I have had four children attend Essex Elementary. It used to be a creative, well rounded school, but in the past couple of years under the most recent principal, it has become a cookie cutter, teaching to the test type school. Frankly, I am glad we are finished with Essex Elementary this year. The principal doesn't listen, is temperamental and needs anger management counseling. He really needs to leave so that the teachers can do their jobs the way they used to be able to do, when it was a high quality school. If I sound unhappy it's because I am. If we had another child, that child would go to a private school or we would move to another school district. Essex Elementary has become that bad under this principal. Nobody smiles there, not a great atmosphere for kids. All due to poor leadership.
Essex schools (Essex Elem & Founders) pretty much poo-poos a bully as "oh, yeah, he/she's a bully..." and nothing else. Maybe elsewhere is like this but that's just twisted... A normally good kid gets sent to the principal's office or off to a counselor or behavioral specialist for a minor 'infraction' while the bully pretty much gets nothing and never has to write an "I'm sorry" note. I've met people that have brought up the same type of situation(s); one was of a child who was bullied and even injured (stomped on the head at recess) and nothing was done. I've met another family who MOVED to South Burlington to get out of the entire Essex school system... The teacher's are a hit or miss; I've had decent ones and I've had ones that made it sound like the children had the issues and that maybe ADHD meds were needed & when asked to switch teachers in January (not even 1/2 way through the school year) I was told it was 'too late' in the school year - not right at all! Like one reviewer wrote. "The rules and how they handled situations were not great" this is because they make them up as they go and they are not consistent and don't want to be questioned by a parent...
When my child was in kindergarten I was asked to talk to him because he would usually be the first one done with his classwork (and PROUD he was learning!) and when he'd finish he's be like, "Yeah" or "I'm all done!" and they told me it 'Hurt the other kids' feelings'. Now, you tell me HOW do you talk to a kid without squashing their wanting to learn??!! Ridiculous! I didn't tell him anything except to say, "Good job" and give him lots of hugs and kisses!!!
EES has many wonderful teachers who lack support and guidance from the administration. It is unfortunate, but too much classroom time is spent dealing with 'high energy students' leaving little time for real classroom learning. With no clear discipline policy in place and no real consequences, the administrative staff comes up weak in handling issues that arise.
Wonderful teachers at this school where parent involvement in encouraged and appreciated. We've always had a close relationship with our children's teachers and have never heard of a bad teacher at EES... There is a bit of a 'PR' problem at this school (no holiday concerts, principal likely to ignore emails, no staff present at drop-off, mediocre website). Where's the enthusiasm? At EES, it's A+ teachers with C- administration.
My son currently attends kindergarten at EES. I couldn't be happier. I was fearful of full day kindergarten, but my son is adjusting very well. The new principal is friendly to all, is getting parents involved and has changed the energy of the school. This along with the warm and energetic vice principal, the caring and hard working teachers and the welcoming environment for students and parents make this a top school in my opinion.