I have three children who have attended at William Penn for the last three years. I have been very happy with our experience here. The arts instructor, Ms. Shumway is amazing. All of the kids are dancing, and loving it! I have one child enrolled in the Spanish Immersion program and two that aren't. There has been plenty of recent angst surrounding this program, and last year there was an effort by local parents to close it down. After a great amount of consideration, the administrators chose to keep it open. Since that time, they have bent over backwards to restructure the classroom instruction to allow for more integration between immersion students and their peers. I applaud the way the principal and teachers have addressed parent concerns. There aren't more loving and hard-working advocates for children anywhere than these devoted men and women. Recently a huge contingent of neighborhood volunteers has mobilized to assist the Bhutanese student population to learn English. In just a few short months, many of these kids have burst through the language barriers, and are now reading at grade level. It is a miracle in the making. I recommend Penn Elementary most highly!
My children attend William Penn Elementary. They are really thriving and excelling in their educational and social experience. They have all had a variety of teachers and we have been pleased with every one. The principal is amazing, he goes above and beyond to create an atmosphere of learning and cooperation. My children have been in enrolled in the dual immersion program and have exceeded my expectations in learning another language and testing above grade levels in all areas of their education. The arts program is amazing with an energetic and creative dance instructor. Although my children have not been involved in the plays, we enjoy attending the program every year.
My child has been at this school for 1st & 2nd grade however once in 3rd grade everything took a turn for the worst! She was completely overwhelmed at the big differences when entering 3rd grade we all felt unprepared and not appropriately informed of what to expect. I was extremely disappointed with my Childs 3rd grade teacher (Hunter). I tried to communicate with her & do my part of as a parent but the teacher often did not follow up on her part! There are some issues with the class sizes and that they mix children with special needs & those that don t speak English in the same regular classes. This made it hard for my Childs teacher to give her the adequate time & attention she needed from her. The principal on the other hand is very good & the kids love him. He was quick to resolve issues once the teacher eventually reported them to him! There also seems to be somewhat of a bullying issue at this school which has led us to contemplate whether our child should attend another year here. Also steer clear of the teachers in this school that are completely obsessed with CRT testing & only care about how their class/students are perceived.
The Kindergarten teachers are exceptional, and the principal is absolutely wonderful -- truly an advocate for parents and children. However, there is a SERIOUS problem with the dual immersion language program at William Penn Elementary. Traditional classrooms outside the program have up to 40 percent ELL (English Language Learners) populations, as well as larger class sizes. All special needs children are also put into these traditional classrooms. The result is an unfair burden on teachers who are not in the Spanish Immersion program. Children living within William Penn boundaries had a 36 percent chance of being accepted into the Spanish Immersion program next year, whereas all of the applicants living outside William Penn boundaries were accepted. The principal verified this information in a community council meeting on May 13, 2011. This wonderful program will ONLY benefit those with children already in the program or those not living in the boundaries within two years.
The kindergarten teachers are the best! Excellent school for out of boundary students, too! However, I am not too impressed with the way the school selects students for the Spanish immersion program. The school implements a lottery system in which students are 'grandfathered' in if they already have a sibling in the program. The next group of students who get in the Spanish immersion program are out of boundary students. The last remaining slots, which are very few, are students that live in boundary and do not have a sibling in the program. We live in Penn's boundaries and my student did not get in the program. However, my friend's daughter who lives in Driggs boundaries and went to kindergarten at Canyon Rim Academy, got into the Spanish immersion program at Penn. So like I said, great school if you happen to live out of Penn's boundaries!
I am soooooo happy I moved my son to this school! After talking with the principal, she determined that Ms. Starr would be the perfect teacher for my son and she was right! I cannot speak highly enough of this school's academic excellence as well as fun learning environment. I appreciate that the arts are taught along with the basics for a well-rounded curriculum. Great PTA involvement and extra-curricular activiites make for a happy parent and child.
I have a kindergartner that is currently enrolled at William Penn. My child was accepted in another program and as a result I am having a very hard time deciding on which school she will be attending next year. The teacher is very understanding and really put in an effort to challenge my child. She also appears to love all of her students.
This school is fabulous, I was really surprised at it's great schools ranking being a 7. The principal is excellent, very personable, kind and available. There are great extra curricular activities, including school plays that have been outstanding. They are integrating Spanish immersion next year which I think is fabulous. The parental involvement is impressive. I highly recommend this school.
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