not planning to return next year. It is unfortunate that such a wonderful school has gone downhill so drastically.
I joined the school my freshman Year (9th grade) and was welcomed with open arms to teachers that enjoy teaching and working with their students. Class sizes averaged at about 20 students and student-teacher interaction was commonplace. Beginning my sophomore year the school added 7th and 8th grade classes and as consequence the class sizes grew larger. The school building is small and crowded because of the size of the new student-body. Class sizes now average around 30 students because of one main issue. Classes are not offered at times students can take them. A recent change in graduation were understandable but they increase the burden of the senior class this year (2013) exponentially. In order to graduate i have found myself taking online classes to meet the new requirements to graduate. Homework levels are understandable and tolerable for most classes, not all classes. Many teachers are novices and do not know how to create assignments for students and communicate to students effectively. Overall i have felt that the school offers nothing more than a base education and often students cannot take electives because very few to none are offered.